Bolivia & Morales: Cocaine games
Evo Morales, first "indigenous" president-elect of Bolivia, is aligned with Venezuela's Marxist president Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro.
Mr. Morales is a populist. That designation assures us that he has the economic savvy of a coca leaf. His dedication to populism (collectivism by another name) showcases his distaste for democratic principles.
Exuberant in a victory based on anti-Americanism, Morales' told Middle Eastern Al Jazeera television that President Bush is "a terrorist" and the war in Iraq is "state terrorism."
Not true, but wealthy and powerful America is a sturdy whipping-boy for demagogues who covet wealth and power for themselves while attempting to divert attention from their true objectives.
In his campaign, Morales promised to the indigenous Indian population protection of coca production, which is a cornerstone of the black market in cocaine.
The $150 million U.S.-funded coca eradication program will be discontinued.
Indeed, coca is used for cultural ceremonies and medicinal purposes. That should be protected, Morales says, pledging (did we see him cross his fingers and wink) that he will fight the drug trade.
A referendum will decide how much coca will be grown in a nation that is a major world supplier of cocaine and where the rule of law has broken down.
Who is he kidding• Cocaine is where the money is.
The official American position is wait-and-see. The unofficial one is, and should be, deep worry.