The vice-president of Bolivia, Álvaro García Linera, announced today that there is a latent risk the U.S. will invade his country on the pretext of an increase in drug trafficking, as occurred in Panama 20 years ago.
Due to President Evo Morales's visit to New York, the acting head of state affirmed in a press conference that the invasion is "a possibility," because, he said, the U.S. "doesn't accept" that Bolivia has decided to develop itself "without bosses or tutelage."
"Since our country is re-taking the path of dignity there are governments that don't like that, and they are going to look for a way to make us want to give in, and one of the ways is trying to stigmatize us with the label of drug-trafficking," said Linero.
The vice-president met with coca-leaf producers Monday to warn them that "there are foreign powers that use any pretext to silence the people," and he asked that they join the government in its struggle against drug trafficking and the eradication of illegal drug plantations.
Alluding to Panama, he said that, "already a brother country was invaded by American troops 20 years ago under the stigma of drug trafficking."
He added that the same occurred in Iraq, where American troops implanted themselves with the excuse that it had weapons of mass destruction, in order to "take possession of" its natural resources.
The relations between Bolivia and the U.S. have deteriorated since Morales assumed the presidency for the first time in 2006, and they suffered their worst moment in 2008 when their respective ambassadors were expelled.
Morales said yesterday in New York that "it will be difficult" to improve relations with the U.S. because President Barack Obama "discriminates" and excludes Bolivia from programs of cooperation.
Linera noted yesterday in La Paz that the "key" to good relations is that the American government "respect" the sovereignty of Bolivia and "understand" that this country "has chosen its own destiny."
Source: Univision news, translation by Michael K. Smith
-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "The Madness of King George" and "Portraits of Empire," with Common Courage Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org