The Destabilization of Bolivia and the "Kosovo Option"

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, September 21, 2008
– 2008-09-20

The secession of Bolivia’s Eastern provinces is part of a US sponsored covert operation, coordinated out of the US State Department, in liaison with US intelligence.

The death squads armed with automatic weapons responsible for killing supporters of Evo Morales in El Porvenir are supported covertly by the US. According to one report, “USAID has an “Office of Transition Initiatives” operating in Bolivia, funneling millions of dollars of training and support to right-wing opposition regional governments and movements.”(The Center for Economic and Policy Research, September 2008). The US also provides support to various opposition groups through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The expelled US Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg worked under the helm of Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, who directly oversees the various “activities” of US embassies around the World. In this regard Negroponte plays a far more important role, acting behind the scenes, than Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. He is also known as one of the main architects of regime change and covert support to paramilitary death squads both in Central America and Iraq.

Philip S. Goldberg’s mandate as ambassador to Bolivia was to trigger the fracture of Bolivia as a country. Prior to his appointment as ambassador in early 2007, he served as US Chief of Mission in Pristina, Kosovo (2004-2006) and was in permanent liaison with the leaders of the KLA paramilitary, who had integrated civilian politics, following the NATO occupation of Kosovo in 1999.

Supported by the CIA, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose leaders now head the Kosovar government, was known for its extensive links to organized crime and the trade in narcotics. In Kosovo, Goldberg was involved in setting the stage for the subsequent secession of Kosovo from Serbia, leading to the installation of an “independent” Kosovar government.

In the course of the 1990s, Goldberg had played an active role in the break up of Yugoslavia. From 1994-1996 he was responsible for the Bosnia Desk at the State Department. He worked closely with Washington’s Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and played a central role as Chief of Staff of the US negotiating team at Dayton, leading up to the signing of the Dayton Accords in 1995. These accords were conducive to the carving up of Bosnia-Herzegovina. More generally they triggered the destruction and destabilization of Yugoslavia as country. In 1996, Goldberg worked directly as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott (1994-2000), who together with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, played a key role in launching the war on Yugoslavia in 1999.

The Central Role of John Negroponte

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte plays a central role in the conduct of covert operations. He served as US ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. As Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, he played a key role in supporting and supervising the Nicaraguan Contra mercenaries who were based in Honduras. The cross border Contra attacks into Nicaragua claimed some 50 000 civilian lives. During the same period, Negroponte was instrumental in setting up the Honduran military death squads, “operating with Washington support’s, [they] assassinated hundreds of opponents of the US-backed regime.” (See Bill Venn, Bush Nominee linked to Latin American Terrorism, Global Research, November 2001)

“Under the rule of General Gustavo Alvarez Martnez, Honduras’s military government was both a close ally of the Reagan administration and was “disappearing” dozens of political opponents in classic death squad fashion.

(See Peter Roff and James Chapin, Face-off: Bush’s Foreign Policy Warriors , Global Research, July 2001)

This did not prevent his nomination to the position of US Permanent Representative to the UN under the Clinton administration.

The Salvador Option

Negroponte became Ambassador to Iraq in 2004, where he set up a “security framework” for the US occupation, largely modeled on the Central American death squads. This project was referred to by several writers as the “Salvador Option”.

While in Baghdad, Negroponte hired as his Counselor on security issues, a former head of special operations in El Salvador. The two men were close colleagues going back to the 1980s in Central America. While Negroponte was busy setting up the death squads in Honduras, Colonel Steele had been in charge of the US Military Advisory Group in El Salvador, (1984-86) “where he was responsible for developing special operating forces at brigade level during the height of the conflict.”:

“These forces, composed of the most brutal soldiers available, replicated the kind of small-unit operations with which Steele was familiar from his service in Vietnam. Rather than focusing on seizing terrain, their role was to attack ‘insurgent’ leadership, their supporters, sources of supply and base camps.” (Max Fuller, For Iraq, “The Salvador Option” Becomes Reality, Global Research, June 2005)

In Iraq, Steele was “assigned to work with a new elite Iraqi counter-insurgency unit known as the Special Police Commandos”. In this context, Negroponte’s objective was to encourage ethnic divisions and factional strife, by triggering covert terrorist attacks directed against the Iraqi civilian population.

Negroponte was appointed as the Head of the Directorate of National Intelligence in 2005, and subsequently in 2007 came to occupy the Number Two position in the State Department.

The Kosovo Option: Haiti

This is not the first time that the “Kosovo model” of supporting terrorist paramilitaries has been applied in Latin America.

In February 2003, Washington announced the appointment of James Foley as Ambassador to Haiti. Ambassadors Goldberg and Foley are part of the same “diplomatic stable”. Foley had been a State Department spokesman under the Clinton administration during the war on Kosovo. He was involved at an earlier period in channeling support to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Amply documented, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was financed by drug money and supported by the CIA. ( See Michel Chossudovsky, Kosovo Freedom Fighters Financed by Organized Crime, Covert Action Quarterly, 1999 )

At the time of the Kosovo war, the then ambassador to Haiti James Foley had been in charge of State Department briefings, working closely with his NATO counterpart in Brussels, Jamie Shea. Barely two months before the onslaught of the NATO led war on 24 March 1999, James Foley, had called for the “transformation” of the KLA into a respectable political organization:

“We want to develop a good relationship with them [the KLA] as they transform themselves into a politically-oriented organization,’ ..`[W]e believe that we have a lot of advice and a lot of help that we can provide to them if they become precisely the kind of political actor we would like to see them become… “If we can help them and they want us to help them in that effort of transformation, I think it’s nothing that anybody can argue with..’ (quoted in the New York Times, 2 February 1999)

In other words, Washington’s design was “regime change”: topple the Lavalas administration and install a compliant US puppet regime, integrated by the “Democratic Platform” and the self-proclaimed Front pour la libération et la reconstruction nationale (FLRN), whose leaders are former FRAPH and Tonton Macoute terrorists. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Haiti, Global Research, February 2004)

Following the 2004 coup d’Etat which led to the downfall of the Aristide government, KLA advisers were brought into Haiti by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to assist in the country’s reconstruction. (See Anthony Fenton, Kosovo Liberation Army helps establish “Protectorate” in Haiti, Global Research, November 2004)

Specifically, the KLA consultants were to assist in restructuring the Haitian police force, bringing into its ranks, former members of FRAPH and the Tonton Macout.

[In support of] the “Office of Transition Initiatives,” (OTI) … USAID is paying three consultants to help consult for the integration of the former brutal military into the current Haitian police force. And who are those three consultants? Those three consultants are members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.” (Flashpoints interview, November 19, 2004, )

USAID’s “Office of Transition Initiatives” (OTI)

The Salvador/ Kosovo option is part of a US strategy to fracture and destabilize countries. The USAID sponsored OTI in Bolivia performs much the same function as a similar OTI in Haiti.

It is also worth noting that there was an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Venezuela, where a plot, according to reports, was recently uncovered to allegedly assassinate President Hugo Chavez. The role of the OTI office in Venezuela is discussed in Eva Golinger’s recent book “Bush vs. Chavez.”

The stated purpose of US covert operations is to provide support as well as as training to “Liberation Armies” ultimately with a view to destabilizing sovereign governments. In Kosovo, the training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1990s had been entrusted to a private mercenary company, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), on contract to the Pentagon.

Pakistan and the “Kosovo Option”

It is worth noting that in Pakistan, recent developments point towards direct forms of US military intervention, in violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a “Yugoslav-like fate” for Pakistan “in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Balochistan.” (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005).

According to a 2006 report of Pakistan’s Senate Committee on Defence, British intelligence was involved in supporting the Balochistan separatist movement. (Press Trust of India, 9 August 2006). The Bolochistan Liberation Army (BLA) bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo’s KLA, financed by the drug trade and supported by the CIA.

Washington favors the creation of a “Greater Balochistan” [similar to a Greater Albania] which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of Afghanistan, thereby leading to a process of political fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Pakistan, December 30, 2007)

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

2 Responses to “The Destabilization of Bolivia and the "Kosovo Option"”

  1. Michael Says:

    Bolivia: Indigenous government defies US-backed fascists By Federico Fuentes Sep 21, 2008, 18:34 Relative calm has returned to Bolivia following a three-week offensive of violence and terrorism launched by the US-backed right-wing opposition denounced by Bolivian President Evo Morales as a "civil coup". This campaign of terror, centred on the four resource-rich eastern departments (Santa Cruz, Pando, Beni and Tarija) known as the media luna (half moon), was initiated following a national referendum in which Morales's presidency was endorsed by 67.4% of the vote — greater than the almost 54% that voted for him in 2005 and with a higher voter turnout. The violence was an attempt to impose by force what was lost at the ballot box. Violently assaulting civilians, police officer and soldiers, occupying and burning public buildings, blowing up gas pipelines, and blockading roads were among the tactics of the pro-neoliberal forces of the opposition, which utlitised fascist shock troops of racist armed youth gangs, such as the Santa Cruz Youth Union (UJC). The worst violence occurred on September 11, with the massacre in Pando of unarmed indigenous campesinos — including children and pregnant women — who were marching against the racist violence. It was carried out by paramilitaries created and controlled by Pando prefect Leopoldo Fernandez, since arrested over the atrocity. At least 30 people were slaughtered, with more than 100 still missing. However, the anger an mobilisations of the social movements, the Morales government's decision to introduce martial law in Pando and restore order, together with the historic convening of a meeting of all South American presidents under the auspices of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) on September 15 to pass a unanimous motion in defence of Bolivia's legitimate government, dealt the opposition a significant blow, putting them on the back foot. With the opposition returning to the negotiation table, the government and the social movements that support it have clearly come out stronger in this latest round of the ongoing battle over Bolivia's future. The right-wing opposition, based on the half moon prefects and "civic committees" as well as the opposition Chuquisaca prefect, has been forced to temporarily retreat. The roadblocks and building occupations by the fascists have ended, and the military has managed to take control of Pando — the site of the worst violence. The government also expelled US ambassador Philip Goldberg for his collaboration with the opposition in its attempts to bring down Morales. Behind the destabilisation campaign stand the agribusiness elites and gas transnationals, organised through the US embassy, who seek to destroy the Morales government's self-declared "democratic and cultural revolution". Indigenous struggle Morales is Bolivia's first indigenous president, despite indigenous people — who have suffered systematic discrimination and poverty — making up a large majority of the population. Morales was elected on the back of growing anti-neoliberal movements and uprisings that brought down his two predecessors, in which indigenous people have played a leading role. His government has sought to reverse the neoliberal polices that have devastated the nation over the last two decades, as well as 500 years of colonialism and genocide against indigenous peoples — via policies of nationalising strategic industry, land reform to benefit indigenous campesinos and the drafting of a new constitution by an elected constituent assembly to enshrine the rights of the indigenous majority. These policies have clashed with the interests of US and European corporations and the big landowners that are powerful in the east. With the referendum showing growing support for Morales in the opposition's half moon heartland, the right wing struck out to prevent the government taking advantage of this to further erode its base. Opposition fears were confirmed by the determination of the government to use its electoral mandate to push ahead for a referendum in December on the draft constitution. The new constitution is at the heart of the process of change, aiming to institutionalise state control of natural resources and land reform, as well as establish a "plurinational" state to overcome the exclusion of indigenous peoples. With a growing rebellion against US domination across Latin America, US imperialism has been furiously organising to get rid of Morales. Since his election, the US government-funded body USAID has poured more than US$120 million into opposition groups, while Goldberg continually held meetings with opposition leaders. Two days after Goldberg's expulsion, Bolivia was added to the US "black list" for countries that supposedly refuse to collaborate in the "war on drugs". Oppressed take the offensive The government and social movements have gone on the offensive. Having organised massive mobilisations nationally in response to the violence, and fighting off the fascist gangs in the half moon, the social movements have remained firm in their determination to advance the process of change. On September 17, the National Coalition for Change (CONALCAM), which includes the most important indigenous, campesino and urban movements, signed a pact with the Bolivian Workers Central (COB) to "defend the unity of the homeland that is being threatened by a civil coup lead by terrorists and fascists". Despite its often tense relationship with the government, the COB signed the agreement in the presence of Morales and other government leaders, pledging to "support and back this process of revolutionary change … led by our brother, President Evo Morales, to construct a new homeland with the approval of a new Political Constitution of the State". The organisations also signalled their intention to take over unproductive large landholdings and food production factories that have refused to ensure food for the population. Explaining that his "grand desire" was to see the COB at "the forefront of this fight", Morales insisted that "this struggle against the oligarchic groups, against the large landowners, against people who see themselves as pro-Yankee, can only be won by the social movements". He explained that it is impossible to negotiate a return to the past, as the elite "want to see the return of neoliberalism and we want to definitively bury the neoliberal model". The day before, social organisations and the local branch of Morales's Movement Towards Socialism party (MAS) in the rebellious working-class neighbourhood of Plan 3000 in Santa Cruz's capital called for the immediate declaration of martial law in Santa Cruz, Beni, Tarija, and Chuquisaca "because the Bolivian people and international public opinion demand justice". Over September 19-21, various social movements, including the COB, CONALCAM and the United Union Confederation of Peasant Workers of Bolivia, held national gatherings to discuss further actions. Meanwhile, the roadblocks by indigenous campesinos around Santa Curz continue, with social movements stating that there can not be any truce while the right continues to kill indigenous people. More than 8000 coca growers from the central Chapare region continue to blockade the main highway linking Santa Cruz to La Paz in the west, refusing to leave until a referendum is called on the constitution. The Union Confederation of Colonisers of Bolivia (organisation of land occupiers)_stated that close to 5000 peasants from Ichilo had began a march on Santa Cruz on September 17 to demand the resignation of the Santa Cruz prefect Ruben Costas and the return of the public buildings occupied by the fascists. The same day, it was announced that 12,000 miners were preparing to march on Santa Cruz as well. Negotiations This occurred as talks began between the government and the opposition bloc grouped together in the National Democratic Coalition (CONALDE). On September 18, members of the national executive sat down with the opposition prefects (minus Fernandez) to discuss three central issues: the redistribution of the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons between the departments and the government's social programs, the new constitution and the regional autonomy statutes proposed by the opposition, and an agreement to fill the current vacancies in the constitutional tribunal and Supreme Court. Also present were the Federation of Municipal Associations president, the president of the opposition-controlled Senate and the MAS president of the chamber of deputies. Present as facilitators were representatives of the Catholic Church, the Organisation of American States and Unasur. However, the vice-president of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee (led by representatives of the large landowning oligarchy) Roberto Gutierrez argued that conditions for dialogue did not exist "if the blockade [of Santa Cruz] was maintained". Government spokesperson, Ivan Canelas, clarified that, "The decisions that the social movements make are decisions independent of the government and we value them as reactions in defence of democracy". CONALCAM president Fidel Surco stated that the roadblocks would continue as long as the occupation of public buildings did, and that the social movements would organise a permanent vigil outside the negotiations between the government and opposition to ensure that dialogue advanced. On September 17, Morales stated: "If anyone, despite the support we have … wants to remove me from the palace, while I am democratically elected as president, they will have to remove me dead." "The struggle to reach government has not been given to us for free … it is the result of all our efforts, and this struggle cannot just be thrown away", he added. "We have to finish this democratic and cultural revolution … they are conspiring with a fascist, racist coup. "They may be able to overthrow the Indian, but they will not be able to overthrow the Bolivian people, they will not be able to overthrow the revolutionary people. "No matter what it costs we have to defend this process of change." [Sign on to and circulate an online statement in support of Bolivian democracy at>. Visit for ongoing news.]

  2. uprooted Palestinian Says:

    Threat to Democracy in Latin Americaby Harold Pinter and John Pilger and Tony Benn Research, September 21, 2008"On September 10 President Evo Morales of Bolivia declared the US ambassador persona non grata. On September 11 (the 35th anniversary of the military overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile) the president of Venezuela asked the US ambassador there to leave the country. President Hugo Chávez believed he was facing the possibility of an imminent coup d'etat in which he said the US administration were involved. President Morales believed that his government was facing serious destabilisation which was also being fomented by the US. A third country, Paraguay, announced 10 days previously that it had detected a conspiracy involving military officers and opposition politicians.Latin America now faces its most serious crisis since the reintroduction of democracy at the end of the 20th century. The plot against democracy in Venezuela centred on a conspiracy, revealed in telephone conversations between senior military officers broadcast on national television, to assassinate the democratically elected head of state. In Bolivia, the separatist prefects of the five eastern and southern departments have begun a campaign of violence and economic sabotage designed to destabilise the democratic regime.These events show unequivocally who defends democracy and who threatens it today. We are appalled by the failure of much of the international media to provide accurate and proportionate coverage of these events. All democrats throughout should rally to defend democracy in Latin America……"

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