DEA Complicit in Drug Trade, says Morales
- DEA Complicit in Drug Trade, says Morales
Thursday November 6, 2008
Morales says evidence will be presented to President Obama
Bolivian leader Evo Morales on Thursday accused the US government of
encouraging drug-trafficking as he explained his decision to banish
the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Morales, a staunch opponent of the Washington government, said the
staff from the US agency had three months to prepare to leave the
country, because "the DEA did not respect the police, or even the
(Bolivian) armed forces."
"The worst thing is, it did not fight drug trafficking; It encouraged
it," the Bolivian leader said, adding that he had "quite a bit of
evidence" backing up his charges.
Presidential Minister Juan Ramon Quintana presented a series of
documents and press clippings at a news conference, which he
described as "object data" that had influenced Morales' decision to
suspend DEA activities last week.
Quintana said Morales was ready to present the evidence to incoming
US president Barack Obama "to prove the illegality, abuse and
arrogance of the DEA in Bolivia."
Throughout the 1990s, the DEA in Bolivia "bribed police officers,
violated human rights, covered up murders, destroyed bridges and
roads," said Quintana.
Morales earlier Thursday said that after a 1986 operation in
Huanchaca National Park, it was determined that the largest cocaine
processing plant "was under DEA protection."
He also charged that the DEA had investigated political and union
leaders opposed to neoliberal economic policies, which he said
amounted to political persecution.
On Wednesday, he had accused the DEA of shooting and killing
Bolivians during their anti-drug operations, including members of the
coca farmers' movement.
Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, has served as the
leader of the Bolivian coca-growers union. The coca plant, from which
cocaine is derived, has many uses in traditional Andean culture.
The Bolivian leader announced last Saturday he was suspending the
work of the DEA in the impoverished Andean nation, and accused it of
having encouraged political unrest that killed 19 people in September.
"From today all the activities of the US DEA are suspended
indefinitely," the Bolivian leader had said in the coca-growing
region of Chimore, in the central province of Chapare, where he was
evaluating efforts to combat drug trafficking.
The DEA has denied Morales' accusations.
US President George W. Bush, in a finding released in September,
added Bolivia to a list of countries that have "failed demonstrably"
in anti-drugs cooperation.
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