Amigos de Sucre

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Free Trade… except for Bolivia

Recently U.S. President Bush has been pushing for free trade.  I have heard him talk about it, at least.  And, of course, I’ve been reading about it online.

However, as El Paso Times reports, this does not extend to trade with Bolivia.  To put it bluntly: the U.S. will impose import tariffs on Bolivian goods, because the Bolivians won’t play ball on drug erradication.

Now, of course there is a cultural element here and I could talk about the different views to growing coca, but at the end of the day the U.S.A. is flexing its muscles and using its position on the world market to try and influence the internal politics of another country.  Or have I got this wrong somehow?

Bolivian President Morales doesn’t seem to be too worried about losing one of his main export markets, and is quoted as saying he won’t accept conditions for trading with the U.S.  This is an interesting position for him to take.  If he gave in to Bush’s demands, he may appear weak to he own people.  But by remaining determined, he may cause those very same people to lose they jobs.

Which is the lesser evil?


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