Friday, November 28, 2008

Bush Suspends Bolivia's Participation in ATPDEA Trade Program

For Thanksgiving this year President Bush took to the White House lawn to pardon a turkey (a presidential tradition). Meanwhile, back inside the White House pressroom, the administration was announcing that it was turning another turkey into U.S. foreign policy – formally implementing the administration's threat to remove Bolivia from the Andean Trade Preferences Program (ATPDEA). The move could destroy as many as 20,000 jobs in Bolivia, just as the global economic crisis is driving up unemployment to levels not seen in decades.

To see a video produced by The Democracy Center last month featuring interviews with three workers whose jobs are on the line, see here. The video was also shown at the Trade Representative's public hearing on the Bush decree.

In a statement, Mr. Bush's press secreatry declared:

President Bush signed a proclamation that suspends the designation of Bolivia as a beneficiary country under the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). The suspension, which takes effect on December 15, 2008, is the result of Bolivia's failure to cooperate with the United States on counternarcotics efforts, which is one criterion for ATPA and ATPDEA eligibility. If Bolivia were to improve its performance under the ATPA and ATPDEA programs' criteria, the President would have the discretion to issue a proclamation to redesignate Bolivia as a beneficiary country.

Seeking to Tie President Obama's Hands?

There is certainly a reasonable debate to be had about Bolivia's current anti-drug efforts, and the Bolivian government has expressed a willingness to have it. But in reality the Bush announcement looks mostly like a political effort to tie the hands of his successor on an issue fraught with politics.

Members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, have raised questions about President Morales' commitment to deal with the portion of Bolivia's coca crop that eventually ends up as part of the illegal drug trade. To be clear, a strong portion of Bolivia's coca goes for traditional uses such as chewing, and to legitimate industrial uses such as tea. But not all of it does and a good deal of Bolivian coca does feed the illegal drug trade, though primarily headed toward Brazil and Argentina, not the U.S. (which imports its cocaine primarily from U.S. ally Colombia).

That concern, tied to the ATPDEA agreement, was translated in October into a much more sensible approach, and a bipartisan one – legislation that renewed Bolivia's participation in ATPDEA for six months (instead of the year granted to other nations), pending a review by the incoming administration. That approach made sense at a variety of levels. It was bipartisan and it left the policy choice to the new president as part of a new political approach to the region. This is very different than putting that policy decision in the hands of a lame-duck President whose deep unpopularity in the region is rivaled only by his deep unpopularity at home.

The bipartisan Congressional approach also maximized the leverage that U.S. policy makers might have on Bolivia anti-drug efforts. The one issue in Bolivia/U.S. relations that the Morales government has worked hard is the country's continued participation in those trade preferences, a theme I heard over and over again in my recent meetings with both Bolivian and U.S. policy makers. The Bush executive decree only pushes Bolivia father away from being influenced by Washington, as it seeks to replace U.S. markets for those textiles and other products.

And an administration headed by a Harvard MBA might at least have enough common sense to know that markets broken are not so easily put back together, as U.S. suppliers look elsewhere.

All this will put the incoming Obama administration in the awkward position of having to reverse the Bush decree just to put its policy in alignment with Republicans and Democrats in Congress, a move it should make quickly nonetheless. President Obama will have some strong political cover if he does make such a move, including from the senior Republican in the Senate on foreign policy issues, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. President Morales met with Lugar last week in Washington, after which the former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced:

The United States regrets any perception that it has been disrespectful, insensitive, or engaged in any improper activities that would disregard the legitimacy of the current Bolivian government or its sovereignty. We hope to renew our relationship with Bolivia, and to develop a rapport grounded on respect and transparency. In this regard, after appropriate and constructive official contacts, I hope that we will have a U.S. Ambassador in La Paz soon, and that we will look forward to having a Bolivian Ambassador here in Washington, D.C.

Lifting the suspension on the ATPDEA with Bolivia will strengthen the growing political and economic relationship between our nations and help bring new jobs and good will to the region.

In effect, the Bush administration's final decision on Bolivia and ATPDEA this week is the equivalent of Mr. Bush leaving a plate of stale turkey leftovers in the White House refrigerator, with a note encouraging the new occupant to eat up. President Obama will be far better off dumping the unwelcome gift in the trash and starting over fresh with Bolivia. There is plenty of eagerness by the Morales government to do so, and support on Capitol Hill as well.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, you just couldn't help yourself, huh? You present a picture of a turkey seemingly trying to peck inside President Bush's coat (or somewhere lower, I dare say). Let's see if you'll dare post unflattering pictures of Mr. "Hopeandchange" when he becomes prez. I'm not holding my breath, though, since I believe you're part of that vast part of the "Obama Adulation Media."

Hey, I thought that Cuchi Cuchi worshipper said that the suspension of the ATPDEA benefits to Bolivia were meaningless since (labor intensive countries, what genius!) countries such as Venezuela, Iran, Brazil, and Vietnam would pick up the slack. Why should there be any lobbying by his band of monolito lovers to lift the suspension? Uh, because they're starting to realize that their venom against the US have nasty consequences. No matter their rhetoric, reality dictates that there is really no permanent substitute for the US market in this matter. It will be delicous irony to see these clowns insistently try to approach his brother from another mother Mr. "Hopeandchange" to reverse the decision. I think it will be much harder said than done since US antidrug policy in Latin America will do anything but change.

Another delicious irony will be to see the factory workers of that Morales "anticapitalist" bastion El Alto to demand free trade as thousands did in 2005 when the suspension of ATPDEA benefits loomed as well.

Accept it, Jim. Morales bet the (antiAmerican) farm and lost; therefore, his hide is in jeopardy. Bolivia is 100% unworthy of receiving ATPDEA benefits. That ain't no turkey.


The Croats are Morales' Jews
Beni is Morales' Katrina

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lame duck and turkey juxtaposition is an appropriate picture for this season of change. Both are flying to their respective ranches soon.

I wonder what Dubya is going to do about the criminal government of Colombia. A couple of generals and some low level officers have been shamed by public demotions and firings, due to their part in the executions of innocent Colombians, but the billions of dollars to the “democratic” nation of Colombia will no doubt continue until Dubious goes back to Texas.

Speaking of other avian creatures, Marinkovic the “civico” will soon be a jailbird or, if he is lucky, will fly the coop -just like that exemplary Bolivian, Goni- and head to points north.



El presidente del Comité Cívico de Santa Cruz tendrá que enfrentar una querella que presentó el gobierno en su contra en base a las denuncias del dirigente cívico del Chaco Domingo Moreno, quién lo sindicó de haber enviado dinamita a Tarija para perpetrar el atentado contra el gasoducto.

El ministro de Gobierno Alfredo rada fue quien informó este tema y espera que el dirigente cívico de santa Cruz asuma su defensa en los estrados judiciales.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing that I find most curious on this blog is that characters like the commenter above with the smiley sign off thinks he is actually engaging in anything real by posting here. I see he does that alot.

I can see that the Democracy Center is actually engaged in real issues, playing an actual role in events, which is good and useful. I am glad to see that the staff there doesn't bother themselves with replying to silly zealots. Nor does anyone else.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous BOLIVIA LIBRE said...

O boy, what anybody that didn’t vote for Evo last presidential election can tell you Jim?; WE TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!. It is funny, really, back when Tuto and Evo headed as the main leaders to win our presidential race Tuto said that if Evo is elected, we will lose the ATPDEA and its jobs; PODEMOS even showed a political add off an El Alto worker saying we has very worry this same thing will actually happens. The answer from the maSSist headquarters was that the guy in the TV add was a fake and a paid driver of Tuto Quiroga; I didn’t hear much about the issue, we now know why. Should we now yell aloud that the 3 workers in your video are fake??

They are not fake off course, I wouldn’t lower my standards to Evo’s goons; what is fake is your half true about coca production in Bolivia; you systematically fail to inform that most of the coca that is produced in Evo’s turf, El Chapare, is the one use to produce cocaine. No one here is going to buy coca for chewing or tea if the seller tells them is from El Chapare instead of Yungas.

What is also fake is your affirmation that most of the Bolivian cocaine is headed towards Brazil and Argentina; since most of it goes unrefined to Colombia, were Evo and Chavez ally, the FARCS, process into crystal cocaine and then is headed to the U.S. Jim, you are just a blatant liar, no better than Goebbels, but very close.

Now, regarding the desperation for U.S. consumers because they are going to lose their so difficultly gained supplier of Bolivian products; what kind of morons do you think read your blog, apart from grindio and a couple of anos. U.S. consumers are not a bit preoccupied with losing ANY product from Bolivia, are you so seriously indoctrinated by the maSSist regime that have started to believe that other countries depend on Bolivia?

Just face it Jim, Bolivia lost the ATPDEA because the majority of us screwed up electing Evo because of his race instead of his capacity and because Evo chose people full of hate and ignorance to lead the change the people that elected him were hoping for. In sort, Bolivians lost the ATPDEA because of their deeds and not because Bush sucks.

Ano Franco, you forgot to mention that Domingo Moreno made those declarations after he was politically arrested after being kidnapped, by the maSSist regime. Many people in the inquisition said things under their captors torture, like their mother were witches; I guess they didn’t have dynamite in those times. Using Moreno’s declarations’ for your agenda’s benefit really lowers your standards to maSSist garbage.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

B/L, when Obama reverses Bush on this, will you do another disappearing act like everytime Evo the authoritarian gets another whopping election victory? I know these are hard times for you, but you'll get over it.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Silly anon;

Obama and the democrats are ANTI-TRADE, he's already said that he'll revisit Nafta. Given the rising unemployment, what makes you think that ANY (let alone democrat) president would accept giving trade preferences to any country, specially one like Bolivia which has continually humiliated its ambassador, kicked out USAID, DEA, etc.?

Bush has cancelled the ATPDEA, and neither Obama nor HRC will be willing to risk loosing North Carolina for something as silly and inmaterial as Bolivia.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Norman said...

I doubt that Obama will reverse Mr. Bush on this. It has nothing to do with idealogy and everything to do with facts. According to UN statistics, eradication efforts have been anemic for the three years of morales time in office with 5,060 and just over 6,000 hectares removed in 2006 and 2007. the numbers aren't in yet for 2008, but I expect them to be less than 2007. As a result, there has been a 30% increase in potential cocaine production. Add to this morales' ejecting USAID from the Chapare (he is still president of the coca growers union), followed by his ejection of the ambassador and finally ejection of the DEA, and it sends a clear message that for Bolivia reduction of cocaine production is not a priority.

The results of this policy are rapidly becoming clear. Narco-traffickers fear the DEA. They cannot be bribed. Now they have nothing to fear. Drug related killings have been gracing the news since the day morales made such a foolish decision. THe latest is an ambush on Friday of UMOPAR police with two reported dead and 4 more wounded.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Basically boils down to two things: More Cocaine, and More Covert operations in Bolivia.

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about the government imprisoning opposition leaders without trial? Shouldn't that be a major focus of the "democracy" center? As bad as Bush is, he's not sending democratic governors to jail on rumors. Who's next? I put my money on Cossio.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aa an American living in bolivia, I cringe to see the US doing anyuthing to prop up Evo Morales. He is slowly stripping away the human rights of the jpeople in Bolivia. ALthough it is painfulo to see, President jBush has done what is right. To help prop up the current jgovernment in La Paz by maintaining special trade status wouold be a crime against the people of Bolivia.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon. 2:39

Yes, and just a preview of the U.S. as well. Black guy in charge in the U.S., Cuchi Cuchi worshipper in Bolivia. You put these monkeys on top and you get what you get.


The Croats are Morales' Jews
Beni is Morales' Katrina

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't visited this blog in some time so apologies if this has already been discussed, but can anyone tell me more about Marinkovic being jailed?

Is this true, will he be jailed and under what legal basis. Will this lead to confrontation and violence as his followers defend him.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, I respect your opinion, but don't share it. I know where you are coming from. You are a big supporter of Morales, but it is hard to do anything right in foreign relations, when you have totally inept staff in office. Let's talk about the foreign relations office; "the cancilleria", where I have inside information. Choquehuanca is just an indigenous front, who has no idea of what is going on. The real "canciller" is Pablo Solon from one of the NGO's who runs the MAS (and sadly Bolivia) fundacion Solon. His appointment is "embajador plenipotenciario" This guy is totally against trade agreements and how could he, he did not even finish college, but spent his time at the University organizing student unions for petty causes. He and Evo named Bolivian ambassador to the US to another inept crony Gustavo Guzman, who claimed to be a journalist, but never finished college either. His sad story as Bolivian ambassador to the U.S. can be read at this address in Spanish: For us Bolivians was like having a leftist Melgarejo as ambassador in Washington. If you ask the regular church going American about Bolivia (I have), they will ask whether they hate the U.S. or are like North Korea. Obama will not risk doing anything different than Bush.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


thanks for pointing out that you are nothing more than a bigot. why don't you build yourself a time machine and join the Ustaša

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:54:

"I am glad to see that the staff there doesn't bother themselves with replying to silly zealots."

Uh, you just did. Life is great!


Now more than ever, the Croats are Morales' Jews
Beni is Morales' Katrina

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to 11:28

We will assume from your post that you graduated from college, and therefore believe that anyone who did not is beneath you intellectually.

And that's all the proof we need that a college degree does not automaticaly impart wisdom.

FYI, what about all the trade pacts, including ATPDEA that the government of Bolivia favors? Were you just absent from class that day?

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is noting bigoted about it. Inferiority is inferiority.


The Croats are Morales' Jews
Beni is Morales' Katrina

10:39 AM  
Blogger AROFL said...

Bolivia is being maintained by the middle class and Morales is trying to kill that now.
Indians do not pay taxes, they barely add a number to the national income.

1. Bolivians who do not commune with drug trafficking, corruption and abuse of power, we reject the statements of President Morales for being false, tendentious and with a lack of respect for the national and international community.

2. In our country, during the management of President Evo Morales, there are more than 60 dead by the responsibility of the national government. Drug trafficking has increased by 60% having apprehended citizens linked to the ruling party, the Movimiento al Socialismo MAS, as is the case of the sisters Teran, and caused the expulsion of the Agency to combat drug trafficking from the United States, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Inflation and shortages of food has increased by 30% hitting hard on the popular sectors, the manufacturing sector has decreased its production capacity by 40% due to legal uncertainty and attack of government policies for investment and production.

Cases of corruption have increased by 100%, having dismantled the national government bodies and constitutional control of public funds.

To complete the process that is devastating the Bolivian State, Court Rulings of justice have been disregarded by the government of President Evo Morales.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon don't think Jim knows (about) Solon? He's probably on Jim's Christmas or Chanukah list.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it very interesting that Solon Jr. is against a TLC having as one of his central arguments against the intellectual property rights therein, given that he makes a living of the royalties from Solon Sr's royalties.

Basically here we have a guy who has never worked a day in his life, living of a trust fund that is funded from a capitalistic rent, leading mobs of uneducated people to their death so that they get to enjoy the benefits he has all his life.

If this guy had any shame, he would DONATE all his earning from the Solon royalties to Jim, and then get a real job.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys and girls (Bolivia Libre), check out this site: Makes most of you
seem like middle-of-the-roaders. Evo, etc are nothing
but Communists! Vile and disgusting Commies. Glad this
blogger doesn't contribute on this liberal blog!

Buffy :)

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Croats are Morales' Jews
Beni is Morales' Katrina

Finally this anon's has the cojones to make explicitly rascist comments rather the usual veiled rascist crap he sprews. Too bad that moron and Bolivia Libre cannot handle the fact that Evo has more support than in 2005, so most Bolivians (2/3) think he is doing well as President. Too bad for them that the elections did not favor a white elite-led government, well there is still hope for a coup given Marinkovic and Laren's attempts to form mini-militas. They can still hope for some sort of capitalist fascist military regimed like Pinochet in the 1970s...

Miguel de los Shanqueros

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chill out, Miguelito. Explicity rascist [sic] comments, moi? When have I ever written a racist comment, pray tell?

The real racist in this comedy is Morales, who hates Croats with a passion because they are white, hard working, prosperous Bolivians with decent haircuts. He'll do anything to take away their land and put them in jail under trumped up charges. Very democratic, indeed!


The Croats are Morales' Jews
Beni is Morales' Katrina

PS By the way, most Germans supported Hitler when he was elected. The voice of the people is NOT the voice of God.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Hitler reference... typical of your superficial analysis. Why don't you just call Obama Hitler too and then join the Michael Savage fan club. Maybe you can explain to me why you hate this blog so much, yet incessantly monitor it and post here. You must not have a real job. Or the job you have is the result some nepotistic arrangement where you don't have to do any real work. So, if you would take the silver spoon out of your mouth for a moment, and look around you and outside of your own ego, you might realize that being wealthy does not mean you are above the law. Condolences to the elite large-scale large owner who might lose some land because it is under-utilized, illegally obtained, or worked by indentured servants. There is a law on the books that pre-dates Evo and it is finally being applied. Bolivia has one of the most concentrated land ownership structures in the world. Even banana republics like Honduras and Guatemala have a more egalitarian land distribution. Kudos to Evo for trying to mitigate the negative consequences of such an unfair concentration of power and wealth.

Miguel de los Shanqueros

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, a guys writes this:

"Black guy in charge in the U.S., Cuchi Cuchi worshipper in Bolivia. You put these monkeys on top and you get what you get."

and says he's not a racist.

Any more questions about how the Bolivian right wing thinks of itself?

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a social-liberal/fiscal-conservative and I often find croat/jew/beni/katrina's post very offensive.

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miguelito, I'm still waiting for your one example of a rascist [sic] comment I've written. Only one. Pretty please?

If you think my analysis is superficial, yours is in the stratosphere (alas, that's not a compliment). Sadly (or hilariously, depending on your point of view), it demonstrates how little you know Bolivia. Your typical excuse (and many lefties like you) for Cuchi Cuchi worshipper's racist rants, extrajudicial arrests, illegal property takeovers, lapdog status to the Venezuelans, promoting violence and death, and other multiple violations of the law are justified is because the majority of Bolivians support him. So what? Even though one is elected by a majority, it doesn't allow one to be above the law or the constitution. Hitler was elected democratically and look how nice he turned out.

And please, find something more original than putting Obama in the mix for your argument. It's boring and childish.


The Croats are Morales' Jews
Beni is Morales' Katrina

9:17 AM  
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3:27 AM  

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