Tuesday, May 02, 2006


As an uninformed, peripheral observer to the political process and currents that brought Evo Morales to the Presidency in Bolivia, I was cautiously optimistic about his chances about improving Bolivia's lot in the world.  He's a leftist.  He's a populist.  But I didn't think he was nuts.
Until today.
In case you missed it, Bolivia just seized it's oilfields.  In the grand tradition of loose-screw leaders everywhere, Morales has decided to improve Bolivia by convincing every investor on the planet that they should place Bolivia below North Korea on their rank-order-list.  The Post writes,
"The time has come, the awaited day, a historic day in which Bolivia retakes absolute control of our natural resources," Morales said during a televised speech from a gas field near the country's southern border. "The looting by foreign companies has ended."
I'm not saying that there isn't more than a little bit of historical impetus for Morales's choice of words or actions.  What I'm saying is that the past 50 years have proven nothing if not: a poor country cutting off its connections to the outside world (and frequently those are in the form of foreign investors) is the fastest way for it to make it's people poorer, hungrier, and sicker.  If you think I sound like an ultraconservative who just wants to exploit the poor, indigenes people of Bolivia without respect to their culture, just take a quick peak at how seizing foreign assets and expelling people from the country worked for India 40 years ago, or China 50 years ago.  Or go to North Korea with a truckload of food and see whether or not you are greeted with indifference. 
That is where policies of the ultra-left get the people.  Maybe not the most responsible way for a leader to redress past ills.

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