Friday, August 17, 2007

Reciprocity: Fair Is Actually Fair

La Paz (DigitalWarriorMedia): Bolivia's Foreign Affairs Minister, David Choquehuanca submitted a resolution that now requires U.S. citizens wishing to visit Bolivia to request entry visas.

Choquehuanca said the resolution will automatically be implemented since it has been approved by the Foreign Ministry.

The policy establishes different categorical designations: Group 1 for visa exemption, Group 2 for visas without consultation, and Group 3 for visas that require consultation.

Eight months ago the exemption list and visa extensions for tourists were amended by a Cabinet Supreme Decree so that U.S. citizens went from Group 1 to Group 3.

“Bolivia, even as a small country - called 'underdeveloped' - has as much dignity as any other country”, said Evo Morales at the time, arguing that it was a legitimate policy based on the international criteria of “reciprocity”. Bolivians must apply for visas to visit the United States.

President Morales added that the decision was also related to, “problems faced by some brother leaders, including politicians, who must have a visa to travel to United States”.

In February 2006, MAS congresswoman Leonilda Zurita, had her U.S. visa revoked on unsupported claims of terrorism ties. And Dr. Waskar T. Ari Chachaki, an Aymaran historian, was hired by the University of Nebraska to teach Latin American history in 2005. Dr. Ari's visa was withheld by the U.S. State Department without explanation for almost two years until July 2007.

“We respect the government of the United States but we also demand respect,” he emphasized recalling that in March 2006 a U.S. citizen organized a dynamite attack against two hotels in the capital La Paz, killing two people.

“We must have a stricter control over foreigners visiting Bolivia”, maintained President Morales.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A political debate & peaceful opposition -- Let's Celebrate!

On August 6th, at an independence day parade in Santa Cruz, which featured indigenous groups from outside the city was predicted to bring conflict. However, journalist José Andrés Sánchez of El Pais de las Maravillas [ES] was relieved and writes:

Muchos de ellos flameaban la bandera y a cada paso exhibían un civismo pocas veces visto. Debo reconocer que me emocioné como pocas veces frente a un televisor. Me sentí no solo maravillado sino orgulloso de que esta demostración de apertura y unidad se de en mi ciudad. Debo reconocer que me agradó mucho ver a Evo Morales y García Linera al lado de Rubén Costas y Percy Fernández. Los cuatro aplaudían y sonreían. Debo reconocer (aunque a algunos no les guste) que me gusta la paz y no la tensión del conflicto.


Many of them waved the flag and at each step demonstrated a civic pride seldom seen. I must admit that not too often have I been as moved in front of a television screen. I felt not only amazed, but proud of this demonstration of unity in my city. I must also admit that I felt grateful to see Evo Morales and Garcia Linera (Bolivian Vice-President) side by side with Ruben Costas (Santa Cruz Prefect) and Percy Fernandez (Santa Cruz mayor). The four applauded and smiled. I admit (even though some do not like to admit it) that I like peace and not conflict and tension.

Editior's note
The Project would like to express it's
appreciation to the Bolivian people as they
& their collective leadership are providing
brothers & sisters around the world
a premiere example of democracy