Bolivia Leader Lets Venezuela Send Soldiers, Angering Foes

Bolivia Leader Lets Venezuela Send Soldiers, Angering Foes
January 9th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Bolivia Leader Lets Venezuela Send Soldiers, Angering Foes

Bolivia Leader Lets Venezuela Send Soldiers, Angering Foes
New York Times
January 9, 2007
Pg. 3

By Simon Romero
CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan. 8 — Political opponents of President Evo Morales of Bolivia have in recent days stepped up criticism of the country’s strengthening military relationship with Venezuela after Bolivian officials acknowledged that more than two dozen uniformed members of the Venezuelan military had recently entered the country without congressional approval.
Jorge Quiroga, a former president of Bolivia and a prominent critic of Mr. Morales’s alliance with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, accused Mr. Morales in a statement on Saturday of “trampling national sovereignty.”
Legislators from Santa Cruz, a redoubt of anti-Morales sentiment in eastern Bolivia, previously criticized the unannounced arrival of about 30 Venezuelan military officials at Trompillo Airport there on Dec. 28.
President Morales has been facing increasing tension in eastern provinces seeking greater political autonomy from his administration. Part of the dispute stems from the Bolivian Congress’s approval of a wide-reaching military cooperation pact with Venezuela, in a legislative session in November that opponents say was marred by irregularities.
Mr. Morales has also begun an ambitious land reform program that could encourage tens of thousands of highland peasants to move to the east, unsettling regional leaders there who view the project as a threat to their interests.
Venezuela’s defense minister, Gen. Raúl Isaías Baduel, rushed to defend the deployment to Bolivia. The presence of Venezuelan soldiers in Bolivia does not violate Bolivian sovereignty, he said in comments issued Friday night through Venezuela’s official news agency.
“This could be qualified as humanitarian aid, with what we know of Bolivia’s economic limitations,” General Baduel said.
Venezuelan officials, including the country’s ambassador in Bolivia, have been on the defensive in recent weeks as critics of Mr. Morales have raised fears over growing Venezuelan military involvement in Bolivia. The Bolivian defense minister, Walker San Miguel, said last week that the Venezuelans were there to assist in the piloting and maintenance of two Super Puma helicopters that Venezuela had put at Mr. Morales’s disposal for travel within Bolivia.
Venezuela is also helping the Bolivian Army to build border posts and improve its military presence in the eastern lowlands, efforts that Mr. Morales’s opponents say have more to do with intimidating his critics than protecting Bolivia’s frontier from Brazil or Paraguay.
As United States influence in Bolivia has waned, Venezuela has stepped in to provide as much as $50 million in loans for military spending since Mr. Morales assumed the presidency a year ago.
In addition, Venezuela has counseled Mr. Morales on his economic policies and formed ventures with Bolivia’s national energy company as he took greater control over the energy industry last year from multinational companies. As Venezuela raises its profile in Bolivia, Mr. Morales has emerged as Mr. Chávez’s closest ally in South America. Resistance to the alliance has been vocal in Bolivia and here in Caracas.
Still, Mr. Morales seems to have cannily asserted his influence over a wary officer corps as he presses forward with efforts to promote more indigenous soldiers into the upper ranks of the armed forces, where a light-skinned, Europeanized elite remains dominant.
One of Mr. Morales’s first moves as president was a purge of senior generals and other officials from the army after a scandal in which they were accused of allowing military technicians from the United States to dismantle more than two dozen antiquated Chinese-made shoulder-fired missiles, considered Bolivia’s sole antiaircraft defense.
Some of the deposed officials have been explicitly critical of Mr. Morales’s ties to Mr. Chávez and to Cuba’s government. Gen. Marcelo Antezana, who was fired by Mr. Morales as army commander, said in September that there was discontent in the armed forces over what was viewed as subjugation to “Caribbean mulattoes” of a “Cuba-Venezuela axis.”
An outcry followed published remarks by Julio Montes, Venezuela’s ambassador in La Paz, who said last month that Venezuela would consider military intervention on Mr. Morales’s behalf in case of a crisis. Mr. Montes later amended his comments, saying he was referring to assistance in general and not the deployment of troops.
January 10th, 2007  
Well, I guess the New World Order is taking shape. NAFTA and the North American Union plus the nations that are falling under the control of socialism.

Similar Topics
U.S. Soldiers Tell Gates To Send More Troops
Iraqi Soldiers Hinder U.S. Efforts
Suicide attacker injures five Canadian soldiers
Italy says stress and inexperience of US soldiers played a..
A must read article on Iraq