Mariano Caucino

Iran in Our Border: Bolivia and Tehran´s Latin American Policy

Four weeks after the Hamas heinous terrorist attack against the State of Israel, concern is rising in our region over the position of several Latin American governments regarding the conflict.

Predictably, the governments of the Castro-Chavist dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia condemned Israel´s legitimate right to defend itself. While they have adopted positions that more or less strongly seem to accompany or justify terrorist actions.

In turn, democratic governments of countries such as Mexico, Colombia and Chile have chosen to present complaints regarding the “proportionality” of Israel’s response to the largest terrorist attack in its entire history. At the same time, the Argentine government seemed to opt for an erratic position. Because although Buenos Aires sanctioned terrorism, the Fernández-Kirchner Administration later questioned the military response of the attacked country again.

But Bolivia probably offers the most problematic situation. Since the government of that country not only once again placed itself in open hostility with Israel but also maintains a disturbing relationship with Iran.

It is in these circumstances that some recent developments acquire singular importance. Especially because last July, meeting in Tehran, the Defense Ministers of Bolivia Edmundo Novillo Aguilar and Iran Mohammad Reza Ashtiani signed a memorandum of understanding to expand bilateral cooperation in the key security and defense issues. Of course, such a document cannot be interpreted other than as an attempt to deepen the diplomatic and political ties that link the Bolivian “Movimiento al Socialismo” (MAS) and the extremist regime that controls the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Tehran-La Paz relationship was interpreted as the result of the “penetration” of Cuba and Venezuela in Bolivian politics, while observers such as former minister Carlos Sánchez Berzaín recalled that after the arrival of Evo Morales to the power in 2006, Iran became a main reference in an agenda dictated from Havana. A roadmap drawn up by the “Foro de Sao Paulo” that includes the endless reproduction of a narrative that contains a permanent falsification of the truth. Which leads to hiding the very nature of the events, trying to confuse a terrorist attack with a territorial dispute. To the point of cynically attempting to attribute the crimes of terrorists to their victims and placing the attacked state in the dock of the accused before the world’s tribune. These unfortunate hours impose on those of us who believe in respect for life and human dignity the imperative to make our maximum efforts to clarify the reality of the facts.

An extreme that forces us to remember that Tehran is not just another actor in the World stage. Heir to an ancient culture, Iran is a sophisticated society whose leadership sees itself as recipient of a leadership destiny in the always crucial Middle East region.

This is how Iran has been controlled since 1979 by a fundamentalist theocracy that replaced the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi monarchy imposing an anti-Western agenda which includes the Holocaust denial and promotion of Israel´s destruction.  At the same time, as it is well known, Iran is pursuing a nuclear program that, if completed, will cause an inevitable proliferation race in the hottest area in the world. But Iran is also a state that promotes terrorism on a global scale, becoming the main suspect in the terrorist attacks in Argentina that occurred in 1992 and 1994.

Bringing Iran to our border, through the proximity of the Bolivian government to the Ayatollah regime, implies introducing a serious threat to international peace and security in our region. A threat that, taken to its most extreme conclusions, could generate the alteration of our condition as a region of peace in an increasingly complex world.

About the Author
Mariano Caucino was Argentine ambassador to Israel (2018-2019) and to Costa Rica (2016-2017).
Related Topics
Related Posts