The scattered gunfire that awakened the citizens of La Paz at three o’clock in the morning last December 20th would probably not have counted for much on any one of the Japanese-held islands in the Pacific, yet in political importance it dwarfed even the most heroic of our attempts against those islands. This may not yet be apparent to the world. Nevertheless, it is no exaggeration to say that the recent Bolivian revolution is a synthesis of everything that we are fighting for and against in this war. Let it be stated now that this new revolutionary government was neither fascist nor Nazi-inspired, in spite of the fact that several of the accusations made against it in this respect have an appearance of being founded in truth. It was, instead, inspired by those very precepts of the Atlantic Charter that our own Government so nobly upholds. However, the political and economic framework of Bolivia is extremely complicated and many misleading contradictions are apt to appear on the surface. In general this is true of all South American nations. Thus an analysis of the forces at work behind the Bolivian revolution should at the same time give a picture of the many problems with which our foreign policy has to deal in the Latin half of the Western Hemisphere. It should also indicate to some extent just how ably our Government has met such problems.
Bolivia, with the possible exception of Paraguay, has the doubtful distinction of claiming the most exploited and oppressed working-class in South America. She is also a landlocked nation and thus is at the mercy of high taxation if she is to ship her products from the nearby Chilean ports of Arica and Antofogasta. Her main exports are mineral and chemical—tin, tungsten, quinine, oil, and rubber—with tin by far her greatest source of revenue. Since eighty per cent of all producing tin mines are foreign-controlled, the Bolivian Government theoretically has been forced to place a high export tax on the metal to protect its citizens. This tax, under the control of the ex-“pro-United Nations” Peñaranda Government, almost equaled the sales price of the tin itself. Because of the Tin Trust and corrupt politics, Bolivia’s rich agricultural possibilities have never been more than faintly developed. As a result, the people living in the high altiplano have to pay exhorbitant sums for even the basic foods. The reason for this is a heavy tax (as a source of State revenue and to protect native agriculture!) imposed upon food imported from neighboring countries. A hundred thousand head of cattle roam wild in the Chaco lowlands, but in La Paz, the capital, there is only enough milk produced per day to amount to a thimbleful for each person if it were to be distributed among all of that city’s 250,000 inhabitants. Little more than two thousand quarts are produced daily and not even the middle-class can afford to drink much milk. (The new revolutionary government has promised to change this situation radically.) The Bolivian economy is also foreign-controlled, although a Bolivian himself is mainly responsible for this. Simon I. Patiño, who lives in New York, takes his earnings out of the country and invests them more profitably elsewhere.
According to Carleton Beals in an article in Harper’s, “The Patiño income from Bolivia . . . is greater than the combined revenues of the whole country.” In the same article Beals points out some significant facts: that Patiño, from afar, has dominated Bolivian politics for years; that his international interests are closely connected with Great Britain and the United States. This last is especially significant, now that we depend on Bolivia as our only source of tin in this war. Sr. Patiño and his political dupe, the ex-President Peñaranda, were playing a double game. On the one hand they were being pro-United Nations by selling their entire tin output at a “fair price” to the Allies; on the other they were taxing the exportation of that same tin to the extent that the Tin Trust was receiving almost twice its value. In this way, also, they were profiting from the smaller mining interests, who were not under Patiño’s control. Among these are some United States interests—the Guggenheims and Grace. But the Bolivian people, in whose name the tax was imposed, were not profiting at all. True, wages had been slightly increased, but the cost of living had gone up to such heights that the situation remained the same.
The average wage of the largest group of tin miners is 80 cents a day (United States money). The next largest group averages about 35 cents. The lowest paid group receives from 12 to 15 cents. The highest paid of all (according to the New York newspaper, PM) receives from $1.50 to $1.75 a clay. But there are only fifty-seven miners in the whole country earning such wages. There are also twenty-six receiving over $1.75. The working conditions of the miners, who may be considered the royalty of Bolivia’s working-class, are worse than bad.
Robert J. Watt, who was a member of the United States-Bolivian Labor Commission investigating living and working conditions of labor in Bolivia last year, had this to say upon his return to the United States: “Though all the big mines have now ‘wet drilling.’ which vastly decreases the danger of silicosis (dust in the lungs), I did not find a single safety engineer in the entire country, and the accident rate is a high one. Nor did I find a single instance of a personnel representative, or any person whose job it was to deal with human relations. In one of the largest mines, those responsible for the worker’s welfare are the company police, whose authority over the person of the employee is absolute and whose strong-arm methods are traditional.” But if the situation of the miner is poor, that of all other workers is miserable. “The mineworkers,” said Mr. Watt, “get some money wages. Not much, but some. Generally speaking, the laborers in rubber and agriculture never catch up to the ‘debt’ charged against them on the books of their employers… . Overcrowded as the mine-owned housing facilities are, they are furnished free to the workers. The agricultural and rubber workers must build their own shelters from the primitive materials at hand, and consequently live in conditions but slightly above that of animals … .”
But aside from personalismo—which is the Latin-American expression for one-man rule—in government and politics, Bolivia has also been, and is yet, a center of international intrigue. There is Argentina’s desire to control Bolivia’s economy as she does Paraguay’s; her desire also to grab the rich oil deposits and control communications, such as they are. Brazil would like Bolivia’s oil, tin, and tungsten to feed her growing industrialism; she is afraid of Argentine economic competition through Bolivia as well. The Bank of Brazil had been planning, before the recent revolution, to open a branch in La Paz. She has already opened one in Asuncion, Paraguay, backed up by United States funds. Previously, the Argentine National Bank, fortified with British commercial support, had ruled supreme in Asunci6n and had a firm foothold in La Paz. Thus British big business, even apart from General Tin Investments, Inc., and British Tin Investment Corporation, Ltd., has an interest in Bolivia, too, through Argentina, This interest takes on an added importance if one recalls that Brazil expropriated all British-owned railways and public utilities some years ago, while there remains a British rail monopoly in the Argentine, and at least one important road in Bolivia is partly under British control. Last summer, after Brazil offered Bolivia the port of Santos tax-free and stated that she would help in the construction of highways and a railroad to connect with this seaport, Great Britain hastened to assure Argentina that she would supply the necessary rails needed to complete an Argentine-British railway to the rich Santa Cruz oil fields. Construction had been stopped on the road within a few miles of completion because of wartime scarcity of rails and Argentine neutrality. Bolivia has also been the scene of competition between the United States and Argentina. The Chaco War was a result of the struggle between the Argentine Government of that period and Standard Oil. Argentina wanted to run a pipeline through the Chaco. Standard Oil of New Jersey, which had a huge concession of thousands of acres of oil lands, opposed this. The result was a three-year-long and bloody war, with Argentina backing Paraguay and the United States supporting Bolivia. Munitions, planes, and guns were supplied to Paraguay and Bolivia. British-owned Vickers helped Argentina to supply Paraguay. Other British and United States firms helped Bolivia. Germany and Italy also stepped in, with Germany training and supplying the Bolivian Army. Finally, the war was stopped by Argentina, posing as a champion of the peace. Bolivia was technically the victor; hut actually Paraguay won—in terms of Bolivian losses and suffering. Argentina was the real victor, however, for the pipeline went through and Standard Oil had lost its concession. Then there was the recent competition for Bolivian quinine and tin, carried on single-handedly by Argentina under ex-President Ramon Castillo. The Castillo Government was offering higher prices than the United States. Until the December 20th Revolution in Bolivia, Argentina was receiving a considerable amount of that quinine, so sorely needed by the fighting forces of the United Nations. Another interesting point is the loan made by United States bankers to the Bolivian Government back in 1925 and 1927. When President Peñaranda visited Washington some months ago, President Roosevelt felt called upon to apologize for the “excessive” rates of interest charged by these bankers. “Anxious bondholders,” said an editorial in the Inter-American Monthly, “worried over the turn of affairs, found consolation in President Peñaranda’s assurance that the debt problem was not being overlooked by his Government. (There is no doubt a violent fear in certain United States banking circles that the new Government might deem it only just to cancel such an unfair debt.) Germany, too, had her eye on Bolivia, both for economic and political reasons. She had built airways competitive with Pan American, had trained the Bolivian Army and supplied it with arms, had set up cultural institutes and insurance societies for the workers, had increased her trade with the country, always careful that her exports remained about a million dollars less than her imports, thus giving Bolivia a favorable trade balance in Germany. Even after Bolivia declared herself in support of the United Nations following Pearl Harbor, President Peñaranda banished only the more notorious and widely known Nazis. The German beneficial workers’ societies continued to operate, and through them and the Spanish Legation the Axis went merrily on its sabotaging way, with greater force perhaps than in “neutral” Argentina.
An amusing but believable sidelight in this respect was the answer given by Augusto Céspedes, ex-General Secretary of the Bolivian revolutionary Party, to the accusation that Party members had met in the German Club (Club Alemán) to plan a Nazi putsch in 1941. “The Nazi putsch of 1941,” said Céspedes to an AP reporter, “was nothing more than a farce invented by Peñaranda’s Government. Members of the Movimiento Naciondista Revolucionario did not meet in the Club, since there they would have run the risk of being seen and heard by high officials of Peñaranda’s Government who frequented the place.”
In contrast, the new revolutionary Government of Major Gualberto Villarroel has already expropriated Japanese- and German-owned firms (they were still operating under Peñaranda, even after his declaration of war!) and has taken steps to prevent Axis money from leaving the country.
One of the main criticisms of the new Government is that it is nationalistic and many of its leaders bitterly opposed to the United States. This was used as proof that it is a fascist regime. Although it is true that the revolutionary Party is nationalistic and some of its members critical of the United States, there are excellent democratic reasons for both sentiments. It has already been pointed out that while the Government of Enrique Peñaranda was internationally “pro-United Nations,” it was at the same time internally an oppressive fascist dictatorship. This is no secret, as anyone familiar with South America knows. The Paraguayan Government is even worse, with its own Gestapo police. Nicaragua and Guatemala are the same. And although Brazil and Argentina are more subtle kinds of dictatorship insofar as the living standard of their peoples is concerned, they are nevertheless in the same category, as are Ecuador and Peru. Latin Americans are themselves thoroughly disgusted with the situation and are becoming increasingly more cynical of the idealistic aims of the democracies in this war. They read about the Four Freedoms and then find the United States and Great Britain strengthening Latin American dictatorships and, what is worse, hailing these dictatorships as democracies. They hear their progressive and liberal leaders denounced as fascists by the democracies simply because their dictators find it convenient and useful to distort the truth. Aside from this, there has been both the direct and indirect intervention of the United States in South American economic affairs. Such intervention has almost consistently favored business interests against the people’s rights.
Our commercial meddling against the direct democratic interests of the Latin American people is nowhere more blatantly apparent than in Bolivia. In a way, the United States is an accessory before the fact in causing the recent revolution. Had we sincerely supported all democratic elements—and there are many ways in which we might have done this—we would not be in the precarious position that we are in Latin America today. Now we may look ahead to a postwar South America bristling with distrust and fear of the United States—this in spite of the Good Neighbor Policy, which has accomplished much good, but just did not go far enough.
Our attitude toward the new Bolivian Government will certainly increase such fears and may be responsible for the unification of all South America into a solid anti-United States bloc, such as Ramirez in Argentina has been trying to accomplish and which his breaking off of diplomatic relations with the Axis will not stop. For his is a New World kind of fascism, its only important European ties being Spain and Portugal. Had we handled the Bolivian situation with more objectivity and fairness, we might easily have gained the full confidence of all democratic peoples in Latin America. Instead, we used the old strong-arm method, high pressuring the governments of the other American republics into non-recognition of the new Bolivian régime. But it was too late and we were in too deep to use anything else.
For although the present revolution in Bolivia may be traced back to the Chaco War, it had its real beginning a year ago with the “Catavi massacre.” On December 21st, 1942, eight thousand men, women, and children were machine-gunned and shelled with a trench mortar for five hours. They were miners from the Patiño mines and their families, striking for a hundred per cent increase in wages and better working conditions. Living costs had risen eleven hundred per cent over pre-war costs by that time. President Peñaranda said the strike was Nazi-inspired and an attempt to overthrow his Government. The same Peñaranda was the first to accuse the revolutionary group that replaced him of having Axis inspiration. Actually, in a letter mailed to Sumner Welles the day of the massacre, Ernesto Galarza, a Bolivian himself and Chief of the Division of Labor of the Pan-American Union, accused our own State Department of encouraging Peñaranda to kill the passage of a Labor Code that would have bettered the conditions of the miners. Galarza warned that if the code were not put into effect, the workers would be forced “to adopt every form of active and passive resistance,” Galarza also pointed out that unless conditions were improved, tin production would decline. He accused United States Ambassador Pierre Boal of directly supporting the mine interests against the Bolivian workers. There was quite a scandal about this, with firm denials from Hull, Welles, and Boal. Galarza resigned his post at the Pan-American Union and asked for a public hearing. Some time later, mainly because of the massacre, excerpts from the correspondence between Ambassador Boal and Secretary of State Hull were printed in The Nation. Boal had objected to certain provisions in the Labor Code, among which was the demand for prompt payment of wages in full. “They are now paid tardily,” Boal said in his cable to the Secretary of State, “deliberately in order to maintain them on the job and give them a stake in their next month’s pay.” The Secretary’s reply was: “… discreetly express to the President [Peñaranda] or other appropriate authorities your government’s hope and confidence that no steps will be taken which might result in the creation of situations which would inhibit the full performance of contracts… , The uninterrupted flow of these items (tin, tungsten, antimony, and rubber) is essential to the optimum prosecution of the war. It is consequently hoped that no action will be taken which might jeopardize hemispheric security.” Yet hemispheric security was certainly placed more in jeopardy by the poor working conditions of the miners and rubber gatherers—making them restless and ripe for resistance to the mine and landowners—than it would have been had decent labor legislation been put into effect. This is exactly what happened in fact. For although the Labor Code was passed anyway, most of the rights which it recognized had already been suspended by Presidential decrees a year before. Strike sentiment among the miners gathered and grew from that time. A few days after the code was passed with the nullifying clauses still in effect, the strike broke out. Martial law was declared by President Peñaranda and undoubtedly he was given the moral courage for the brutal repressive measures that he took because he knew that the United States State Department was exceedingly timid about any change in the status quo of his Government.
The MNR, the revolutionary party now in power, campaigned intensively against Peñaranda from the hour of the massacre. In this way it gained the support of labor and its power and influence grew. One year later, almost to the day, Peñaranda was ousted. At the halfway mark, six months before the revolution, the MNR was responsible for the resignation of nine of the President’s Cabinet Ministers. This caused a complete and frenzied Cabinet reorganization on General Peñaranda’s part, but he was already thoroughly weakened.
It is interesting to note here that the United States had been using Peñaranda’s Government as a pawn to block Argentine neutrality. Bolivia’s declaration of war against the Axis is of no physical importance whatever; it was merely a warning to Argentina of the power of the United States. First had been Brazil’s declaration of war; then the successful move of forcing Chile to abandon her neutrality partnership with the Argentine; then Bolivia’s war declaration. President Peñaranda had hoped to obtain in return much more Lend Lease aid and Export-Import Bank loans to fortify his tottering position and regain a measure of confidence among his people, who were openly hostile to him, not only because of the “Catavi massacre,” but also because he had failed on his trip to the United States to arrange through Washington for a sea outlet to the Pacific. Because of this, the middle-class had turned away from him too. After he was overthrown, the new Bolivian Government proved to be an even more effective weapon with which to shatter Argentine neutrality. “Nazi plots” were suddenly uncovered in Peru, Venezuela, and several other countries of South America. Paraguay had an actual “uprising,” which was, however, successfully broken by President Morínigo’s troops. (Morínigo, incidentally, needs no Nazi inspiration; in fact, the Nazis might learn a few tricks from him, as any one of the many members of the Commission for Aid to Paraguay in exile can affirm. Paraguayan fascism has aroused democratic and progressive people all through Latin America. On May 21, 1943, the Committee of Democratic Municipal Functionaries in the Struggle Against Nazi-Fasci-Falangim, of Montevideo, held a mass meeting to express its solidarity with the oppressed peoples of Paraguay. Montevideo’s highest-ranking municipal leaders spoke at the rally. Eighty thousand people were in attendance.) There is, of course, nothing against the desire of the United States to have Argentina on our side instead of the Nazis’. She was the missing brick, theoretically, in our wall of hemispheric defense, The only serious argument is that we have taken several smaller bricks out in order to find room for the large one,
It is of the utmost significance at this point to mention that the Axis countries have not recognized the new Bolivian régime, nor has Spain. On the other hand, when the military took power in Argentina over six months earlier Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain hastened to recognize that government, which was obviously totalitarian from the start. The United States and Britain then extended their official recognition at least a day after the Axis. Also, the Axis radios at the time went out of their way to try and prove that the Argentine military government was a real government of the people, that elections would be held as scheduled, that Ramírez, like Franco, was merely trying to save the world from Bolshevism. There was also quite a hit of propaganda about Ramirez being a bulwark against “Yankee Imperialism.”
Since the Bolivian revolution, however, the Axis radios have been strangely silent. On December 20th, the day of the revolt, there was not a single Axis comment recorded. The next day, the 21st, German radios observed the “formation of a new Bolivian government.” The day after that, the 22nd, a Tokio commentator noted a “change of government” in Bolivia. Nothing more was added. And these comments were recorded on Axis programs beamed at Latin America! Either our enemies are slipping and let pass a wonderful opportunity to spread disunity in South America, or else they did not know what to think themselves.
However, by January 10th, almost a month after the Bolivian coup, the Tokio and German radios were beginning to use their divide-and-conquer technique on Latin America. But it was a weak and half-hearted attempt, nothing at all like their propaganda on the Argentine revolution. Now that Argentina has broken relations with the Axis, the situation also becomes more complicated for those who accuse the Argentine of having inspired the Bolivian revolt with Nazi support.
In answer to this last accusation, the Argentine newspaper, La Nation offered an interesting interpretation in an editorial. La Nation, incidentally, is one of the oldest and most important newspapers in Latin America. It has a reputation as well for being one of the most reliable ones in the world. Even Ramirez’s dictatorial decrees have not been able to stifle La Nación’s objectivity and critical sharpness. “It is interesting to observe,” stated the editorial, “that in the revolutionary acts of some countries the re-establishment of constitutional rights is the only objective from the start, and from all indications Bolivia belongs in this category … As for extra-American nations [the Axis], it is not strange that they move in the opposite direction; in other words, a direction that leads to the liquidation of civil liberties and the establishment of dictatorship—this is the only kind of government they would care to inspire in the Americas, and it is inconceivable to think that the [Bolivian] uprising had that end in view.”
Commentators and newspapers in the United States, however, took as their authority on the nature of the Bolivian revolt two unaffectedly pro-Nazi newspapers in Argentina, El Cabildo and El Pampero. These two papers had hailed the new Bolivian government “with joy,” had played up the idea that the revolutionary group was headed by brilliant men who would be able to secure the much needed outlet to the sea for their country. This was a more subtle stroke for South American disunity than that used by the Axis radio itself. Brazil’s grant to Bolivia of the free use of the port of Santos has thus far proved to be no more than a gesture, since railroads have to be built to connect with Santos, and it is a long hard distance from the Bolivian frontier. In contrast, the Chilean-controlled seaport of Arica has a direct rail line leading to it from La Paz, Bolivia’s capital. Yet another complication that reveals the subtlety of the campaign for South American disunity as promulgated by El Cabildo and El Pampero is the fact that Arica was not originally a Chilean port, but a Peruvian one. Chile took it away from Peru during a brutal frontier war and the Peruvians have never forgotten this. Antofogasta, another Chilean port used extensively by Bolivia, was once owned by Bolivia and expropriated by Chile, along with the rest of the Bolivian seacoast during the War of the Pacific, in 1879. Thus several old and aggravating issues were brought to the fore through the single expedient of praising the new Bolivian revolution. The campaign produced swift results. The Chilean government immediately bristled and denounced the Bolivian coup. The denunciation was echoed in the United States and gained additional force because two Argentine newspapers, known for their Nazi sympathies, were “supporting” the Bolivian revolution.
Further proof of the nature of the new Bolivian government may be had by comparing its early promises and decrees with similar promises and decrees of the Ramirez military machine. Actually, the military in Argentina promised nothing definite, except that it would remain faithful to the ideals of Pan-Americanism. This, it was soon indicated, really meant Pan-Spanish-Americanism. To gain the necessary breathing spell in which to consolidate its power, the military junta hinted that it might break relations with the Axis, and that for the time being it would maintain a genuine neutrality. It also hinted that elections would be held after crooked politics were straightened out and that the Congress would he re-established. It then began to attack the people’s civil liberties by outlawing strikes and all political parties, by smashing labor unions. In spite of the fact that Ramirez himself has been ousted, the military as such has held out long enough to entrench itself firmly and to gain the prestige necessary to leadership of any South American bloc with future intentions against the United States.
Bolivia, on the other hand, has from the start made only concrete promises and passed definitely progressive decrees. The government of Gualberto Villarroel immediately ratified its country’s declaration of war against the Axis. It promised that the entire quinine output would go to the United States, that its other commercial and political commitments to the United Nations would be strictly adhered to. It wanted to co-operate with the United States and stated this publicly on many occasions. José Tamayo, the new Foreign Minister, said that his government’s policy “would be founded upon democratic co-operation with the United States” and that “our duty is to see the triumph of democracy and to maintain full-strength co-operation with the United States.” (Ramirez had never made such a direct statement of policy. When ex-Foreign Minister Storni came close to it, he was forced to resign. The Ramirez policy could not stand so simply in the open.) It encouraged the organization of labor and the rights of labor unions. It is supported by the labor unions. In fact, on January 19th. Bolivian labor leaders sent a cable to Bernardo Ibañez, head of the Chilean Confederation of Workers, who was then in Washington, asking him “to inform our fellow workers of the United States to lend their support to obtain [diplomatic] recognition… .” The cable was signed by the General Secretary of the Unión General of the Catavi miners and by twenty representatives of other labor unions. Ibañez transmitted the message to Philip Murray of the C. I. O. and William Green of the A. F. L. Does this seem like fascism? If so, it must be a new variety, for the classical basis of all fascist governments is to smash labor unions immediately and imprison labor leaders. Yet the new Bolivian Government, through its Finance Minister, has also included in its 1944 budget approximately $140,000 “to cover congressional expenses.” According to Victor Paz Estenssoro, this is “a practical proof that elections will be held this year.” The new Government apparently is quite certain that it has the support of the Bolivian people. Among other things, it has offered to recognize Russia, and only four countries in all of Latin America have done this to date. Brazil, supposedly our closest ally and an active fighting member of the United Nations, has never gone this far in the name of democracy. In fact, another little irony was the appointment of Enrique Baldivieso as Bolivia’s confidential agent to Brazil. Sr. Baldivieso is head of the Bolivian Society of Friends of the Soviet Union I He is also an outstanding young Bolivian playwright and orator.
Which brings us to another point of comparison—the men behind Ramirez and those supporting Villarroel. At no time did the Ramirez cabinet have more than two civilians among its members. One of these two civilians was Hugo Wast, the bitterly anti-Semitic and pro-Falangist popular novelist. Wast was the only representative of culture and learning that Ramirez could boast. On the other hand, the new Bolivian government has among its representatives at least half a dozen progressive and brilliant young men; men with a background of struggle for the social good. Two of these have been forced to resign, mainly because of pressure from the United States.
The new Government is divided equally between the military and civilians. In fact, the civilians have a slight edge in the cabinet, since they are five to the military’s four. The President himself, Major Gualberto Villarroel, makes the numbers balance.
Finally, let us examine the accusations made against the Bolivian revolutionary government. There are only two of any importance, insofar as known facts support them. The most serious one is that Victor Paz Estenssoro visited Argentina some ten weeks before the coup d’etat and attended a secret meeting in the home of Count Karl von Luxburg, former German Minister to the Argentine. Paz Estenssoro was supposed to have received $5,000,000 there, with which to instigate revolts all over South America. Among those present at the meeting were General Edelmiro Farrell and Manuel Fresco, ex-Governor of Buenos Aires province.
Assuming that this is true, it is less, an indictment than it might appear at first glance. If anything, it disproves the accusation that Ramirez and the Nazis were behind the Bolivian revolution. Manuel Fresco certainly does not support Ramirez—he was once the political boss of Buenos Aires and the Argentine military revolt stripped him of his power, Recent events have confirmed earlier accounts of Farrell’s disagreement with Ramírez and there have been rumors that Farrell all along was working with General Rawson to bring about Argentina’s break with the Axis. In any case, he is a very close friend of Rawson’s, and Rawson was openly for a diplomatic break. Although Count von Luxburg’s daughter has been known to mix with the pro-fascist circles in Argentina, the Count himself has not once been seriously accused of Nazi activities. The last time he visited Germany was in 1039, and when he returned, the Buenos Aires police followed his every activity for six months, at last concluding that he was harmless. He was expelled from the Argentine during World War Number One, but returned to make his home there after the Armistice. The most probable interpretation of his position is that he would like to see a return of the former imperial Germany of the Kaiser.
At any rate, Paz Estenssoro knew that he could not depend on the United States for any aid, directly or indirectly, in the plan to oust Peñaranda and might logically have taken advantage of the first opportunity of aid, whatever its origin. This does not mean that either he or his party intend to establish fascism in Bolivia. Their main objective has been to eradicate it in their own country at whatever the expense or profit to the rest of the Americas, They were hoping, of course, that it would be the latter and were depending on the support of democratic elements throughout the hemisphere. But Fate was against them.
The second and not nearly so serious criticism of the new Bolivian regime was its refusal to permit the PIR to have a voice in government. The PIR (Partido de la Izquierda Revolucionaria) is a native Marxist Party that contradicts its ideological basis by claiming not to have any connections with international Marxism. In other words, it, too, is a purely nationalistic party for the sincere betterment of the working- and middle-classes of Bolivia. Its ultimate aim is Bolivian socialism and its program for labor legislation and nationalization of foreign industries is very similar to the MNR now in power. Although it claimed the full support of the miners and most of the other workers, apparently its program of action was not as practical as that of the MNR. Idealistically, however, the PIR was one of the strongest voices against fascism in Bolivia and for the rights of the worker. It was accused by ex-President Peñaranda of being “Nazi-inspired,” nevertheless, and its leader, Dr. José Antonio Arze, was exiled. He spent some time in the United States where he taught at Williams College; lie then went to Mexico to live. This no doubt weakened the influence of the PIR in Bolivia. The MNR moved on by itself, gathering its own strength. Notwithstanding this, it agreed to discuss the matter with Arze, who left Mexico for La Paz. After the conferences, President Villarroel refused to consolidate his Government with the PIR. The reason he gave publicly was that such consolidations weaken rather than strengthen a government. He pointed to the example of the consolidation of Righist and Conservative Parties, which had gathered about Peñaranda. While this is admittedly a thin argument, it can only be assumed that during the conference Arze had perhaps stubbornly refused to make certain concessions to the MNR. Or it could have been the other way around, depending upon one’s point of view.
From the point of view of Enrique de Lozada„ who had accepted the post of “confidental agent” to the United States for Bolivia, this was reason enough to severn his connections with the new régime. He was formerly a Constultant on Latin American affairs in the office of the Co-ordinator of Inter-American affairs.
The day after Lozada resigned his post, the United States officially denied recognition to Bolivia. It is possible that he knew this was inevitable and resigned gracefully in time to protect his reputation, for it was becoming hourly more evident that we were not going to recognize Bolivia.
There can be little doubt as to the real forces behind the Bolivian revolution. They are the same forces which motivate the United Nations in this war. Perhaps not all the members of the new Government in La Paz are sincere democrats, but enough of them are to warrant a hearing and fair treatment. They have offered to co-operate fully in our war effort and we, in answer, have condemne them as fascinsts. There may, of course, be an excellent diplomatic reason for this, and for what amounts indirectly to a counter-revolution; but if there is, it would be hidden in certain files in Washington.