ITWASSOOTED: "Bolivia's Evo Morales Shifts the Hemispheric Balance of Power"

Thursday, December 29, 2005

"Bolivia's Evo Morales Shifts the Hemispheric Balance of Power"

The Power and Interest News Report

In the first of the wave of year-long presidential elections in Latin America to mark a significant shift in the Western Hemispheric balance of power between the United States and Brazil, Bolivians voted into power Evo Morales who is pledged to end Bolivia's dependence on the United States and to join the forces of regional autonomy and integration.
Recent elections in Honduras and Chile confirmed the extant balance of power. Honduras is impoverished, lacks strategic resources and is dependent on aid from Washington; voters there had a choice between two traditional parties that were both committed to pro-U.S. policies. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Elections in Honduras"]
With a successful trading relationship with the United States based on a neoliberal economic paradigm, yet eager to obtain energy supplies in the region, Chile maintained its posture of straddling the North-South gulf by giving a large plurality to Socialist Michelle Bachelet who promised a dual-track policy of continuing the country's good relations with Washington -- anchored in a bilateral trade agreement -- and pursuing regional integration through its associate membership in the Brazil-dominated Mercosur trading bloc. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Chile"]
In contrast to the Honduran and Chilean elections, Bolivia's presented a stark and genuine choice between the two contending power centers. The two leading candidates -- Morales and Jorge Quiroga -- stood at the opposite ends of the North-South divide, with Morales committed to taking Bolivia into Brazil's camp and Quiroga affirming a pro-U.S. position. Morales' victory registered a severe setback for Washington in the region.
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