LA PAZ – Former president of Bolivia accused the US of orchestrating the coup against him. This is not the first time that Latin American leaders have denounced US interference in their countries.
What are the possible interests the US may have in promoting regime change in Bolivia?
Since the end of World War II (1939-1945), accusations that the United States has led to destabilization and changes in government in Latin America and the Caribbean have become constant.
Provocation of internal conflict, military invasions and various coups d’etat are on the list of complaints against the US nation in the region.
What is the US interest in Bolivia?
The United States has several interests in Bolivia. According to the Latin American Strategic Center for Geopolitics (CELAG), an international organization that studies conjuncture phenomena in the region, Washington’s most important interests are related to development aid and the natural resources that can be extracted from its territory.
Since the iconic Marshall Plan (which spurred Europe’s recovery after World War II), economic assistance to countries has become one of America’s most widely used channels of influence. Considering that the existing natural resources in Latin America are essential for its own development, it sought to facilitate access to strategic matters to sustain the US economy.
Since 2000, aid has increased considerably, with Bolivia ranking third and fourth among the countries receiving the most aid on the South American continent, including after Morales’s arrival as president. Assistance began to decline after a US ambassador was expelled from the DEA drug agency in 2008.
Natural Resources That Are Scarce in the USA
Bolivia is among the leading antimony, tungsten, tin and boron exporting countries that the United States lacks, CELAG analysts point out.
In 2015, the US was the main destination for Bolivia’s mineral exports, with 28%, in 2017 it fell to fifth place with 10.7%.
Good relations with Russia and China
For Bolivia, bilateral relations with Russia and China are vitally important, says Brazilian researcher Pedro Marin, founder of the Opera newspaper.
21% of its imports come from the Asian country, while only 7.5% are from the USA. Between 2000 and 2014 bilateral trade between China and Bolivia increased from $75 million to $2.25 billion. Beijing has also become the main Bolivian lender, according to Marin.
Relations with Russia, especially in the energy sector, have also been growing. Partnerships included the construction of the Nuclear Technology Research and Development Center in El Alto, the country’s second largest city.
Another very important aspect is that Bolivia is a key territory on the continent, and the Movement for Socialism (MAS) government does not want the US to interfere with its affairs. This was stated in July 2019 the then Minister of the Presidency of the South American country, Juan Ramón Quitana, saying that Bolivia will again be a crushed nation to resume full relations with the US.