Prensa Latina, Havana
US Blackmails Bolivia for Rejecting FTA
11 February 2005
La Paz, Feb 11 (Prensa Latina) Bolivian parliamentary leader Santos Ramirez regarded US pressure against an oil project and for reasserting of an immunity agreement for US military troops as blackmail.
Ramirez, president of the Bolivian Deputy Chamber’s Economic Commission, mentioned governmental sources that stated those were the conditions for Bolivia to enter to negotiation for a Free Trade Treaty (FTT) between Washington and the Andean countries.
Local newspaper La Razon said a high member of the government confirmed that US gave 3 conditions to accept Bolivia, and agrees to give this Andean country the condition as a member of the FTT.
Washington wants Bolivia to give solid security to foreign investment, ratify an agreement that puts US military and civilians out of reach of the International Penal Court, and approves a hydrocarbon law.
These requirements, Ramirez said, are an outrage to dignity to the Bolivian sovereignty.
The legal text is limited to establish state property of gas and oil and guarantees 50 percent of the benefits to the enterprises exploiting those resources.
Bolivian International Economic Relations Vice Minister Isaac Maidana admitted US stated conditions for Bolivia to enter the FTT and said the government should excel the domestic situation, for US accepts the entry of Bolivia.
Ramirez said the US pressure was stated before by President Carlos Mesa, and that Bolivia will suffer the cutting of foreign assistant, if the oil project in debate is finally approved.
Despite to governmental statements, the recent US announcement of a cutting of 11 million dollars of the assistance to Bolivia, wants to force Bolivia to confirm the immunity agreement.
A Free Trade Treaty (FTT) with Washington, equals to put "a lion and a sheep together in the same cage", Ramirez stated, at the time he asked how Bolivian farmers can compete with their US counterparts, if they receive annual subsidies for 200 billion dollars.