|Bolivian President Evo Morales: “They repressed us in Bolivia. That has ended.”|
The president and vice president of Bolivia both said this week that American drug agents will not be returning to their country, despite the newly announced normalization of diplomatic relations with the United States.
Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Tuesday during a regional summit in Bogota, the Colombian capital, that it is a question of “dignity and sovereignty,” reports Vivian Sequera at the Huffington Post.
Morales, as a coca growers’ union leader before his 2005 election, said he was “personally a victim” because U.S. drug agents controlled Bolivia’s military and police.
Bolivia’s narcotics officers, working closely with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, often struggled with coca growers, and they once beat him unconscious, Morales said.
“They repressed us in Bolivia,” Morales said. “That has ended.”
“For the first time since Bolivia was founded, the United States will now respect Bolivia’s rules,” Morales said.
|Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera: The DEA “was a mechanism of political blackmail” and is not welcome back|
The DEA “was a mechanism of political blackmail,” according to Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, and is not welcome back in Bolivia, reports Fox News.
Garcia did not further explain his statement to reporters.
Bolivia and the U.S. signed an agreement on Monday to restore full diplomatic ties three years after the South American nation’s leftist government threw the U.S. ambassador and the DEA out of the country for allegedly inciting the opposition.
President Morales said on Tuesday that he still considers the ambassador he expelled in September 2008, Philip Goldberg, to have been “a conspirator.” Less than two months later, he threw the DEA out of the country for good measure.
The U.S. government denies the Bolivian government’s allegations that Goldberg worked to unseat Morales, an Aymara Indian raised in poverty in the country’s windswept highlands.
The agreement calls for the restoration of ambassadors, but does not set a date.
Bolivia is the world’s number three producer of cocaine. Drug agents say cocaine production has risen there since the DEA was expelled, with Mexican and Colombian traffickers moving in and building more sophisticated processing labs.