Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A message to President Evo Morales: Please be careful

The News of the Day can be found here.

Last month, the people of Bolivia elected Evo Morales as their President in a landslide. The 54% of Bolivians who voted for him was the highest total any Bolivian candidate had received since democracy returned to the Latin American nation. Naturally, his supporters, and he himself, have confidence and optimism about the vision they have for Bolivia.

President-elect Morales almost immediately set about on a world tour, which as of this hour is still ongoing. Unfortunately, this tour, in particular his reference to Communist China as an "ideological ally" (third item), may be the undoing of Morales' vision, and perhaps even his presidency itself, by the very "ally" he is courting.

Morales won election on the banner of the left-wing Movimiento Al Socialismo, and has made partial nationalization of the country's energy sector a priority. He as also famously promised to become the "nightmare" of the United States. As an American - and moreover, one far more comfortable in the American right - I must acknowledge grave disagreements with Mr. Morales' domestic policies, but Bolivia is his country, not mine, and therefore I do not consider it my place to interject my opinions there (or here on this blog, where I have put and will continue to put my non-international policy opinions in a deep freeze).

In fact, I am more worried for Mr. Morales, and the young democracy he leads, for at one point he even went so far as to tell Communist Chinese leader Hu Jintao: "I hope to count on the help of your government and your party" (emphasis added). Said comments come not from mere anti-Americanism, but from a far deeper naivete about the Chinese Communist Party itself.

In the Bolivia’s President-elect's defense, very few people are aware of the full misery the Chinese Communist Party has inflicted upon its own people. Thus, Mr. Morales' apparent ignorance of it should not be too harshly criticized. That said, Mr. Morales is the elected leader of the people of Bolivia, and as such, it is the people of Bolivia whose concerns he must (and in my view, does) hold close to his heart. Once he becomes fully aware of the Communists' real history, he should therefore ask himself, if this regime has such little concern for its own people, how will they care one whit about mine?

Moreover, Mr. Morales must keep in mind Communist China's relations with the rest of the world. As a leftist, the Bolivian leader-to-be probably assumes the Chinese Communists are concerned for the workers and peasants of all nations, including his own. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Chinese Communist Party’s only concern is maintaining power. At present, that means reaching out to anti-American allies to challenge the U.S., such as al Qaeda and Iran, and getting its hands on whatever resources it can find to feed the voracious demands of its corruption-riddled (Epoch Times) and wasteful (twenty-ninth, thirtieth, last, and seventh items) economy. These reasons and these alone are why the cadres are taking such an interest in Bolivia.

So why should that bother Mr. Morales? So long as Communist China leaves him alone and deals with him fairly, he should not have any problems. However, the Communists, contrary to their endless claims, almost never leave their partner nations alone, and this is why Mr. Morales should fear them. For a future with Communist China points Morales' Bolivia in two directions - one route traveled by Zimbabwe, the other by Pakistan. Democracy does not survive either path.

In Zimbabwe, a relatively prosperous nation has fallen into famine due to economic mismanagement and political intimidation. Strongman Robert Mugabe lost the support of his own people long ago, but instead of stepping down, he has chosen to keep his country locked in his tyrannical grip to the bitter end, with Communist China supporting him all the way, and exploiting the situation to its advantage at every opportunity. The only loser is the Zimbabwean people.

In Pakistan, meanwhile, a democratic government led by Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif not only professed its fealty to Communist China, but made its country a nuclear power in the 1990s, thanks in large part to Communist help (third item). Less than two years later, when the Pakistani military - commanded by Pervez Musharraf - arrested Sharif and took control in a coup, Communist China didn’t bat an eyelash. Stability was the order of the day. In fact, General Musharraf, unable to rely on support from his own people to justify his rule, became more pliable to the Communists than the elected Sharif was.

In time, Mr. Morales will face the pressure to turn his political opponents into enemies of the state, and turn himself from Bolivia’s most popular elected leader into its last elected leader. Will the Chinese Communist Party – the authors of Shanwei, Taishi, Hanyuan, and Tiananmen - urge Morales to stick to democratic values and methods? Or will they instead recommend instilling order, and promise whatever help Morales needs to keep power regardless of his people’s wishes? Furthermore, if Morales does choose the struggles of a democrat - building political coalitions, arguing his case to his people, etc. - will the Communists stand by him? Or will they start to seek out other Bolivians to provide the "stability" they crave?

To ask these questions is to answer them. This is why I view Mr. Morales' comments not with anger or outrage, but genuine concern for himself and his country. One can indeed be both a democrat and a leftist; "Long Hair" Leung proves that every day in Hong Kong (China Support Network). However, one cannot be a democrat and an "ally" of the Chinese Communist Party. Evo Morales must choose, and choose quickly, or the Communists will make the choice for him.

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