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  February 7, 2009

Bolivia, Obama, and UNASUR Pt3

New constitution in Bolivia and the new U.S. government
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Sinclair Thomson is an Associate Professor at New York University�s Department of History. He is the author of We Alone Will Rule: Native Andean Politics in the Age of Insurgency (2003) and co-author of Revolutionary Horizons: Past and Present in Bolivian Politics (2007).

In September’s UNASUR meeting, Latin American leaders discussed and agreed to support Evo Morales in Bolivia. This international integration, Thomson says, “really shifted the balance of forces.” It “was decisive in shifting the political momentum in Bolivia and opened up the possibility of negotiations between the [Morales] government and the right wing.” This support allowed for the political environment that set the stage for the recently passed referendum. UNASUR’s formation is a change from the previous largely U.S. controlled political setting in Latin America. These governments are coming together, Thomson says, “against the hegemony of the neo-liberal model,” and “to assert their states in managing their economies and increasing national sovereignty.” The region’s relationship with the United States may also soon change as many expect Obama’s administration will have a different foreign policy than the historic involvement U.S. exercised in the 20th century.


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