Focus on Bolivia

Today the Latin American country will meet the head of Gazprom and the Secretary General of the UNASUR. Even though both meetings are not connected, these visits are important for the country, as well as for the region’s geopolitics.

UNASUR and the Creation of the Transocean Railway

The Secretary General of the UNASUR Ernesto Samper arrived to Bolivia to discuss the project of the railway that will connect the seashores of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. Brazil, Bolivia and Peru will take part in the meeting. This integration will allow the improvement not only of the turnover between the countries but also will favor the further integration of Latin America. The investment issue was discussed at the EU-CELAC Business Summit in 2015. Moreover, Germany is actively cooperating with Brazil on the railway structure issue.

Bolivia as an Important Natural Gas Producer

The head of Gazprom Alexey Miller is scheduled to arrive in the country to discuss gas cooperation between Russia and Bolivia. The country has significant reserves of natural gas, which are also exported to neighboring countries. Russia can offer relevant technology for the extraction, storage and transportation of natural gas. In addition, the strengthening of cooperation may affect other areas, including the production of mineral resources.

Moment of Urgency

Bolivia is on the eve of a referendum that will determine whether Evo Morales will run for a third term as President. It will take place on February 21st. Therefore, the current visits can be attributed to the success of Morales’ policy. The current polls show strong support for the current Bolivian president. Morales’ nationalized strategic industries significantly reduced external influences, primarily from the US and multinational companies, and expanded the rights of the native population of Bolivia.

US’ Role in Regional Destabilization

Bolivia is part of the ALBA bloc of Latin American countries that are socialist orientated: Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador. Previously, the state was actually in the control of Washington, and now the USA tries to influence the opposition, including the organization of riots. So, on the eve, Bolivian television provided evidence that a senator from the opposition, Oscar Ortiz, received funding from the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In addition, videos demonstrated, like in the past, the American vice consul in Bolivia Ari Avidar was engaged in intelligence activities that are contrary to the Vienna Convention’s provisions on governing diplomatic work. The US Embassy in Bolivia has limited staff. The US ambassador was expelled from the country for anti-state activities.