Malia Obama Visit to Bolivia

Malia Obama visited Bolivia last month. Although unknown to the public until recently, the trip was apparently organized with the approval of Bolivian President Evo Morales.

“In spite of significant political differences with the Obama administration, he accepted the visit, understood the significance of the learning experience and respected Malia’s privacy…It’s really an important precedent,” said AIN’s Kathryn Ledebur in a New York Times editorial.

The “Where there be Dragons” program provides U.S. students the opportunity to learn about political, social, and environmental issues in Bolivia. The program offers talks on the water war, globalization, coca control and drug policy.

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CIA Declassifies Documents on Bolivia

Recently declassified CIA documents on Bolivia demonstrate how Cold War power dynamics motivated U.S. engagement in Bolivian internal affairs. In a number of documents, U.S. government officials frame counter-narcotics aid, military training, economic investment and political support as effective strategies for securing U.S. influence in Bolivia, while eliminating potential insurgent threats.  Although leftist insurgencies were fairly minimal in Bolivia compared to neighboring countries, U.S. officials heavily considered the potential impacts that economic or political action would have on these groups. For example, in the 1984 declassified document ‘Bolivia: Bleak Economic Prospects for a Threatened Democracy,’ U.S. officials express concern for how Bolivia’s economic crisis will strengthen insurgencies: “the greatest potential long term threat to US interests in Bolivia is the growing capability of the various radical leftist and communist groups to exploit economic deterioration and social and political instability.”

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