Latin Pulse: Bolivia and the Current Crises

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(Latin Pulse: 7, October, 2008)
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As Americans and the world focus on the looming economic catastrophe, Bolivia is struggling to avert its own internal schism – one that could throw Latin America into a tailspin.
One out of three Bolivians want their department (province) to secede from the country. Why would anybody want to do this in one of the continent’s poorest countries? Who is behind this movement? And why were the U.S. ambassadors to Bolivia and Venezuela sent packing?
Mientras Estados Unidos y el mundo se preocupan de una posible catástrofe económica, Bolivia esta tratando de evitar su propia catástrofe, la cual podría consumir a todo el continente Latinoamericano.
Uno de tres bolivianos quieren separarse de Bolivia y crear su propio país. ¿Por qué alguien querría hacer esto en el país más pobre de Sud América?
¿Quién está detrás de este movimiento? ¿Y por qué se ha expulsado a los embajadores de Estados Unidos en Bolivia y en Venezuela?
John M. Walsh, Senior Associate for the Andes and Drug Policy, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
Walsh is senior associate for the division of WOLA related to strengthening the rule of law in the Andes to promote respect for human rights and to bolster democratic institutions in the region. From 1995-2003, Mr. Walsh served as director of research at Drug Strategies, a policy research group that builds support for more pragmatic and effective approaches to U.S. drug problems. He also worked from 1993-1995 on the “Rethinking Bretton Woods Project” at the Center of Concern – an effort to forge consensus on ideas for reform of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and international trade arrangements. Mr. Walsh holds a master’s degree in public policy from Johns Hopkins University.
Luis Manuel Botello, Senior Program Director
Mr. Botello is responsible for the identification, implementation, and development of all ICFJ projects for Latin America and the Caribbean. He also conducts a variety of training programs and conferences. Botello previously served as morning newscast producer, host, and television reporter for Televisora Nacional in Panama, where he covered assignments in Colombia, the United States, and Europe. He is a member of the board of directors of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin and the Latin American Journalism Center (CELAP) in Panama City. He received a Fulbright Scholarship in 1988 and a fellowship to Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication in 1997. He holds a B.A. in journalism and a master’s in mass communications from Louisiana State University. He is a native Spanish-speaker, fluent in English, and proficient in Portuguese and is also available for interviews.
Julio Moreno, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of History, University of San Francisco
Professor Moreno is the co-director of the Center for Latino Studies in the Americas (CELASA) at the University of San Francisco. He is a professor in the Department of History who specializes in modern Mexican history as well as the social and cultural history of Latin America. Currently, he is on leave to work on a new book on Colombia’s history and politics.