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bolivia.com, Bolivia

Covert US Military Operation
Receives Criticism

Translated By Slava Osowska

9 January 2013

Edited by Hana Livingston

Bolivia - bolivia.com - Original Article (Spanish)

Bolivia denounces an “invasion” by a U.S. Department of Defense simulation carried out under the guise of tourism and research. The covert military operation took place on a mountain in the Andres near La Paz.

“Bolivia condemns the United States in front of the international community for executing a covert military operation that involved sending 24 supposed American researchers to perform military experiments on soldiers’ adaptation to high altitudes. These soldiers were to later carry out military operations in various countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sudan,” stated Minister of Communication Amanda Dávila.

A group of 24 officials from the U.S. Department of Defense dressed as civilians and presented themselves to the Bolivian Migration Service as tourists. Their main mission was documented between June 12 and Sept. 15 on Chacaltaya Mountain, located 5,200 meters above sea level as part of a mountain range surrounding La Paz and the neighboring city of El Alto.

“We would call this not only interference, not only a violation of national sovereignty, but a penetration, an invasion of sorts since the group had a military objective,” said Dávila in a statement to the Bolivian Information Agency.

The criticism comes as La Paz and Washington seem to be edging closer to a tentative new framework for bilateral relations and are preparing to restore their ambassadors to both capitals. The countries severed their ties in 2008, when Bolivian president Evo Morales expelled American ambassador Philip Goldberg, accusing him of conspiracy. George W. Bush’s government responded in kind.

In her statement, Dávila referenced the existence of American missions with similar methods and objectives, both before and after June of last year.

Speaking on behalf of the Morales administration, the Minister of Communication said that the group of supposed researchers received military funding.

“This is military funding with a purpose to support invasion plans in countries where the U.S. is currently involved in wars for control of natural resources and of entire populations of civilians,” she maintained.

Morales has criticized 21st century U.S. colonial wars in international forums.

Hours earlier, Interior Minister Carlos Romero denounced “the violation of Bolivian sovereignty” by the American military team’s incursion into the site of the former Chacaltaya glacier to study the effects of high altitude on U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.

“Above and beyond the intention” of that expedition, the nature of the incursion into national territory “represents a breach of Bolivian sovereignty,” he affirmed during a press conference.

The Interior Minister also said that this act constitutes an “objective confirmation that there is a permanent intrusion” by the northern power that demonstrates an “imperialist [attitude] of unilateral hegemony.”



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