Evo: Bolivia won’t “kneel down” to US on drug war

On Oct. 15, Bolivian President Evo Morales voiced defiance in the face of Washington threats to remove Bolivia’s trade preferences as a punitive measure for failing to meet US narcotics enforcement standards. “We can’t kneel down for $63 million,” said Morales during the opening in La Paz of a textile factory that will be run by workers. The US Congress voted last week that Peru and Colombia—South America’s top coca producers—will benefit for another year from the trade preferences. Bolivia and Ecuador were provisionally approved for only six months, which can be extended for another six with Congressional approval.

Washington did not cut off Bolivian anti-narcotics aid, but President Bush cited the country’s “decertification” to recommend suspending the special exemption from US tariffs under the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA). In the case of Ecuador, Congress cited an unfavorable investment climate. Last month, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa expelled Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, blaming it for faulty construction of the San Francisco hydroelectric dam. (Periodico 26, Cuba, Oct. 16; Latin America Business Chronicle, Oct. 13; Textile World, Oct. 7; AP, Oct. 4)

See our last post on Bolivia.