Sunday, December 18, 2005

Remember the War on Drugs?



Well, Evo Morales sure does and, as the man likely to be Bolivia’s next President, he’s going to make sure Washington remembers it as well—for the reasons it least wants to. Morales is the Socialist candidate for Bolivia’s presidency and he promises to reverse the any-coca growing campaign. Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of coca. And in a move that sure to enamor him with the current Administration, Morales has promised to make foreign oil and gas companies to pay a fairer share to the Bolivian people. Here are a few evocative (pardon the pun) paragraphs from CNN:

Bolivia's Socialist presidential candidate Evo Morales, who has promised to become Washington's "nightmare," held an unexpectedly strong lead over his conservative rival in Sunday's election, according to two independent exit polls.

The wide margin means Morales, a coca farmer who has said he will end a U.S.-backed anti-drug campaign aimed at eradicating the crop used to make cocaine, will likely be declared president in January.

"If (the U.S.) wants relations, welcome," Morales said after voting, holding a news conference where piles of coca leaves were spread atop a Bolivian flag. "But no to a relationship of submission."

Among the countries where he does have good relations are, unsurprisingly, Cuba, Venezuela, and Brazil. Between Venezuela’s oil money, Bolivia’s drug money and Cuba’s...well, whatever it is Cuba still has, this could prove to be a serious head-ache for Washington. In any case it should be a wake up call that there are other pressing foreign policy issues besides Iraq and that while hegemony has its privileges, it also has its costs.

Stay tuned…