Subject: Patterns of Foreign Intervention
Reading Level: Adult / High School
Foreign powers have long been interested in the region because of its enormous wealth of natural resources. Over several hundred years, while the participants have changed, certain patterns of engagement have persisted. Most outsiders have hoped to reap as much benefit as possible, employing strategies that create and/or reward a small group at the top of the pyramid society. Sustained contact has resulted in the perpetuation of this skewed internal structure. Outsiders have imposed their culture and values. The unintended consequence of an unchallenged elite has been the persistence of a distinct indigenous people that comprise close to 60 % of the population. For most of the area’s history, control of the purse has led to control of the government, and often interest in the region extends only as far as it aids the economic ambitions of others.
To examine this topic more fully, this article examines one nation’s history, Bolivia, to understand how foreign influence shaped the current situation.