Evo in the U.S.

As he meets this week some U.S. leaders in the United States President Evo Morales will look for support in his uphill campaign to improve relations with the superpower. In truth, he is trying to get in a house through a side door. After a few weeks ago he showed the country´s exit gate to the top U.S. representative, irritated because the diplomat said coca production has been steadily growing in Bolivia, and after Mr. Morales Chief Cabinet Staff, Mr. Quintana, charged U.S. financial aid of buttressing political opposition, the Bolivian leader wants to display a broad smile in Washington and New York. He is scheduled to meet with Democrat leaders at a symposium on environment. He will have to explain how come coca output has shot up in recent months from a top 20,000 hectares (already 60-plus % above the legally authorized plantation area of up to 12,000 hectares), to 28.000-plus hectares. The mathematics Mr. Morales will have to explain the reason for the increase, and how he comes to view a proposed cut down to 20,000 hectares as a reduction. It is like the case of an unscrupulous merchant selling his merchandise at such an exorbitant price that the previous one (20,000 hectares), already a flagrantly inflated price, should appear like an appealing bargain. His hosts might show good will towards Latin America and towards popular leaders like Mr. Morales. But they are not fools. Mr. Morales will be talking mainly with Democrat leaders, on the belief that they will win presidential elections next year. He rather be cautious and learn from history. Last time Bolivian leaders bet on a political changeover in hopes the new administration would be benevolent, they crashed their noses into a slamming door. Gen. Garcia Meza and his chief aide Col. Luis Arce Gomez thought that a Republican administration would buy their claims that all they were doing favored the cause of anti-communism. Wrong. Rather than anti-communism the U.S. foreign policy was interested in promoting human rights. The U.S. these days (Democrats and Republicans) wants to stem the flow of cocaine in their country. And expanding coca plantations doesn´t help.

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