The war of words against Bolivia begins: The Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI)’s Michael Radu accuses the new government of Bolivia of presiding over a “racist and fascist movement”, and defends fellow alumni of the Hoover Institution Jorge Quiroga and former president Sánchez de Lozada as the only democratic alternatives in Bolivia. Furthermore, Radu proposes total isolation of Bolivia under Morales, and says: "If this leads to the end of Bolivia as we know it, so be it."


Empieza la guerra internacional de palabras contra Bolivia: Michael Radu del Instituto para la Investigación de la Política Externa (FPRI en inglés) acusa al nuevo gobierno de Bolivia de ‘racista y fascista’, y defiende a su ex compañero del Instituto Hoover Jorge Quiroga y al ex-presidente Sánchez de Lozada como las únicas alternativas democráticas en Bolivia. Además, Radu propone un aislamiento total de la Bolivia de Evo Morales y dice:"Si esto significa el fin de Bolivia, que lo sea.”


A continuación la refutación en inglés al artículo de Radu: “¿El fin de Bolivia?”


In light of the more realistic and pragmatic advice given to the U.S. by Latin America analysts, experts and even the traditional press outlets- which seems to be taken hold at  the State Department level, especially after the call to dialogue by the president-elect of Bolivia Evo Morales Ayma- it should not worry Bolivians that they are indirectly blamed, by Michael Radu, Carlos Alberto Montaner, and others for the “mistake” of having overwhelmingly elected a “majority rule” candidate with clean hands and the main mission of fighting poverty. The Organization of the American States, regional organizations, the World Bank, the European Union and a growing number o nations have offered Morales “all the help we can muster”, as the OAS’s Secretary General Insulza has declared. Not least, the International Monetary Fund has proceeded to include Bolivia in its first wave of debt relief under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative.


Michael Radu of the Foreign Policy Reseach Institute (FPRI), the author of the worrisome article “The End of Bolivia?” – which sounds similar to another article he wrote: “Does Africa Exist?” – seems to want to be left alone in the world with his simplistic, impractical and narrow-minded focus. Dr. Radu has written about every region of the world for more than 20 years in rather broad terms, but he is not a Bolivia scholar. His generalizations of Bolivia, although not as harsh, are similar to the ones he uses against European leftists. The truth is that Dr. Radu’s opinion should not weigh heavy on US policy towards Bolivia. He has before predicted the fall of the left in Europe, called into question the existence of African unity; called leaders around the world ‘racists’ and ‘fascists’ as long as they are of the leftist persuasion. This is not sound advice to academia or to business. Finally, in the case of Bolivia, he is making a big mistake.


Dr. Radu seems least clued-up when he endorses, as the only democratic options in Bolivia, his fellow alumni at the Hoover Institution, Jorge Quiroga, and former president Sanchez de Lozada, who is wanted by the Bolivian justice for genocide, and soon for economic crimes, and who has ruled in a coalition with known narco-politicians that were banned from even entering the U.S. Dr. Radu’s erroneous simplifications, such as the characterization of the demographic distribution of progressive-eastern-whites vis á vis radical-western-Indians in Bolivia, sounds more like an analysis of pre-Civil War America pamphleteers. Some facts he uses as argument, such as the out-of-context statement, flown around the world by the media, which imputes the president-elect of Bolivia of going around threatening to be the US’s “worst nightmare” could not be further from the truth: since the election president-elect Morales has repeatedly called for dialogue and understanding with the U.S.. Dr. Radu will not “educate the educators” nor will he help the media or business investors, as is the FPRI’s mission, by ignoring the present historical reality of Bolivia in its larger Latin American context. Let me elaborate on this latter topic.


The fact that South American politics is challenging the geopolitical hegemony of the Western Hemisphere in its present form comes more from the realization by the larger economies in the region, such as Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, that they can evolve into stronger economies with social progress, something that has not been addressed by the old oligarchic model of supply-side illusions and political isolation. The fact that Brazil’s Lula da Silva turned out to be “not as bad” as predicted by analysts such as Mr. Radu, is because the social rhetoric by Venezuela, and even Argentina and Uruguay, has  polarized the debate between the US and Latin America. The thesis that “you are either with us or you are against us” can only ingratiate the European and Chinese desires of planned partnerships with Latin America, partly eliminating the American participation. What Dr. Radu does not realize is that by insulting Bolivian voters, he is suggesting, in the larger context of South America, that the U.S. eliminates itself as a participant in the greater dialogue taken place in the hemisphere. U.S. businesses are ill-served by any advice that is one-sided, simplistic and stereotypical with regards to US-Latin American relations. U.S. corporate investments in Bolivia, although lower than “remesas” sent back by Bolivians from around the world, are large enough to warrant a more profound analysis of the new political reality in Bolivia- at least in real and pragmatic terms. The claim of a threat to Bolivia’s wellbeing by the ruling of the indigenous majority (labeled a ‘fascist-racist movement’ by Dr. Radu), as well as the ridiculous assertion of the threat of war with Chile (which by the way also has a leftist government) are all simplifications of reality that can only result from reincarnated fear and ignorance, not from good business acumen. The fact is that the new government of Bolivia represents, foremost, a break with the past in that it recognizes majority rule and an end to racism and social stagnation. The economic inclusion, social uplift and political participation of the majority Indian population can only improve internal and, eventually external, market conditions geared towards increased fair trade and a healthy and more levelheaded bilateral relation between Bolivia and the U.S. [ARRIBA]

Jaime Otero-Zuazo

Michael Radu – “The End of Bolivia?”

Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI)