Freedom On The March?
Democracy is getting a foothold in Iraq, Lebanon, Ukraine and Georgia; and this is great. But democracy is also flourishing in several South American countries, and this is being greeted by a stony silence (even hostility) from the Bush administration.
The most prominent example is Bolivia. It’s been (technically) a democracy since 1982, but until recently it was under such a tight rein by multinational corporations and the World Bank that it was little more than a colony. Johann Hari of The Independent has an excellent, much more detailed article on this. It’s kind of longwinded, but well worth reading.
Under orders from the World Bank, the Bolivian government allowed Bechtel (a huge multinational) to step in and privatize the nation’s water supply. In a country where thousands of people die each year because of insufficient water supplies, Bechtel doubled the price of water.
In 2000 the Bolivian people rose up and forced their government to take back their water supply from Bechtel. (The multi-billion dollar Bechtel Corporation sued the Bolivian government, and there wasn’t a peep out of those who are usually spouting off about tort reform and too-many-lawsuits.)
More recently, the nation’s coca farmers — who had been cooperating with the U.S. War on Drugs by not growing coca leaves — have decided that their meager livelihoods are more important than coddling the families of rich drug addicts 4,000 miles away.
Freedom is on the march, George. Aren’t you happy? Isn’t this great?!?