... A Nation on the Verge of U.S.-Provoked Uprising

Al Giordano of Narco-News, which tracks the US’ bogus “war on drugs”, reports.

Bolivia is one of only three countries (with Colombia and Peru) in the world where the coca plant – source for cocaine and crack - grows.  Bolivia is also the only one of these three countries with no groups on the U.S. State Department's list of "terrorist organizations."

But today, U.S.-imposed drug policy is sowing the seeds of a violent storm in Bolivia that, although entirely preventable, is leading toward a rebellion that the hypocrites in Washington will later label as "terrorist" even as U.S. policy creates the phenomenon.

The fall last summer of Bolivian General Hugo Banzer, who came to power decades ago through a military coup, has provided civil society in Bolivia with a renewed hope to restore democracy, justice and human rights to this impoverished South American nation. Indeed, just one year ago, Narco News broke the information blockade in the English-language press when social movements throughout Bolivia shut down the country's highways through citizen blockades and forced the Bolivian government to sign agreements with the populace that it has now broken. One of the results of our coverage was that the only English-language news correspondent in Bolivia, AP's Peter McFarren, had to resign in disgrace because we reported his own conflicts-of-interest with the Bolivian regime.

Unfortunately, neither the end of the Banzer dictatorship nor the fall of a corrupted journalist have brought change to Bolivia or to the media blockade of hard news from the country.

Every sector of civil society in Bolivia seeks to bring democracy to the nation. The indigenous  want equal rights and autonomy. The coca growers want a drug policy for Bolivia that is decided by Bolivians and not imposed by the United States. A quarter-million retirees in this country of 8 million citizens - one out of every 30 Bolivians – have recently been denied their pensions because the government has squandered the nation's budget on the unwinnable drug war. The urban unions have repeatedly joined the rural farmers in social protest of the situation. Residents have repeatedly risen up against government plans to export Bolivia's water to copper mines in Chile as it attempts to privatise this natural resource and force Bolivians to buy their own water from private companies. Teachers and students alike have united in opposition to Bolivia's illegitimate government and the impositions from the North.

In other words, the Bolivian regime of President Jorge Quiroga faces opposition from every sector except two: the brutal military forces and the United States government, which, in the latest atrocity, is directly funding a "paramilitary" model of the kind it created, years ago, in Colombia, in order to attempt to stamp out the surge of democracy with repression.

Recently, three unarmed peasant farmers were assassinated by Bolivian soldiers on the nation's major highway. The farmers have begun blockades of the country's roads to demand that the government comply with land use agreements (known as the INRA law) it signed last year but has now broken.

This, as 4,000 Bolivian army troops were forced to retreat from unarmed peasant farmers who have just installed a blockade on the Cochabamba-Santa Cruz highway, the nation's main thoroughfare.

As the United States media pats itself on the back, claiming to have "rediscovered foreign news" in the wake of the September 11th tragedy, it continues to ignore the immediate history taking place in Bolivia, which will have profound consequences for all America.

The people of Bolivia want democracy. They want to make their own decisions on drug policy, economic policy and every other kind of policy. It now falls upon civil society in the United States and the rest of the world to stop Washington from its dirty work of preventing democracy in Bolivia.

A longer version of this article can be found at http://www.narconews.com/boliviaburning1.html