USAID's Cooperation in Bolivia's Development

The accusations made by the Bolivian government, President Evo Morales, and his political party against the US Agency for International Development (USAID) are many. They have stated that it is an "entity that contributes to attempts to discredit the Government; that it is committed to the Bolivian opposition's efforts to bring down the regime; that it funds programs that harm the country and its population" and many other such accusations for which, as in so many other cases, no evidence has been provided.

The accusations against the United States have been endless since 2006; so many are they, that they were a determining factor in the expulsion of the US ambassador to Bolivia. Of course, these same accusations were also a determining factor in the refusal to sign the ATPDEA, which allows the country to export products to the North at grossly reduced rates and provides additional benefits which greatly benefit the economy on this continent. Obviously, it is important to note how inadequate it was to expel the DEA, which did so much good for the country and the world's fight against drug trafficking, and its work is impossible to substitute or even partially replace.

On various occasions it has been mentioned that dispensing with USAID is urgent, alleging what is mentioned above, but in reality it has provided a great deal of cooperation to the people, the government and the country as a whole, through programs it carries out with Bolivian counterparts, such as government ministries and any other institutions, with the objective of supporting the National Development Plan.

In "broad terms", there are programs that don't demonstrate even an intention of damaging or harming the country or its development plans; on the contrary, they are of substantial importance and should be highlighted and appreciated:

In the fight against drugs, an investment of over 16 million dollars in cooperation programs involving the Bolivian Police and Armed Forces, as well as other institutions.

Environmental and development programs amounting to over 14 million dollars help micro and small business improve their agricultural production and nutritional quality.

In addition to these programs, 49 thousand rural families have received assistance to help improve their agricultural production. This program, between 2009 and 2010, helped them sell their products under advantageous conditions: peanuts, broad beans, chuño (dehydrated potatoes), oregano, chili peppers, quinoa, onions, and other products which amount to a total of thousands of tons of food.

Health programs deserve special mention. They receive over 16 million dollars annually, and these funds are used to provide health care and treat illnesses such as tuberculosis, AIDS, and children's vaccination campaigns. Likewise, mobile health units have benefited over 30 thousand people in rural communities since 2009.

Alternative development receives nearly 16 million dollars in support to increase production and crop diversification in regions such as the Yungas of La Paz, with infrastructure, drinking water, education, health, and sanitation services.

In total, USAID cooperation to national development surpasses 66 million dollars. And what about the hundreds of Bolivian citizens who are given secure and well-paid jobs in its programs?

What are the reasons for its possible expulsion? If there are any, the Government must responsibly show evidence of the "possible negative policies" developed, which it claims have harmed the country.

This is a translation. View the original article in Spanish here:
Source: (Editorial) Date: Wed. 6 April 2011

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