Around the world, the U.S. spends billions on development programs to improve the standard of living for poor people. Sounds good, right? Well not every country is buying. Take Bolivia, for example, which took a dramatic turn to the left one year ago with the election of Evo Morales. In Bolivia, critics of U.S. aid say it comes with strings attached. As Mary Stucky reports, U.S. money may be losing its influence.
Walnut Grove, Minnesota was the real life setting for the TV series “Little House on the Prairie.” But its population and business community was eroding until Hmong refugees from Laos showed up. They received such a friendly reception in Walnut Grove others followed. Now Hmong refugees make up a third of the town’s population. And Walnut Grove is prospering and growing.
A trade deal with several South American countries expires tomorrow. But President Bush is expected to sign an eight-month extension — which would be a rosy deal for a country like Ecuador. We’ve had this pact with Peru, Columbia, Bolivia and Ecuador for 16 years. They send goods to the U.S. duty-free.In exchange, they’re supposed to crack down on the production of cocaine and other drugs. It’s a rosy deal for a country like Ecuador. Ecuador provides a quarter of the roses sold in this country.
Bolivian President Evo Morales wants to give an area the size of Nebraska to his country’s indigenous people.
Bolivia has tried land reform before. This time it may happen. Morales has pledged to return Bolivia’s resources to its people, and to take land from the rich to give to the poor. That slogan won him plenty of votes in this, South America’s poorest nation.
Now, Morales want to give an area the size of Nebraska to Bolivia’s disadvantaged Indian majority.
In Bolivia the war on drugs has taken a sharp turn away from U.S. policy and it seems to be getting results. There it’s now legal to have a small plot of coca, the main ingredient in cocaine. Under this program, the small amount of coca grown in Bolivia has increased but much less than in Peru and Columbia, where the United States supports efforts to forcibly eradicate the plant. Mary Stucky reports that the Bolivian approach seems to be reducing the violence that has plagued anti drug efforts throughout Latin America.
Ever since Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, took office a year ago, he has promised to raise the standard of living for people in the poorest country in South America.
Many Bolivians take that promise seriously; in a country with an indigenous majority, Morales is an Aymara Indian — the first indigenous president Bolivia has ever had. The landslide vote for the left-leaning Morales was widely seen as a call for change and a sign of the need to solve many of the country’s long-entrenched problems.
As many as 85,000 illegal immigrants make Minnesota their home, including many who have crossed the border into the U.S. from Mexico. This is the story of one of them. We’ll call her Maria even though that’s not her real name. : Minnesota Public Radio News has agreed to protect her identity.
Maria, 20, came to Minnesota illegally five years ago. She lives with her family in the Twin Cities. She is watching closely as Congress debates whether to crack down on illegal immigrants,