Malloch and Cuello: Trump Turns Tropical Tide
Bolivian history will forever remember now exiled President Morales as their first Amerindian President. Of the leftist leaders the “Pink Tide” brought to Latin America, Evo’s roots as a rabble-rousing, indigenous union leader stood out for hailing from real poverty.
You could go back millennia in his family tree and not stumble on $1000 to anyone’s name. But his communist friends brought him to power and kept him there a long time.
Morales liked to hang out with the voguish lefties of his day: Brazil’s President Lula (recently freed from jail), Fidel & Raúl Castro, Daniel Ortega – name a regional conclave of the last 20 years, you’ll find Evo Morales’ high cheekbones and jet-black hair somewhere near the leftist section of attendees arm in arm. Especially when the leftist section was the entire attendance.
Development Economics (the academic discipline) is forever enriched by the enormous case study Evo’s marathon 4-term mandate supplied to the scientific study of poverty alleviation: If what you wanted to find was poor people and the ways to drag them into the 21st century, Bolivia from 2006-Present was the place to be.
They are Exhibit Number 1 of a failed state based in dogmatic socialism with a Leninist twist.
Yet there is a more sinister side to this story.
Bolivia became a bastion of Castrochavismo, the (Venezuelan/Brazilian) oil-financed, Cuban-led socialist revanchist movement squarely aimed at undermining Washington’s primacy in the hemisphere and the planet.
Iran’s embassy in La Paz (Bolivia’s capital) is an 8-story building, to point out a random indicator of where Evo stood on important matters. Bolivian Uranium is known for turning up in the strangest places, yes Iran.
President Morales’ last day in office was November 11th, 2019 – wracked by protests against his thinly-veiled election rigging.
His efforts to secure a 5th term had already suffered a number of setbacks, including a referendum loss (known as 21-F for the 21st of February, the day he lost) that sparked protests against his candidacy when he tried to remain in power anyway.
Well, that is what such (un)democratic socialist do.
Neighboring Chile is also wracked by protests which are also threatening the stability of the regular order of things, with a suspicious left-wing bent.
To understand the difference between the two protest movements – one pro-democratic & pro-term limits, the other fighting a 4¢ increase in subway fares and “inequality” – we must take a detour through Washington, DC, specifically the Organization of American States (OAS).
The OAS – which monitored Bolivia’s election and dealt the death blow to the re-election effort by declaring the results void – has been the staging ground for the punch-counterpunch dynamic between Castrochavismo and America’s leadership in the world.
PETRO CARIBE, a thinly-veiled oil-for-votes scheme run by Hugo Chavez at the behest of Fidel Castro, slathered generous helpings of steeply discounted petroleum across most of Central America and the Caribbean (including, of course, Cuba itself, which has always depended on external patrons). With a membership of 20 small island states and the odd central-American republics, Venezuela could easily swing any vote in the 35-member OAS.
All this changed once Venezuela’s economy tanked under Nicolás Maduro’s total mismanagement.
The (academic) foreign policy community has an ongoing debate as to the effectiveness of sanctions, where regimes like Maduro’s ironically argue in exaggeration of the real effects the sanctions had while bowfin’s in ivory towers take the side of sanctions being nigh-on-useless.
The Trump administration can take some credit for the economy tanking, Venezuela’s socialist economy sank – to the surprise of nobody – after years of mismanagement and cronyism in the crown jewel of the exchequer: PDVSA, the state oil company.
Evo Morales, perhaps on the take, was a fellow traveler – his vote against the invocation of the TIAR at the OAS (on the opposite side as the USA, as usual) was on the losing side for once.
Having broken Venezuela’s stranglehold on the OAS, the Trump Administration now has the legal basis to intervene in Venezuela should he so desire.
The TIAR vote has had a chilling effect on the region. Morales’ problems were mainly due to his attempt to force a 5th term for himself, but in the countries that voted against Maduro – like Chile, for example – Chavista agents provocateurs are engaged in actively destabilizing those governments that voted against it in the OAS and recognized Interim President Guaidó as the Venezuelan Head of State.
To combat this red menace, POTUS must insist on the recognition of Bolivia’s new government, borne of the constitutional succession of powers upon Morales’ resignation as well as the simultaneous resignation of the two officials next in line.
As in the recognition of President Guaidó in Caracas, the litmus test of recognizing Jeanine Áñez as presiding over the regular order of affairs in Bolivia is the line in the sand. Former Brazilian President Lula has taken his stand in blaming Bolivian elites, a preposterous position, which underlines the necessity for a strong united front against the coalition of left-wing politicos, Lula himself assembled so painstakingly during his mandates.
Countries that haven’t yet recognized President Áñez should be encouraged to do so immediately. In Trump’s World the socialist dictators everywhere lose and freedom wins.
Felipe J. Cuello is a republican consultant and policy analyst and THEODORE ROOSEVELT MALLOCH, is a scholar-diplomat-strategist, who appears regularly in the media, as a keynote speaker, and on television around the world.