Thursday, November 20, 2008

U.S.-Bolivian relations

During his trip to the U.S., Evo Morales met with Dick Lugar, who released a statement that included:

We hope to renew our relationship with Bolivia, and to develop a rapport grounded on respect and transparency. In this regard, after appropriate and constructive official contacts, I hope that we will have a U.S. Ambassador in La Paz soon, and that we will look forward to having a Bolivian Ambassador here in Washington, D.C.,” Lugar said.
In the meeting, Lugar and President Morales also discussed the importance of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) which was suspended by President Bush.
“Lifting the suspension on the ATPDEA with Bolivia will strengthen the growing political and economic relationship between our nations and help bring new jobs and good will to the region,” Lugar said. Bolivians are concerned about the possibility of losing a market of $400 million dollars of manufactured Bolivian products that generate a significant number of jobs in Bolivia.

All to the good. The timing of a new administration is perfect for mending fences. Bad relations hurt Bolivia considerably, and so Morales should grab onto these kinds of statements to figure out a new relationship that asserts Bolivian sovereignty without shooting the country in the foot.


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