Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Spy Who Fed Me

Intriguing little item in the news today: Bolivian President Evo Morales expels USAID

Bolivian President Evo Morales has said he will expel the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mr Morales accused the agency of seeking to "conspire against" the Bolivian people and his government.

US state department spokesman Patrick Ventrell rejected the allegations as "baseless and unfounded".

USAID has been working in Bolivia for almost five decades, and had a budget of $52.1m (£33.4m) for the country in 2010, according to its website.

USAID’s mission is to provide basic humanitarian and civilian foreign aid to developing countries. USAID was created in 1961 under President Kennedy as a restructuring of what up to that point had been a morass of foreign aid agencies, sometimes working at cross-purposes. It was, at the time, viewed as both a Cold War tool – likely many covert CIA operations in Latin America and worldwide were executed – as well as a way to shore up Latin American support for the United States, which had taken a massive hit under Eisenhower.

Nominally. It has also used its influence and foreign contacts to…well, they term it “promote freedom and democracy abroad,” but that can be interpreted in many different ways and often has, particularly under a certain yahoo from Texas who was our President during the 2000s. For instance, in 2005 USAID spent $95,000 on a seminar in Brazil designed to foment dissent among the Worker’s Party, a leftist party that was ruling the nation at the time, as well as other liberal political organizations. This was done under the guise of promoting a United States perspective in Brazil and her politics. Nice rationale. Should have been handled less clumsily.

Morales terms this recent action, taken after the ALBA nations issued a call in 2012 for the expelling of USAID, as a way to “nationalize dignity”. I take that to mean he finds the USAID mission to be demeaning in a sovereign nation on its face, but is also polite cover for kicking out what he might rightly view as a subversive foreign influence within his borders.

Now that we no longer have Chavez and the Castros are merely a footnote, is Morales our next “evildoer”?