Divide and Rule

LA PAZ/BERLIN |

LA PAZ/BERLIN (Own report) - The adoption of the EU's new deportation guidelines, scheduled to take place on Wednesday June 18, is being overshadowed by harsh criticism from South America of the hypocrisy of the German-European human rights policy. According to Bolivia's president Evo Morales, the provisions of the guidelines are in blatant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Brussels constantly refers to in treaties with Latin American states, while insisting upon "legal protections" for European companies against the Bolivian government's nationalization measures, taken in conformity with current Bolivian laws. Brussels has placed La Paz under "enormous pressure," Morales said and threatened to suspend negotiations on the Association Agreement between the European Union and the Andean Community, if the deportation guidelines that are in violation of international law are ratified and come into force. This conflict has evolved from Berlin's constant efforts to isolate the Bolivian government's foreign policy and weaken it domestically, because of its participation in efforts to forge an independent Latin American alliance. Just a few days ago, several influential Bolivian separatists were seeking support for their secessionist cause in European countries, including Germany.

Facilitated Deportation

Bolivian President Evo Morales' criticism is aimed at the EU guidelines for a future deportation policy, that had been adopted at the beginning of June by the interior ministers of the EU member states and the European Parliament is due to pass it on Wednesday June 18. To a large degree, these guidelines conform to German deportation policy. For example, they permit the authorities of the EU member states to hold a migrant, who does not have valid identity papers, for up to 18 months in pre-deportation custody, a practice used by Germany for years. In two-thirds of the EU member states the time in custody is shorter. In addition, the guidelines provide for the ban on re-entry, issued by one of the EU member states, being valid throughout the EU. "In accordance with Germany's interests, we have been able to achieve that the deportation of those, we want to get rid of, will be facilitated" the State's Secretary in the German Interior Ministry, Peter Altmeier announced with self-satisfaction.[1]

Directive of Disgrace

In a declaration made public last week by the Bolivian embassy in Berlin, the Bolivian president called the deportation guidelines a "Directive of Shame."[2] "As the draft of these guidelines now stand, they are in clear violation of Articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights" writes Morales.[3] Many of the deportation detainees suffer depression in the internment centers, hunger strikes and even suicides have taken place.[4] Latin American citizens are also among the victims. Morales threatens to interrupt negotiations on a comprehensive EU Association Agreement with the Andean Community (Bolivia, Ecuador; Columbia, Peru) should the guidelines be passed by the European Parliament on Wednesday. His government is already "under the immense pressure of the European Commission" to accept Brussels' "conditions for fundamental liberalization of trade, financial servicing, intellectual property, as well as our public services." This applies also to nationalization measures, against which the EU is insisting on "legal protections" for European companies, while they are refusing migrants even the most basic human rights.[5]

Rich Profiteers

Morales had already strongly criticized the planned EU Association Agreement with the Andean Community. The proposed free trade regulations do not benefit "the majority of those in the region of the Andes" but only "a few families" Morales said: "we cannot allow that the free trade agreement splits the Andean region" into rich profiteers and deeper impoverishing milieus.[6] This threatens to inflame new conflicts between La Paz and Berlin. For years Germany has been seeking association agreements with Latin American state alliances, such as the "Andean Community," to make the subcontinent more accessible for German export companies. Several nations, engaged in developing an independent Latin American block, among them Venezuela and Bolivia, are resisting an unconditional accessibility for the EU (german-foreign-policy.com reported [7]). Already last year, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier accused the governments in La Paz and Caracas of impeding the negotiations.[8] The Bolivian president's recent declarations perpetuate this conflict.

Forerunner

Berlin is therefore looking for alternatives. During the recent EU - Latin America Summit, it was decided that in the future the negotiations on the EU Association Agreement with the Andean Community would be continued with individual states. This was above all at the insistence of Spain and Germany, who hope to achieve quicker results in talks with the conservative governments of Peru and Columbia. At a joint press conference with German Chancellor Merkel, the Peruvian President Alán Garcia declared that his country and Columbia should be the trailblazers in an EU treaty and Bolivia and Ecuador can join later. After all, the European Union began on the initiatives of France and Germany, with a growing number of other European nations only joining in later.[9] This concept is based on the same considerations that have revived the current "core Europe" discussion within the EU subsequent to the Irish referendum [10]: The recalcitrant Bolivian and Ecuadorian governments could be replaced with "more cooperative" politicians - an objective promoted by German organizations in various ways.

Secessionist

In this context, the President of the Bolivian Senate Óscar Ortiz Antelo recently visited Berlin. Antelo, a member of the opposition PODEMOS Party, is not only a Morales government opponent, but also the former chairman of the Chamber of Industry and Trade of Santa Cruz, the economic metropolis of the homonymic secessionist Bolivian federal department. Ortiz Antelo pleads for Santa Cruz having more autonomy in its relations with the central government. This demand is currently also pushed in other federal departments and is threatening Bolivia's national survival. Ortiz Antelo came to Berlin at the invitation of the "Stiftung für Grundwerte und Völkerverständigung" (Foundation for Basic Values and International Understanding). Its presidium and advisory board include not only several former government ministers but also a foreign ministry legation councilor. Already back in March, this Morales adversary from Santa Cruz had participated at a meeting in Argentina organized by the Red Liberal de América Latina, RELIAL, a cooperation partner of the German Free Democratic Party affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation. Also present at the meeting were Wolfgang Gerhardt, chairman of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, as well as several militants of the opposition to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.[11] Protest was raised in Argentina against this meeting that was obviously aimed to link up the Bolivian and Venezuelan government opponents.

Economic Support

Ortiz Antelo is not the only Bolivian secessionist currently seeking support in Europe. The prefect of the secessionist federal department of Santa Cruz, Rubén Costas, recently visited regionalists in Belgium and Spain, seeking "recognition and economic backing", according to information from his entourage.[12] In Belgium, Costas met with Flemish autonomy movement representatives and in Spain with representatives of the Basque and Catalonian separatists. Already at the beginning of this year, the Bolivian government noticed that the statute of Santa Cruz autonomy bears a striking resemblance to the autonomy regulations for Catalonia.[13] The demand for an independent state has already been raised in Catalonia.

Major Confrontation

Bolivian autonomy politicians are therefore intensifying their contacts not only to Berlin, but to the European network of ethnicist secessionists,[14] who, in concord with German ethnicist strategies, seek a weakening of their respective national governments. In Bolivia this enfeeblement policy is aimed at President Morales, an opponent of German-European projects, who is currently criticizing EU human rights violations. But with the help of Bolivian autonomy movements, he can be put under powerful pressure. Berlin and the EU are playing with fire. The secessionist conflicts are clearly growing in intensity. Last weekend, President Morales expressed for the first time his misgivings: he is afraid there will be upheavals and possibly violent "major confrontations."[15]

Please read also A propósito de la "directiva Retorno".

[1] Europaweit 18 Monate Abschiebehaft; netzeitung.de 05.06.2008
[2] A propósito de la "directiva Retorno"; www.bolivia.de/es/index092a.html?fr=cnt
[3] Die genannten Artikel behandeln unter anderem die Universalität der Menschenrechte, das Verbot der Folter, die Gleichbehandlung und die Freiheitsrechte.
[4], [5] A propósito de la "directiva Retorno"; www.bolivia.de/es/index092a.html?fr=cnt
[6] Evo Morales: Los TLC pretenden dividir a la CAN y a los pueblos andinos; TeleSUR 07.06.2008
[7] see also Wandel durch Entwicklung, Warnings, Transformation by Embrace and Intensiveres Engagement
[8] see also Geo-Strategic Partnership
[9] Pressekonferenz von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel und dem peruanischen Staatspräsidenten Garcia am 15. Mai 2008 in Lima
[10] see also Plan B
[11] Lateinamerika: Neue Agenda für die Freiheit; www.stuttgart.fnst-freiheit.org
[12] Costas busca 11 millones de euros en regiones europeas; La Prensa 22.05.2008
[13] Copia del estatuto de autonomía de Cataluña, el de Santa Cruz: La Paz; La Jornada 03.01.2008. See also The Balkanization of South America
[14] see also Ethno-Fraktion, Accession Plans, Zukunft als Volk, Language Struggle and Ethnic Europe
[15] "Mi temor es que la gente se levante"; La Razón 15.06.2008