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Op-Ed: Many top Bolivia coup agents trained and supported by the US

William Kaliman commander of Bolivian armed forces.

Just prior to Morales resignation Kaliman had “suggested” that he do so. Kaliman had briefly served as the military attache of the Bolivian embassy in Washington.

However Kaliman’s connection with the US goes deeper than that: “Kaliman sat at the top of a military and police command structure that has been substantially cultivated by the US through WHINSEC, the military training school in Fort Benning, Georgia known in the past as the School of the Americas. Kaliman himself attended a course called “Comando y Estado Mayor” at the SOA in 2003”.

WHINSEC and the School of the Americas

At least six key coup plotters are graduates of the School of Americas. The School of Americas was renamed the Western Hemisphere Hemisphere Instituted for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC): “The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) is a United States Department of Defense Institute located at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia, created in the 2001 National Defense Authorization Act. It was formerly known as the US Army School of the Americas.”

A Wikipedia article explains how the name change came about: “By 2000 the School of the Americas was under increasing criticism in the United States for training students who later participated in undemocratic governments and committed human rights abuses. In 2000, the US Congress, through the FY01 National Defense Act, withdrew the Secretary of the Army’s authority to operate USARSA.[7] The next year, the institute was renamed to WHINSEC. U.S. Army Maj. Joseph Blair, a former director of instruction at the school, said in 2002 that “there are no substantive changes besides the name. … They teach the identical courses that I taught and changed the course names and use the same manuals.”[8] ”

Top commanders of the Bolivian police who also helped launch the coup have gone through APALA a police exchange training program that operates out of Washington DC. APALA is meant to build relations between US authorities and police officers in Latin American states. It keeps a low profile.

Bolivia’s security forces were used by US intelligence as a Trojan horse

The coup plot could not have been successful without the approval of the country’s military and police commanders many of whom were groomed in the US. The opposition too has been encouraged by groups such as USAID.

As a recent article concluded: “Leaked audio reported on Bolivian news website La Época, and by and a range of national media outlets, reveals that covert coordination took place between current and former Bolivian police, military, and opposition leaders in bringing about the coup.”

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