Last year, November, the US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the Monroe Doctrine is no longer applicable to modern times and is officially dead.
The Monroe Doctrine is a nearly 200-year-old policy which was formulated and practiced by President James Monroe that governed America’s relations with Latin America and said that any efforts by the European countries to colonize land in North or South America would be viewed as an aggressive act and would require U.S. intervention.
In his speech at the Organization of American States headquarters, Kerry confirmed that this end is about “all of our countries viewing one another as equals, sharing responsibilities, cooperating on security issues and adhering not to doctrine but to the decisions that we make as partners to advance the values and the interests that we share.” In the wake of this announcement, many Latin American leaders have responded and asked their countries to “step up to the plate.”
Live, Livia, Bolivia
Bolivia may become a new addition to it. Its unique and vivid president, bold brave and visionary could be the one that takes this country to the world nuclear energy community within the next couple of decades. President Evo Morales announced that Bolivia would begin a multi billion-dollar project aimed at building the nation’s first nuclear power plant as well as research facilities.
Bolivian President Morales announced the plans for the nuclear energy plans at the signing of a contract to build a new hydroelectric power plant. Morales pledged an investment of $2 billion for the planned nuclear energy project and it would fund it through 2025. “We can never feel like a small country again now that we have liberated ourselves economically. With this type of investment toward atomic energy we are going to guarantee that,” Morales said during the signing ceremony. El Presidente hopes Bolivia will become a regional energy hub. “After the elections, the issue of energy is priority of the state so that Bolivia can become a strategic center for energy in South America and for peace purposes,” he continued.
The Bolivian state agency reports the plant will be built in the La Paz province. As part of the program, a PET/CT cylotron facility, a type of particle accelerator, will be built along with a nuclear power plant, and a nuclear research reactor. A week ago the Bolivia’ state-owned mining company, the Corporacion Minera de Bolivia, discovered uranium deposits in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, though how large these deposits are is unknown.
Following the signing ceremony, Minister of Development Planning Viviana Caro said: “We have internal resources; friendly countries have also provided funding. As in other major projects, we have created a financing structure according to the characteristics of each project,” she said. She added that Bolivia has discussed cooperation with France as well as Argentina, who will help Bolivia’s nuclear energy development. Bolivia has also been in talks with Iran, and Russia has offered its help as well.
No military trainings for the Monroe
On the related news, President Evo Morales announced that Bolivia will gradually withdraw its military from training programs at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly known as the School for the Americas (SOA). Bolivia is the fifth country after Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela to announce a withdrawal from the Fort Benning school, citing its history of collaborating with repressive regimes and human rights abuses.
Morales, trade unionist and advocate of indigenous rights, criticized the institution for training Latin American militaries to identify social movement leaders as “enemies of the state.” “We will gradually withdraw until there are no Bolivian officers attending the School of the Americas” said Morales. Questioning the U.S. government foreign policy he noted that “they are teaching high ranking officers to confront their own people, to identify social movements as their enemies.”
The SOA/WHINSEC is a U.S. tax-payer funded military training facility for Latin American security personnel located at Ft. Benning, Georgia. The institution was catapulted into the headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution.
The SOA/WHINSEC has played a significant role in Bolivia’s recent political history, Hugo Banzer Suarez, who ruled Bolivia from 1971-1978 under a brutal military dictatorship attended the school in 1956 and was later inducted into the school’s “hall of fame” in 1988. In October of 2006, two former graduates of the SOA/WHINSEC, Generals Juan Veliz Herrera and Gonzalo Rocabado Mercado were arrested on charges of torture, murder, and violation of the constitution for their responsibility in the death of 67 civilians in El Alto Bolivia during the “Gas Wars” of September-October 2003.
In March 2006 a School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) delegation led by Lisa Sullivan-Rodriguez, Salvadoran torture survivor Carlos Mauricio, and SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois met with President Evo Morales to request that Bolivia cease to send troops for training at the SOA/WHINSEC.
On June 21, 2007 the McGovern/Lewis amendment to the FY 2008 Foreign Appropriations bill that would have prohibited funding for the SOA/WHINSEC lost by a margin of only six votes. 203 members of Congress voted in favour of the amendment to cut the funding for the school in part due to its connection to human rights abuses throughout Latin America.
First published by the PanamaNews