Imagine that you are a human rights lawyer who would like to establish the legal principle of "universal jurisdiction" -- the notion that former leaders should be vulnerable to suit anywhere on earth. You gaze around the globe and notice Buddhist monks being mowed down in Myanmar; women stoned to death for supposed adultery in Iran; rape victims murdered by their families in Pakistan for the sake of "honor"; torture, rape and killing of hundreds of thousands in Darfur. Any of those get your juices flowing?
Not if you are a standard issue, liberal human rights type at the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School or the Center for Constitutional Rights in Manhattan. No, they've teamed up to sue 77-year-old Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, former president of Bolivia, who now lives in the United States. Lozada, a free market reformer and staunch ally of the U.S., is accused of complicity in the death of 67 people in La Paz in 2003.
The idea that former leaders should be prosecuted is misguided in the extreme. How then can you coax a despot from power? But even leaving that aside, the accusation against Lozada is far-fetched. Opposition groups under the leadership of Evo Morales (now president of Bolivia) had blockaded the capital city of La Paz preventing supplies of food and fuel from entering. Lozada called out the army to break the blockade. Some of the blockaders were armed. Dozens of people were killed. This is the basis for a formal charge of "genocide" by the Morales government against the former president as well as the human rights lawsuit by our self-righteous friends in pinstripes.
It seems that for a certain kind of liberal, the only savory enemy is a friend of the United States.
Meanwhile, now that Bolivia has tumbled into the embrace of Castro acolyte Evo Morales, who memorably promised to become "America's worst nightmare" before his election, the country is on the brink of civil war. Just last week, according to Reuters, 7,000 protesters shut down the nation's airport. Morales has been lauded in the American press as the first "indigenous" leader of Latin America's poorest country. (His ancestry is Indian.) Less touted is his career as a coca (as in cocaine) grower, leader of the coca growers union and head of the Movement to Socialism party.