After Bolivia had received more than $4.7 billion from the US government to support 70 years of development efforts, what would Evo Morales abruptly expel USAID from the country in May 2013? The answer, alleges Lawrence Heiman, is rooted in a complex slice of history beginning with US assistance to Bolivia during World War II. Heilman explores that history from the perspectives of both the US and Bolivia, presenting a tapestry of mutual benefits and conflicting interests. He appraises the ideas and personalities that determined US foreign aid polices/programmes across successive administration; the political and ecomic context that shaped Bolivia's development aspirations; and the goals/strategies of the AID mission in Bolivia that guides its decisions about specific projects. The results is an in-depth picture of USAID in one country, but also important insights into US aid policy overall.
Lawrence C. Heilman is research associate in the Anthropology Department at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He served twenty years with USAID as a senior Foreign Service officer.