Bolivia’s Evo Morales seeks “improved relations” with Obama White House

Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, in Washington DC for an OAS meeting Nov. 19, drew parallels between himself and US President-elect Barack Obama: “Who would have believed 10 or 15 years ago that I could become president of Bolivia? Who would have believed 20 or 30 years ago that a black man could become president of the United States?” He made his comments before the OAS special session, speaking in Spanish.

Days earlier, after speaking before the UN General Assembly in New York, Morales said: “My interest is how to improve relations with the new president. I think we could have a lot of things in common. If we talk about change I have some experience now. I think it would be good to share experiences with the new president-elect.” He called for relations based on “respect from one government to another.”

Morales, whose presence sparked a protest outside the OAS meeting, said he would not relent on his decision to suspend DEA operations in Bolivia. “The DEA will not return while I am still president,” he said. (WP, Nov. 20; Reuters, Nov. 17)

Morales made similar remarks upon Obama’s election.

See our last post on Evo’s Bolivia.

  1. Did US ambassador Osama-bait Evo?
    From Amy Goodman‘s syndicated column, Nov. 20, emphasis added:

    Bolivia’s Morales offers his hand in peace
    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 this week, Morales told me: “The opposition, the right-wing parties … decided to do a violent coup. … They couldn’t do it.”


    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.”