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The US Ambassador to Bolivia has told the Bolivian people not to vote for the indigenous Indian candidate for the Movement for Socialism (MAS), Evo Morales Ayma. If he is elected next Sunday, the USA will suspend economic aid and will review its agreements.
Manuel Rocha, the US Ambassador to La Paz, made it clear that the USA does not view Evo Morales Ayma as a valid candidate. “I would like to remind the Bolivian people that if they elect those who want Bolivia to become an important exporter of cocaine, this result will place in danger the future aid that the USA gives to Bolivia,” he declared on Wednesday on a visit to Chimore, where an airport was being inaugurated. This attack comes after numerous speeches by Morales Ayma against the USA. Ex-member of Parliament, he defends the traditional Indian way of living and is against the policy of massive destruction of traditional cultures, instigated by the USA. Morales is backed by left-wing intellectuals and defends a position which attacks neo-liberalism and social exclusion. As a result, Ambassador Rocha declared that the USA will suspend the programme to import Bolivian gas and textiles, crucial for this country’s economy. Morales Ayma, currently running fourth in the presidential election opinion polls, retorted that the USA “continues to violate the sovereignty and dignity of the people of Bolivia”. He called the comments by Ambassador Rocha “terrorist and arbitrary because it is an attempt to stop the people reaching the places which until now have been reserved for the traditional parties”. However, it is not likely that Morales Ayma will win the election. Running in first place in the polls is Manuel Reyes Villa, mayor of Bolivia’s second city, Cochabamba, accused by the Union of Political Prisoners of having used torture when he was serving as a captain in the Bolivian army.
Whoever wins, and however abhorrent is the prospect of a person linked to the culture of drugs running a country’s administration, it does not seem politically correct for a state of law to wave economic aid agreements around before elections like a carrot before the donkey. The people of Bolivia are perfectly capable of choosing who they want for their president and they will choose the person they think will best represent them.
It is worth noting that US Ambassador Rocha represents an administration [referring to the Bush Administration] which was not voted in by a majority of the population.
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