Bolivia: plot to assassinate Evo Morales?

“Extreme right” opposition elements planned to assassinate Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, the government claims. News of the plot was revealed Dec. 23 by Government Minister Alfredo Rada, who said the assassination was due to be carried out at in a mass rally in Chaparé, one of the president’s strongholds. Rada said “they planned to use a campesino to disorientate the security forces who guard the president.”

Rada claimed the plot was uncovered a couple of weeks ago, and observers noted there was increased security at a huge rally over weekend in Cochabamba, where Morales declared Bolivia free of illiteracy. News of the plot had been kept secret until Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez discussed it on his regular TV show, “Alo, Presidente.” The Bolivian government was reluctant to reveal further details. Rada said “that would affect the course of the investigation and might aid those behind this attempt.” (The Telegraph, AP, Dec. 23)

Morales said Dec. 23 he hopes relations with the US will improve after Barack Obama takes office, and urged the US president-elect to forge a new relationship with Latin America. “If I were Obama, the first day of my presidency I’d lift the economic blockade on Cuba,” Morales said. Having expelled the US ambassador earlier this year, Morales said, “I’m really hopeful… We need the United States although maybe they don’t need Bolivia.” He told foreign reporters in La Paz that ending the Cuba embargo and withdrawing troops from Iraq would pave the way for Obama to become a true “world leader.” (Reuters, Dec. 23)

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