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  HOME | Bolivia

Bolivian Leader Threatens to Expel US Diplomat

LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Tuesday that he is prepared to order the top US diplomat in La Paz to leave the country if the embassy persists in a “conspiracy” against the government of the Andean nation.

“If they continue conspiring, if they continue financing the right, if they continue planning a conspiracy, I will not hesitate to expel the charge d’affaires at the United States Embassy,” the president said at an event in the western mining town of Llallagua.

“The right has no idea” how to attack his administration, Morales said, accusing the US Embassy in La Paz of being behind recent allegations made against current and former members of the government.

The Bolivian opposition has criticized Interior Minister Carlos Romero for ostensible connections with soccer executive Pablo Ramos Lima, currently behind bars for embezzlement.

And a former finance minister, Luis Arce, has found himself in the crosshairs over $5.4 million that went missing from state-owned Banco Union.

“Poor minister, ex-minister, ill. The right has no compassion, they are like savages, they wish only to punish,” Morales said of the attacks on Arce, who resigned from office to battle cancer.

In 2008, Morales expelled US Ambassador Philip Goldberg and ordered the US Drug Enforcement Administration out of Bolivia.

Morales, the first indigenous head of state of this Indian-majority country, cited the ambassador’s meetings with secession-minded provincial governors and the use of a DEA aircraft to transport opposition leaders.

Denying any wrongdoing by its officials, the US likewise expelled the Bolivian ambassador and bilateral relations have remained at the level of charge d’affaires since then.

Five years later, Morales threw out the US Agency for International Development, accusing USAID of meddling in Bolivian domestic politics.

While Washington rejected the allegation of political interference as “baseless and unfounded,” declassified documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act showed that between 2002 and 2013, USAID invested more than $97 million in a project designed to “serve as a counterweight to (Morales’) radical MAS (party) or its successors.”

 

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