Bolivian Minister of Communications Amanda Dávila reported yesterday that the United States government had violated the Andean nation’s sovereignty by conducting a covert military operation in the country between June and September of 2012.
The operation, allegedly financed by the U.S. Department of Defense (though other sources cite the U.S. State Department as the financial backer), “consisted of sending researchers [to Bolivia] to conduct experiments regarding the adaptation of soldiers to high altitudes”, according to Dávila.
She continued: “This constitutes not just interference, but a violation of our national sovereignty as well. It amounts to an invasion, seeing as it was conducted for military purposes.”
The investigation was led by U.S. scientist Robert Corwine Roach, Jr., director of the Altitude Research Center based in Aurora, Colorado. He and 23 other researchers, dressed as civilians, presented themselves as tourists to Bolivian Immigration upon arrival in the capital, La Paz.
The experiments were conducted from 12th June to 15th September on the mountain Chacaltaya on the outskirts of La Paz, approximately 5,200 metres above sea level. Bolivian authorities affirm that the researchers were sent to study the effects of high altitudes on soldiers to be sent to conflict areas such as Afghanistan.
Washington has claimed that the delegation was sent for scientific and touristic purposes.
Government Minister Carlos Romero stated “This is a colonialist and imperialist action, considering that they [the U.S.] can enter a territory and do as they see fit.”
The incident is one of the many that Bolivian authorities claim as evidence of U.S. interference in the country’s internal affairs, and which they plan to present to President Barack Obama.