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Saturday, December 17, 2005

 

Evo Morales - giving Columbia a breather

The upcoming (tomorrow) election of Evo Morales to the presidency of Bolivia will be a disaster for that country. An economic illiterate, warmonger (with Chile), and friend of Hugo Chavez. But there might be a silver lining here. One of the Evo's more 'scary' ideas is to legalize coca growing. The effect of this legalization might be helpful for Columbia, which is having a hellish time with the collision of narcotics and terrorism known as FARC. If Evo does as he says then Bolivia will explode with coca farms - with normal legal protections (i.e. no herbicides sprayed by DEA planes). This will make it very hard for Columbia to compete in the coca and cocaine business and will cut FARC's income considerably. Of course oil tick Chavez will step in with money from Venezuela's oil sales. (And said money can't be used for other mischief). But the effect will still be felt as the coca farmers in Columbia lose the need for the 'services' that FARC provides and return to subsistence farming. FARC loses influence and prestige as well as money. So, Bolivia's (further) decline might buy some breathing space for Columbia. After the misery they've gone through the past few decades they have high motivation to start healing their country. Maybe they can make a good start.

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