I have become captivated by the twists and turns of the Edward Snowden real-life spy caper. While the original accusation that the US was using its advantageous position in the Internet infrastructure to spy on its own citizens and its allies was expected--absolute power corrupts absolutely--its unfolding implications are far more interesting. Call it Frederick Forsyth...on crack. The IPE implications I've covered in some detail, from Ecuador unilaterally disavowing trade preferences given to it by the US to European lawmakers deliberating on whether to delay the start of EU-US FTA negotiations. The latest word is that EC President Manuel Barroso wants negotiations to occur alongside investigations of American spying. The sideshow is at least as interesting: I enjoy the (calculated) titillation as that master of self-promotion, former Russian spy Anna Chapman, has offered to marry spyboy / boytoy [!?] Edward Snowden and thus grant him rights to remain in Russia.
Back in Latin America, though, we recently had this misadventure of Bolivian President Evo Morales being harassed on his flight home from Russia by European nations France, Italy, Portugal and Spain--allegedly on suspicion that the Latin leftist may have been flying Snowden to Bolivian asylum. Just as spying has created a US-EU row, so too has perceived maltreatment of a Latin leader occasioned (surprise!) yet another continental conflict between the US and the Latin left. Where's Che Guevara when you need him--or Fidel Castro for that matter?
The story above pointed out something I was not previously aware of, though. Did you know that Bolivia expelled the US Agency for International Development (USAID) just last month? Just a short time ago Russia did the same as it was wary of the agency's "democracy promotion" agenda when it ought to have stuck with the task of development instead. Besides, who the heck needs all of that tied aid, anyway? At any rate, different country...same result. From Missus Clinton's favourite media outlet:
Bolivian president Evo Morales has expelled the US development agency from his country for allegedly seeking to undermine his leftist government. Morales claimed on Wednesday that the USAID is involved with "alleged political interference in peasant unions and other social organisations." He made the announcement before a crowd outside the presidential palace during a May Day rally. "Never again, never again USAID, who manipulate and use our leaders, our colleagues with hand-outs," Morales said in announcing the expulsion.Given the United States' history of interfering in Latin America, you'd think USAID would have been more circumspect about "democracy promotion": fiddling with organized groups and so on. As with many things involving these parties, there is no real moral to the story, US protestations notwithstanding. Americans can be meddlesome hypocrites, while Latin blowhards like Morales blame the Latin left's repeated failures to lift their countries out of poverty on US interference. Same old, same old.
There are no protagonists here, but it does make you wonder if Morales has set himself up for additional harassment by expelling USAID.