By Melvyn Kohn
December 11, 2010
Yesterday, (10/12/2010) the Jersusalem Post published an article by Caroline Glick about South America; it mentioned Bolivia and had some misinformation, so I wrote to her the following letter. Much as I'd like to take the liberty of posting her article here, it might be a copyright issue, so I will refrain from doing that, but I think a google search will bring it up.
BTW, see previous posts here about Bolivia - and the one I posted to www.hurryupharry.org on 20 May 2009, and I think you will be at entertained, if not enlightened...
Dear Ms. Glick,
I just read your article on Latin America and whilst most of it I agree with, I find the statements about Bolivia false. For the past two years I have been studying this country and have been privy to the assassination attempts - about which I wrote on David Toube's blog
Further, I write a bit about Bolivia on the Jewish Chronicle website; the latest post was about how generous their policy towards refugees was in WWII - indeed, it was the only country in South America to allow any in. It helped to persuade the US to do the same.
Your source, who may be a remnant of the thousands of us Jewish refugees who went there, is wrong on his assessment of their warmth towards Ahmadinejad. I can tell you from first hand information that they shook his hands and all that, but it was not much more than a photo op. Iran's promises were empty, and their suggestion that Bolivian nurses wear hijabs a country that is both Catholic and feminist (it has the largest percentage of women in the government of any nation). They distanced themselves, if politely - and they are not all that keen on Hugo Chavez.
What makes for bad relations with our community are the lies told about their shipping uranium to Iran - they have not mined uranium since 1971; most mines are closed or in desrepair. Further, a former right wing politician named Jose Brechner writes such racist material against them that he sounds like a nazi; he is Jewish. As is your source, who repeats the lie about uranium. As is your source.
Personally, I would prefer to make as many allies for the state of Israel as possible, and Bolivia could be one of them. They befriended Jews in our time of most need, and their enemies, those in on the assassination attempt, are neo-nazis in the departamento of Santa Cruz.
So I would ask you to review your sources and not allow bad information to create an enemy of a very valuable historical ally.
Here in NY, many Jews are on the board of Amigos de Bolivia, and enjoy a good relationship with the consulate and Mission to the UN. I hope this puts it in perspective, and look forward to future relations being restored between Israel and Bolivia.