September 8, 2007

Ja, ja!!!

As the old adage goes, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Bolivian Interior Minister Juan Ramon Quintana is a former Bolivian Army officer. I believe he retired as a Major. After retirement he went into the defense and national security analysis bidness. In fact, he wrote an excellent book about the Bolivian Army's personnel system called Soldados y ciudadanos, about 10 years ago, or so. He also has extensive experience in foreign policy (used to be an advisor to the Foreign Affairs committee in the Casa de Deputados.

When Evo became prez, Quintana formed part of his cabinet and assumed his current position last year. It turned out that he is one of the more influential (so as not to say, "radical") members of Evo's cabinet. In particular, his vehement anti-American stand surprised me.

Two weeks ago, Minister Quintana flat out lied about USAID, claiming the aid organization sought to buttress opposition to Evo's government (ironically, just one day after the nation was paralyzed by significant work stoppages in 2/3 of the country, coincidence?). Quintana even spotlighted some prominent Bolivian social scientists who were working on projects funded by USAID. Well, it turns out that Minister Quintana has in the past benefited from US security assistance funding. La Razon has the write up. Juan, you hypocritical bastard.

Now, having said all that, there is room for discussion regarding what the purpose of US foreign assistance funds are for. As this issue with Quintana highlights, there is also ample room to discuss the potential unintended consequences of the foreign assistance reforms currently being implemented in the Department of State (the aptly-named, "F process").

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