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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Raúl Zibechi, "UNASUR puts out its first fire in Bolivia: Brazil makes the difference," Americas Policy Program Report, December 9, 2008.

[Proponents of American hegemony ask, "Who would you rather have as King of the Hill?" Brazil here demonstrates the merit of a multipolar international order not dominated by a single power. (Answer to the question at hand: None of the above.) Here a regional power furthers its own interests at the same time that it enables a smaller state to resist being controlled by American strategic interests. Not perfect, but better than the single superpower because it does not require the entry into the conflict of irrelevant and intrusive interests. Geography still matters. Bolivia has more in common with Canada than most of us care to admit. -jlt]

  "The problem is that the country is experiencing a series of reforms within its democratic framework, but both the opposition and the government act as though they were facing a revolution."

Brazil's active intervention to de-escalate the Bolivian conflict went beyond rhetoric and statements, showcasing its diplomatic style and the goals of a great power that managed, in a single move, to curb imperialistic ambitions "in its own backyard" and isolate attempts to heighten tension in the region.

The Moneda Declaration,1 unanimously approved by all 12 members of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) can be considered a triumph for Itamaraty diplomacy.2 The resolution's nine points combine solid, unrestricted backing of Evo Morales' government with strong warnings for the opposition. These caveats are embodied in a commission-forming initiative to "conduct an impartial investigation" into the Pando massacre, thus ensuring that it does not go unpunished.

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