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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-27-08 04:52 PM
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Bolivia calls U.S. trade move "political vengeance"
Bolivia calls U.S. trade move "political vengeance"
Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:46pm EST
By Carlos Quiroga

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivian President Evo Morales accused the United States on Thursday of "political vengeance" for suspending the Andean nation's special trade benefits on grounds that it has not cooperated in fighting drugs.

Morales cited U.N. data to assert that Bolivia did a better job than Colombia and Peru in controlling the cultivation of coca, the main ingredient used to make cocaine.

Those two countries and Ecuador continue to benefit from the Andean Trade Preference Act and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, ATPA and ATPDEA, which grant most of their goods duty-free status for entry into the United States.

"It's totally false that the Bolivian government did not comply," Morales told a news conference.

He said U.N. reports showed coca crops had expanded to cover nearly 250,000 acres in Colombia in 2007 and more than 124,000 acres in Peru, while in Bolivia coca-growing area was roughly stable at 69,200 acres.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-27-08 05:39 PM
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1. It's time to make amends with Bolivia
It's time to make amends with Bolivia
November 27, 2008

Evo Morales knows about "change you can believe in." He also knows what happens when a powerful elite is forced to make changes it doesn't want.

Morales is the first indigenous president of Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. He was inaugurated in January 2006. Against tremendous internal opposition, he nationalized Bolivia's natural-gas fields, transforming the country's economic stability and, interestingly, enriching the very elite that originally criticized the move.

Yet last September, the backlash came to a peak. In an interview in New York recently, Morales told me: "The opposition, the right-wing parties ... decided to do a violent coup. ... They couldn't do it."

In response, presidents from South American nations met in Chile for an emergency summit, led by the two women presidents, Michelle Bachelet of Chile and Cristina Kirchner of Argentina. The group issued a statement condemning the violence and supporting Morales.

Morales continued in our interview: "The reason why I'm here in the U.S.: I want to express my respect to the international community, because everybody condemned the coup against democracy to the rule of law everybody but the U.S., but the ambassador of the U.S. It's incredible."

After the attempted coup, Morales ejected U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, declaring, "He is conspiring against democracy and seeking the division of Bolivia." Morales went on: "He used to call me the Andean bin Laden. And the coca growers, he used to call them Taliban. ... Permanently, from the State Department of the U.S., I have been accused of being a drug trafficker and a terrorist. And even now that I'm president, that continues on the part of the embassy. I know it does not come from the American people."

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