U.S. relations, seen from Bolivia

Latin America and the Caribbean

Here is how the Bolivian government's press agency (Agencia Boliviana de Información, ABI) portrayed yesterday's visit to La Paz of Thomas Shannon, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemishere Affairs. The citations below come from three different press releases (1, 2, 3).

The U.S. and Bolivian governments agreed on Wednesday to begin a plan of consultations to establish a bilateral agenda with the objective of reinvigorating relations between La Paz and Washington. That was the message of the assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the United States, Thomas Shannon, after meeting with Bolivian President Evo Morales, in a meeting that began at 5:05 in the morning [!!!] in the Palacio Quemado and lasted until 6:45. ... "In the end it was agreed that the only conspiracy that is going to existi in our bilateral relations will be the conspiracy against poverty, against inequality and against social exclusion," Shannon affirmed. This was in response to [Bolivian President Evo] Morales' repeated denunciations of a presumed conspiracy against his government from the U.S. embassy, represented in La Paz by Philip Goldberg. The government accuses Goldberg of directing and financing the Bolivian political right wing's conspirings. Consulted on this point, the U.S. official affirmed that "we could not have a better ambassador in La Paz, he is a very respected diplomat in Washington." For his part the Bolivian minister of Foreign Relations, David Choquehuanca, in a press conference, said that it was Morales who proposed to the U.S. mission "to conspire together against poverty, social exclusion and inequality" and that this was well-received by the U.S. delegation. In addition, [Choquehuanca said] that Shannon "has been asked that the United States stop conspiring politically in Bolivia." ... "We recognize the government's great effort in different aspects of its work that are important for the United States, especially in the fight against drugs," Shannon indicated in a press conference at the Palacio Quemado, after meeting with the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales. ... Shannon affirmed that his country will keep seeking ways to deepen assistance for interdiction, eradication and especially the alternative-development programs carried out by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). However, in June this agency was expelled from the Chapare region of Cochabamba by coca-leaf producers, who accuse it of conspiring against the government of President Evo Morales. In the case of the Yungas, another coca-producing region, USAID's work is continuing. Shannon said that the meeting with Morales made clear that the U.S. delegation in La Paz is taking no political actions, and that the only U.S. conspiracy is the one against poverty, inequality and social exclusion.