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What the U.S. can do about Bolivia
How much leverage does Washington have over unfriendly Latin American leaders?

“Bolivia is teetering on the brink of conflict,” said Seth Kaplan in The Christian Science Monitor. And, in what may be a sign of America’s “waning power,” all we can do is support efforts by other South American countries to broker a peaceful deal between the pro-globalization capitalists and the indigenous groups—stirred up by President Evo Morales—who are demanding a bigger stake in the country’s booming economy.

We still have plenty of leverage over Morales and the rest of Latin America, said The Washington Post in an editorial. Thirty thousand Bolivian jobs depend on trade deals with the U.S. “That power to punish already impoverished countries should not be employed lightly,” but there comes a time when Washington has to stop subsidizing regimes that “dismantle democratic institutions and attack U.S. interests.”

The U.S. is trying to play hardball with Morales, said the International Herald-Tribune in an editorial. But a proposal to “suspend Bolivia’s trade benefits altogether” would merely undermine our anti-drug strategy by discouraging Bolivia’s already half-hearted cooperation, and it would “play right into Morales’ hands” by boosting his efforts to paint the U.S. as the country’s enemy, and Iran and Venezuela as its friends.

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