|By Admin1 (admin) (220.127.116.11) on Saturday, September 13, 2008 - 11:53 am: Edit Post|
Bolivia Expels American Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg
For months, Mr. Morales has accused Mr. Goldberg -- to whom he occasionally refers derisively as the "gringo" -- of orchestrating the political opposition in breakaway provinces. While Mr. Morales has yet to provide evidence for his charges, the anti-U.S. rhetoric has energized his supporters. Mr. Goldberg, a career diplomat who served in Kosovo before arriving in Bolivia in 2006, was briefly recalled to the U.S. in June after rowdy protests outside the U.S. embassy raised security concerns. The expulsion of Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg came hours after Bolivian officials blamed sabotage by antigovernment protesters Wednesday for disrupting gas exports to Argentina and Brazil. The State Department said it hasn't received official notification of the move. The two events signaled an ominous escalation of feuding between Mr. Morales' left-wing government and conservative provinces in the eastern part of the country. The president's opponents accuse him of being an authoritarian who wants to impose a socialist state. Analysts fear the chronically unstable country could descend into open political violence.
PCOL Comment: This is not the first controversy surrounding Philip S. Goldberg's tenure as US Ambassador to Bolivia.
Bolivia Expels American Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg
Bolivia Expels American Ambassador
Move by Morales
Follows Disruption Of Gas Exports
By JOHN LYONS
September 11, 2008; Page A9
Caption: The US Embassy in Bolivia
Bolivia's President Evo Morales moved to expel the U.S. ambassador, accusing him of promoting the country's breakup by encouraging a separatist movement in the eastern provinces.
The expulsion of Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg came hours after Bolivian officials blamed sabotage by antigovernment protesters Wednesday for disrupting gas exports to Argentina and Brazil. The State Department said it hasn't received official notification of the move.
The two events signaled an ominous escalation of feuding between Mr. Morales' left-wing government and conservative provinces in the eastern part of the country. The president's opponents accuse him of being an authoritarian who wants to impose a socialist state. Analysts fear the chronically unstable country could descend into open political violence.
Wednesday, the head of Bolivia's state energy company, YPFB, told reporters that a "terrorist act" had reduced gas transfers to Brazil by 10%. Brazil, which gets about half its gas from Bolivia, is Bolivia's biggest customer.
Gas-industry workers said two separate incidents curtailed exports. Protesters took over a gas plant in the state of Chuquisaca and shut it down, blocking the flow of about two million cubic feet a day from lines headed for Brazil, or about 6% of Brazil's total. Meanwhile, in the state of Tarija, an unknown person apparently sabotaged a valve on one of two pipelines that delivers gas to Argentina.
Hours later, Mr. Morales, an ally of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, said he was expelling the U.S. ambassador. Mr. Goldberg "should return to his country at once," Mr. Morales said, according to Agence France Presse.
For months, Mr. Morales has accused Mr. Goldberg -- to whom he occasionally refers derisively as the "gringo" -- of orchestrating the political opposition in breakaway provinces. While Mr. Morales has yet to provide evidence for his charges, the anti-U.S. rhetoric has energized his supporters. Mr. Goldberg, a career diplomat who served in Kosovo before arriving in Bolivia in 2006, was briefly recalled to the U.S. in June after rowdy protests outside the U.S. embassy raised security concerns.
Mr. Morales, an Aymara Indian, is seeking a new constitution to benefit his mainly poor, indigenous followers in the Andean highlands. That vision is colliding with an autonomy movement in economically crucial provinces of Bolivia's low-lying east.
Last month, a national referendum that put Mr. Morales's presidency and eight of nine governorships in play failed to settle the political standoff. Mr. Morales won a big majority of the electorate, concentrated mainly in the highlands. Key opposition governors, however, also won majorities in their regions.
Wednesday's gas disruptions came a day after protesters in four provinces of the gas-rich east -- Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija -- stormed government buildings to protest Mr. Morales' decision to schedule a vote on the constitution for December.
The new constitution redefines private property, grants special rights based on indigenous ethnicity, centralizes more economic power in the presidency and allows Mr. Morales to be re-elected. Critics say Mr. Morales will use it to seize farmland, nationalize more industries and remain in office indefinitely.
The four opposition provinces declared autonomy from the central government in recent months. Mr. Morales responded by holding back revenue owed to the provinces.
Mr. Morales is under increasing pressure to rein in the provinces, which account for more than half the nation's economic output. His aircraft has been forced to divert from provincial airports by protesters on several occasions. Meantime, he is facing opposition from onetime supporters. The indigenous governor of Chuquisaca state now opposes him.
The U.S. State Department said it hadn't yet received official notification of Mr. Morales' decision. "We are working to confirm the government of Bolivia's intentions," said Sara Mangiaracina, a State Department spokeswoman.
Write to John Lyons at email@example.com
Links to Related Topics (Tags):
Headlines: September, 2008; Peace Corps Bolivia; Directory of Bolivia RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Bolivia RPCVs; Diplomacy; Safety and Security of Volunteers
When this story was posted in September 2008, this was on the front page of PCOL:
Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
PCVs Evacuated from Georgia
The Peace Corps has announced that all Volunteers and trainees serving in the Republic of Georgia are safe and they have been temporarily relocated to neighboring Armenia. Read the analysis by one RPCV on how Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili believed that he could launch a lightning assault on South Ossetia and reclaim the republic without substantial grief from Moscow and that Saakashvili's statements once the war began demonstrated that he expected real Western help in confronting Russia.
September 1, 2008: This Month's Top Stories
Eric Green writes: 2008 Election helps US Image Worldwide 28 Aug
Tschetter meets with President Arroyo in Philippines 29 Aug
Hill's new approach is an unsung success story 29 Aug
Jackie Theriot served as PCV in Togo 25 Aug
Therese Abalo became beekeeper to join Peace Corps 24 Aug
Obituary for Pauline Birky-Kreutzer 23 Aug
Peace Corps to Pare Ranks of Volunteers 22 Aug
George Packer writes play about Iraqi occupation 22 Aug
Martin Puryear retrospective at the National Gallery of Art 22 Aug
Elaine Chao heads final 2008 Olympic delegation 21 Aug
J R Bullington writes: Reinvigorate the Peace Corps 19 Aug
Faith Van Gilder returns to Botswana 18 Aug
Bill Owens still turning suburbs into art 18 Aug
Amy Smith hosts International Development Design Summit 17 Aug
McCain calls for greater volunteerism 17 Aug
Sarah Chayes writes: Afghans don't support insurgency 16 Aug
Maurice Albertson remembers origins of Peace Corps 15 Aug
John Perkins "hit man" is now documentary movie 15 Aug
Brian Connors helps local farmers in Malawi 13 Aug
Dr. Peter Davenport no stranger to rural health issues 13 Aug
Jeremiah Johnson tells story of HIV termination 8 Aug
New: More Stories from July and August 2008
Dodd vows to filibuster Surveillance Act
Senator Chris Dodd vowed to filibuster the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that would grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that helped this administration violate the civil liberties of Americans. "It is time to say: No more. No more trampling on our Constitution. No more excusing those who violate the rule of law. These are fundamental, basic, eternal principles. They have been around, some of them, for as long as the Magna Carta. They are enduring. What they are not is temporary. And what we do not do in a time where our country is at risk is abandon them."
August 6, 2008: This Month's Top Stories
PC in Budget Crunch may cut PCVs by 5% 5 Aug
Garamendi first to announce run for governor in 2010 2 Aug
Bob and Pat Parish receive president’s award 31 Jul
Sam Brownback removes block on Kathleen Stephens 31 Jul
Peace Corps Removes Ban on HIV-Positive Volunteers 31 Jul
RPCVs organize online for Obama 31 Jul
Peace group awards perfect rating to Sam Farr 29 Jul
How Hill used back channels to negotiate Korean agreement 27 Jul
Voter surge may hurt Shays 26 Jul
Matthew A. Hamilton writes: A Shadow on Ararat 25 Jul
Gates says Tools of inspiration are indispensable 15 Jul
An interview with Composer Gabriela Lena Frank 13 Jul
Ginny Farmer to swim in Olympics for American Samoa 11 Jul
Dodd is possible vice presidential candidate 11 Jul
Carl Pope supports the Pickens Plan 8 Jul
George Packer writes: Obama’s Iraq Problem 7 Jul
An Interview with PCOL 4 Jul
Ifugao hopes for tourism boost after Campbell Trial 3 Jul
Peace Corps To Quit Kiribati 3 Jul
Tony Hall asks: Where is moral outrage over food crisis? 3 Jul
Wofford raises awareness about global poverty 2 Jul
New: More Stories from June and July 2008
July 1, 2008: This Month's Top Stories
Sarah Chayes continues work in Kandahar 29 Jun
PCV Catherine Saltwick killed in Automobile Accident 2 Jun
Richard Stoll returns to Tonga for capitol’s rebuild 2 Jun
Peace Corps Reopens Program in Liberia 4 Jun
Tu Dang is a Foreign Affairs Officer 4 Jun
Bethany Hedt takes aim at AIDS with statistics 5 Jun
Expanding opportunities for deaf PCVs 5 Jun
Peace Corps/Kenya Program Reopening 6 Jun
José Klein is plate artist 9 Jun
Kenyan Prime Minister Visits PC Headquarters 19 Jun
Michael Meyer's writes "The Last Days of Old Beijing" 20 Jun
Chuck Ludlam writes: Congress Enacts PCV Tax Law 24 Jun
Dodd Speaks in Opposition to FISA Bill 24 Jun
Christopher Hill critical to success in Korea Talks 25 Jun
Mark Gearan writes: Hillary Clinton's Contribution 25 Jun
James Rupert writes: Pakistan Fights Taliban 27 Jun
Elaine Chao hails U.S.-China dialogue 28 Jun
Obituary for Bud Keith - Champion for Disabled 29 Jun
Life in prison for killer of PCV Julia Campbell 30 Jun
John Coyne writes: PC Archives at JFK Library 30 Jun
Mark Shriver to Chair National Commission on Children 30 Jun
New: More Stories from May and June 2008
Read the stories and leave your comments.