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Bolivia: Morales keeps DEA out

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Bolivia and the US agreed to restore diplomatic relations on Nov. 7, three years after President Evo Morales expelled the US ambassador and then, weeks later, the DEA force in the Andean country. This was the first of several times since then that Morales has accused the US of plotting against him. In announcing the move to restore ties, Morales emphasized that the DEA would not be allowed back in his country. Morales said that he himself had been a "victim" of the DEA as a coca grower. He called the DEA’s exclusion from Bolivia a question of "dignity and sovereignty."

"For the first time since the foundation of Bolivia, the US will respect Bolivian laws and constitution," Morales said on a visit to Colombia. "The subordination and subjection is over."

The sentiment was echoed by Vice President Alvaro García Linera. Calling the drug agency a "mechanism of political blackmail," he said: "The DEA is not coming back to Bolivia. We don’t need it. With difficulty but with growing strength our police, our intelligence services and our armed forces are fighting against drug trafficking." (BBC News, Nov, 8)

The pact calls for the restoration of ambassadors as soon as possible. But Morales said that he still considers the ambassador he expelled in September 2008, Philip Goldberg, to have been "a conspirator." (AP, Nov. 9)

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