President Evo Morales, speaking before a cheering crowd of coca-growers, announced Nov. 1 that he is suspending “until further notice” the operations of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Bolivia, accusing the agency of spying and encouraging anti-government protests. He did not say whether DEA staff would expelled from the country, as demanded by coca-growers.
“From today all the activities of the US DEA are suspended indefinitely,” the Bolivian leader said in Chimore, in the coca-growing region of Chaparé. “Personnel from the DEA supported activities of the unsuccessful coup d’etat in Bolivia,” he added, referring to the September unrest. “We have the obligation to defend the dignity and sovereignty of the Bolivian people.”
Morales also accused DEA agents of “political espionage” and “financing criminal groups so that they could act against authorities, even the president.” Making his announcement, Morales also declared that his government had eradicated more than 5,000 hectares of illegally planted coca. (BBC News, Reuters, Nov. 1)
See our last post on Bolivia.