Bolivia Denounces “Operation Condor II” in South America
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Lucas Leiroz, research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
The left-wing Bolivian government is trying to bring about effective changes in the South American political scenario, revealing the international conspiracies behind the political turmoil that have taken place on the continent in recent years. Bolivia’s ambassador to the UN, Diego Pary, launched an international investigation into the role of former Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno (who ruled Ecuador between 2017 and 2021) in favor of the government installed in this country in 2019, after the coup d’état against Evo Morales.
The Bolivian investigation is based on suspicious data, which point to possible unofficial cooperation between the Ecuadorian government and the team led by Jeanine Áñez. One of such evidence is the rapid sale of arms to the interim government in the first days after the coup. Quito sent to La Paz in November 2019 at least 5,500 tear gas grenades and nearly 3,000 various projectiles, in addition to various other police and war equipment. The maneuver was denounced by Pary at the UN as a violation of the norms of international law – considering that, apparently, the arms were traded without the appropriate legal process – as if there were an “emergency” to send these arms to the junta (possibly to combat rebel insurrections in favor of Morales).
Commenting on the case, Minister of Government Carlos del Castillo stated that there is an “Operation Condor II” happening now in South America, comparing the cooperation between the junta and La Paz with the alliance of pro-Washington military regimes in South America, organized by the CIA during the 1970s. In the Bolivian government’s narrative, Ecuador’s arms sending to Bolivia may indicate something far beyond mere occasional support for political change, demonstrating a secret plan of cooperation between reactionary governments to guarantee American interests in South America and prevent the victory of leftist and nationalist regimes.
Despite the Bolivian government’s narrative, the Ecuadorian case alone is not enough to point out the existence of such an Operation. However, other evidence may actually point to something in this direction. At various times in recent years, South American countries with right-wing regimes have demonstrated a willingness to collaborate militarily in operations against regimes not aligned with American interests. Last year, for example, Brazil and Colombia mutually participated in meetings with former US Chancellor Mike Pompeo to create a strategy to overthrow Nicolás Maduro. In the same sense, it was in 2018, under Lenin Moreno’s government, that Ecuador resumed its military cooperation and intelligence activities with the US, after years of separation during the Rafael Correa regime. These data indicate that the reactionary South American governments and Washington have strong ties of cooperation and information sharing, which means that something like a military alliance representing American interests in the region may actually be close to being formed.
It is unlikely that within the UN this denunciation will have real effects. On several occasions, the UN has failed to impose coercive measures against countries that violate international norms to guarantee the interests of the main world powers – and this is probably what will happen again: amidst so many global tensions and problems generated by the pandemic, Bolivia’s accusations against Ecuador will not be a UN priority.
However, it is important to note that these denunciations will certainly only be the beginning of a major crisis in South American international relations. Luis Arce will now have the support of Pedro Castillo in Peru. And, thus, we will have a parallel scenario, with international cooperation between left-wing governments (against the rightist pro-Washington coalition). As a result, the situation of polarization and rivalry may increase in the region, which will lead to an escalation of tensions.
In parallel, the Arce government seems unwilling to tolerate any sign of activity by the former interim government and is striving to neutralize any threats. Crimes committed by the police and the military against protesters are being investigated and punished. Former President Jeanine Áñez is currently in prison, accused of corruption. With the filing of the case with Ecuador at the UN, Arce hopes to be able to eliminate the international traces of the coup-based junta, but this will not be an easy task.
Recently, the European Parliament called Áñez a “political prisoner” and condemned vehemently the Arce government. The same can be expected on the current case, or, in another possibility, the main Western powers will simply ignore the case completely. To avoid silence, Arce must insist strongly on the denunciation, demanding quick responses from the UN – which, in turn, to avoid any conflict, must issue the judgment in the most impartial way, acting in favor of international law.
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