The scandal over the «scientific team from the USA» broke out, despite attempts by the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia to kill it off. In June 2012, a team of team of specialists numbering 50 people came to the country, ostensibly to study the adverse effects of high altitude on humans and their capacity for rapid recovery of their fighting ability.
To avoid attracting attention, the Americans used tourist visas and passed through border control in small groups. One group of these specialists went to the Yungas area, and another group to the slopes of Mount Chacaltaya. «Tourist» trails have been laid in the border areas with Peru and Chile.
The expedition’s activities in the country continued for a few months.
Only after a series of articles in the U.S. media did the Bolivian authorities begin an investigation. Vice President Alvaro Garcia stated that the actions of the U.S. «scholars» in the country were in serious doubt. Initially, they assured that they were exploring issues of human adaptation to high altitude.
Then it was announced that the experiments were being carried out in the interests of the U.S. / NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Wow, more than ten years into the war against the Taliban, with the deadlines for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan approaching, the Pentagon suddenly remembered the «problem of high altitude «! Of course, after these confused explanations appeared, the assumption was made that not all those from the U.S. were scientists.
Officially, the expedition was headed by Robert Roach of the University of Colorado, but in reality, the «research team» was subordinate to U.S. military intelligence officers (Defense Intelligence Agency – DIA)… In Bolivia, its work was coordinated by the Defense Attaché of the U.S. Embassy. Col. Patrick Mathes and his staff provided operational cover. $ 4 million in funds was allocated by the Pentagon DIA for the expeditions scientific and intelligence work.
To carry out such operations without the formal permission of the host country, is an open challenge, demonstrating a disregard for the laws of Bolivia and its leadership. According to Vice-President Garcia, this is an «attack on the sovereignty of the country, and a preparation for a military attack on Bolivia.»
There is a basis for such a statement. At the first sign of scandal Mathes left Bolivia and Colonel Dennis Fiemeyer became chief Defense Attaché. He is considered a leading expert in the Pentagon on South America. He previously worked in Paraguay and Peru, and is aware of the balance of power in the region, Bolivia’s strategy to achieve access to the Pacific Ocean, the current state of the Bolivian armed forces and their defense capabilities.
The U.S. military attaches constantly monitor sentiment in the army, recruit agents, and use «dissidents» to destabilize and overthrow «the Morales regime».
«The U.S. government has abused our trust and generosity,” said the vice-president of Bolivia. “This is a very negative signal against the background of attempts to restore full diplomatic relations between the two countries.
We cannot remain indifferent to this aggression. We have the right to take measures to prevent such a thing from happening again. The executive branch intends to keep all the actions of the North American representatives in Bolivia under constant surveillance».
The U.S. Embassy was hostile from the start to Indian president, Evo Morales, and tried to prevent his coming to power in 2006, and re-election to the presidency in 2010.
To get rid of Morales and return Bolivia to Washington control, the U.S. intelligence services have used every opportunity to conduct a «secret war without rules,» including the direction of terrorist groups. The surviving terrorists and their accomplices later fled from Bolivia to the United States.
Along the borders with Bolivia, The U.S. Southern Command has established military bases in Iquitos (Peru), Concon (Chile), and Mariscal Estigarribia (Paraguay).
The current Paraguayan President Federico Franco, who came to power in a US-backed plot, is working with the Pentagon and acts as a consistent enemy of the integration process on the continent, which is carried out by the countries of ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Latin America.
Paraguay is considered by the Pentagon an important base from which to destabilize Bolivia. For this reason, an information and propaganda campaign was launched in Paraguay «to expose the export of the Bolivarian revolution» to Paraguay.
Political analysts do not rule out that the «appropriate response» of the puppet regime in Paraguay to the «hostile acts of Morales” may become the implementation of» the Syrian scenario “. Bolivia is considered by U.S. intelligence analysts as a weak point in the ALBA integration bloc.
Separatist tendencies in lowland regions of Bolivia persist. The dissatisfaction of the traditional elites is becoming more radical, because they are unhappy that the Indian majority in the country is ruled by «Marxists» that mimic the experiences of Cuba and Venezuela.
Episodes of corruption which involved government officials have been inflated by the media, compromising the positive things that Evo Morales and his associates have achieved during the presidency.
The conflict in relations between Indians and white populations remain and are used by the U.S. secret services to strengthen the operational positions of the warring camps. Washington always makes the same complaints about Morales: his maintenance of friendly relations with Iran; strengthening of ties, including military, with China; and not doing enough in the fight against the drug cartels.
After four years of absence of the American ambassador from La Paz, a ray of hope finally dawned for the normalization of bilateral relations. Washington announced that it planned to send diplomat James Nealon to Bolivia, who has thirty years of experience working within the State Department.
The last U.S. ambassador was Philip Goldberg, who in September 2008, was declared persona non grata by the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for contacts with the separatists and financing subversive activities of non-governmental organizations. Goldberg conspired almost openly, confident in the fact that the Bolivian leadership did not dare touch him.
But he had to quickly pack his bags. Also because Goldberg, when talking to some western colleagues in the diplomatic corps, allowed racist attacks on Morales.
The Bolivians have learned from that history. Before arriving in Bolivia, Goldberg had a reputation as a specialist in the «overthrow of unfriendly regimes,» which he did not deny. La Paz now intends to conduct a thorough study of Nealon’s diplomatic path in terms of any «contradictions», and to see if there is evidence of his involvement in subversive operations in Latin America.
A decision will be made depending on the results of the investigation.
At the moment, the only material to come up compromising the American was a publication in WikiLeaks: in an analytical document sent to the State Department from Lima, Nealon called Evo Morales an anti-system president and predicted the negative impact of his radical politics on the economic progress of Peru and the Indian population of that country.
Nealon also noted that Morales was «taking steps» to destabilize the U.S. government loyalist Peruvian President Alan Garcia, enlisting the support of the «radical regimes» of Venezuela and Ecuador.
So, in terms of U.S. national interests, Morales interpretation is that Nealon is an extremely dangerous character. What kind of objectivity can be expected from the American in the event of his arrival in La Paz?
By the way, Nealon figures little in WikiLeaks material. He is an experienced diplomat, who has worked in Chile, Uruguay, Peru, and Canada, but was not mentioned in regular correspondence with the State Department. This suggests one conclusion: Nealon worked for another office, the CIA.
The impression is that the Bolivian leadership is not too interested in the presence of the U.S. ambassador in La Paz. The fears of Morales and his team are understandable.
Bolivia is subjected to complex destabilizing attacks on the domestic and external fronts. Inside of the country a «fifth column» is newly consolidating. The government has announced its intention to verify the legality of the operation of 22-NGOs, the sources of their finances and compliance of their real operations with the respective statutes.
The opposition openly shows its relationship with the U.S. Embassy. At the recent congress of the party «Movement without fear” (MSM), Geoffrey Schadrack, the CIA chief in the country and political advisor to the U.S. Embassy, was invited. MSM is positioned as the party of right-wing conservatism and opposes the ruling MAS.
Bolivia has difficulties in its relations with its neighbors – Paraguay, Peru and Chile. Competing claims, situations of conflict, and accusations of «foul play» are ongoing.
Washington consistently and competently drives a wedge of conflict in the region. Special attention is paid to the Indian issue, and the «incitement» of Bolivia in attempts to «revolutionize» the Indian movements in these countries. This creates the conditions for future conflict. The main defendant is known in advance.
Nil NIKANDROV | Strategic Culture Foundation