Just a Useful Idiot? (Update 2)
Read more at Publius Pundit, MABB , La Ventanita and Barrio Flores (1, 2) for detailed accounts of the event. Everything indicates this will be one of the weirdest events taking place in Bolivia in a long time.
Now, I don't want to concentrate on the weirdness of the event -it seems that the American they arrested is a Wicca High Priest, had several names (one of them is Lestat, just like Ann Rice's vampire) on several IDs and a criminal record in Argentina and Uruguay. I want to concentrate on the reactions.
according to news agency EFE, Morales is blaming the US government for the American suspect. In a speech, Morales wondered whether the US was inciting terrorist activity in Bolivia and then accused 'businessmen' and 'oligarchs' of being the brains behind the attack. Their purpose would be trying to stop the Constituent Assembly (CA) from taking place (why anybody wanting to stop the CA would bomb hotels rather than government buildings is anybody's guess). Mora y Leon at Publius Pundit wonders if the American was set up and notices that during the 1970s, explosions usually preceded coups. Well, reactions to the explosions tend to agree with Mora's suspicion: In order to avoid further attacks, Evo rallied the people to start creating 'committees for the defense of the democracy' --an idea that sounds awfully similar to the Bolivarian Circles. "We don't have a choice but an organized, united and mobilized people to defend democracy" Evo said. A government official stated that the purpose of these defense committees would be to defend "democracy, the CA and the government" (emphasis added).
Moreover, during a press conference, the suspect wanted to make an statement but a General didn't allow it (here). Why didn't he allow the suspect to speak? It is also noteworthy that the suspect's wife asked for his husband to be killed.
Can it be possible that Evo has found a way of consolidating power without burning the parliament?
Update 1: Bomb suspect Lestat says in an interview that his confession was the product of torture and that the belongings that Bolivian Police attributed to him didn't actually belong to him. This would include explosives and a notebook with all of Lestat's alleged international contacts. The US has expressed concern about Evo's reaction to the bombings.
Update 2: Another interview of Lestat with La Razon. There are interesting discrepancies with the previous interview in Update 1. First, the accused does not mention anything about torture, although he makes it clear that he was set up and believes that the government may be behind the attacks. He also believes that he was arrested because he was at hand and that he will not have a fair trial under Evo's government.
Meanwhile, the US, Venezuela and other government officials have started to react to Evo's statements. The US called the business aggregate of the Bolivian embassy in the US to explain the comments and their embassy cancelled an appointment with Garcia Linera to talk about soy. Garcia Linera denies this appointment was even scheluded (here).
On other fronts, Evo has been left in the cold. First, Chavez said that these attacks were probably incited by people against the government, but that they do not have any evidence that points to the American government (here). Then, the foreign minister said that they are fully aware that they deal with an American citizen but do not agree with Evo in respect to the US government role and are waiting for investigations to take place before making statements.
Bolivia, Bolivien, Evo, Evo Morales