Bolivian President Evo Morales, defending his decision to expel the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), said the agency was actually involved in the drug traffic, and “did not respect the police, or even the [Bolivian] armed forces.” Announcing that the staff from the US agency has three months to leave the country, he added: “The worst thing is, it did not fight drug trafficking; it encouraged it.” He said he had “quite a bit of evidence” backing up his charges. Morales 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 accused the agency of spying on and even killing cocaleros and other opponents of US policies.
Presidential Minister Juan Ramon Quintana presented a series of documents and press clips at a news conference, which he described as “objective data” that had influenced Morales’ decision to suspend DEA activities. 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,” Quintana said. (AFP, Dec. 11)
Bolivia Social Defense Vice Minister Felipe Caceres said the DEA had been operating in Bolivia without an official agreement. He said the DEA acted as it pleased for over 30 years, because no Bolivian administration dared to make the US to sign an agreement. He said a secret DEA office in Cochabamba had been discovered, which the agency had never reported to the Bolivian government. He said the office, uncovered over the weekend, had been recently abandoned, with only furniture left behind in disorder. An adjacent gym used by the agents had been stripped of its equipment. (Prensa Latina, Dec. 8)
See our last post on Bolivia.
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