I know Baby Newton Leroy and others have been preoccupied lately with the supposed chumminess of President Obama with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez (you mean, they actually smiled to one another when they spoke? And Obama received a book as a gift? OMIGOD, HE’S A TERRIST AFTER ALL – WE HAVE TO IMPEACH HIM!!!), and, as we know, presidents never exchange pleasantries with otherwise hostile leaders, according to the former House Speaker and philanderer during the Clinton impeachment farce (uh, right).
However, I thought this story about Bolivian leader Evo Morales and his claim that Obama “was behind an assassination plot,” which Obama refuted by saying that he “absolutely opposed and condemn(ed) any efforts at violent overthrows of democratically elected governments — wherever it happens in the hemisphere,” was more than a little odd.
From what I read, though, this seems to be a tactic that Morales employs when it suits him, and I found myself in rare agreement with the Murdoch Street Journal here in this account of how Morales foiled a recent assassination “plot” (quotes by the Journal – I should emphasize that this is not an Op-Ed but an example of the Journal’s otherwise thorough reporting).
The story also tells us the following…
Although several of the men (accused in the plot) were Hungarian, Hungary hasn’t been approached officially by Bolivia regarding what happened, according to the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hungarian national security services had no prior knowledge of the plot, a security services official said.
Even as Bolivia said the alleged plotters were part of a wider conspiracy, friends of the men said they doubted the government’s version of events. Opposition politicians in Bolivia called on the government to offer detailed proof of its claims.
Our government has had tensions with Morales for some time, dated back to this 2004 story (at least) under Dubya (Morales was elected president in December of the following year). Some of it has been fueled by what could be considered an overreaction from Bushco to Morales’ expulsion of our former ambassador Philip Goldberg last September for meeting with Santa Cruz Governor Rubén Costas. Costas, founder of Autonomy for Bolivia, has pressed for democracy and autonomy for Bolivia’s regions, as Wikipedia tells us here.
Yes, it was a stupid fit of pique for Morales, but in addition to expelling Bolivia’s ambassador to the U.S. in response, Former President Reality Avoidance put Bolivia on the counter-narcotics blacklist because of its refusal to participate in the War on Drugs in September ‘08, and he also suspended that country’s trade preferences the following month, which definitely suited Morales for propaganda purposes if nothing else.
And I’m sure it also didn’t endear Morales to our government when he decided to end Bolivia’s participation in the School of the Americas based in Fort Benning, GA, as noted here, in October 2007.
This post from SOA Watch tells us that the group has applauded the decision of President Obama to shut down Guantanamo and the CIA’s secret prisons, but I believe many of us would like to see an end to the School of the Americas as well, either through an executive order or a cutoff by Congress of funding (an amendment to legislation that would have accomplished that failed by six votes in 2007). In addition to helping this administration to reestablish the primacy of the rule of law in foreign relations, it would also deprive characters such as Morales of an excuse to blame this country in the event that he fails to govern in a manner befitting a leader of a democratic republic.