President Evo Morales said Wednesday that he is expelling the
Morales' announcement came hours after a pipeline blast triggered by saboteurs forced the country to cut natural gas exports to
"Without fear of the empire, I declare the
"We don't want separatists, divisionists,"
Morales' close ally President Hugo Chavez of
The Bolivian leader did not offer specific evidence against Goldberg, but he has long accused the diplomat of conspiring with
In June, the government terminated USAID programs in the coca-growing Chapare region aimed at weaning farmers off the crop from which cocaine is produced. Farmers there had faulted the programs as heavy-handed and ineffectual.
Goldberg met last week with Ruben Costas, one of Morales' most virulent opponents. Costas is governor of
Anti-Morales protests reached a crescendo on Tuesday with the sacking and burning of government offices in
Anti-government activists also seized several natural gas installations in the east.
At one, in the eastern
No injuries were reported in what state energy company president Santos Ramirez called "a terrorist attack."
The government immediately ordered additional troops to
The pipeline blast reduced by 3 million the 30 million cubic meters of gas
Any supply interruption could have serious consequences for
Ramirez said it would take 15 to 20 days to repair the pipeline at a cost of US$100 million. He said
Morales' opponents in the east are seeking a greater share of revenues from natural gas —
Morales has devoted much of those revenues to programs that benefit the poor and elderly. He has called the protests a "civil coup."
Opposition leader Branko Marinkovic, the owner of large land holdings in soy-growing
The proposed new constitution, which would give indigenous groups greater control of their traditional lands and make it easier for the government to redistribute fallow land, was approved by a special assembly last year amid an opposition boycott.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on Thursday his decision to expel the
At a rally in Puereto Cabello port, central part of the country, Chavez said he would immediately withdraw his ambassador from
Chavez said that U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy is no longer welcome, just as his close ally
"They're trying to do here what they were doing in
Chavez said, "We will send an ambassador when there is a new government in the
((Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
Chavez announced the decision to oust Duddy hours after saying his government had uncovered a plot to overthrow him and detained a number of conspirators.
In a live broadcast shown on television stations Thursday, Chavez played audio recordings he said were of retired military officers discussing plans to bomb the Miraflores Palace, headquarters of the national government, and kill the president.
Chavez accused the
According to reports reaching here from
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States is expelling the Venezuelan ambassador to the United States in response to a similar move by Venezuela, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses supporters Thursday outside the presidential palace in Caracas.
"We have informed the Venezuelan ambassador to the United States that he will be expelled and should leave the United States," McCormack said.
Separately, the U.S. Treasury Department accused Friday two senior Venezuelan intelligence officials -- Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios and Henry de Jesus Rangel Silva -- and one former official -- Ramon Rodriguez Chacin -- of assisting leftist rebels in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, with narcotics trafficking.
"Today's designation exposes two senior Venezuelan government officials and one former official who armed, abetted and funded the FARC, even as it terrorized and kidnapped innocents," said Adam J. Szubin, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, in a statement.
The action freezes assets the three men may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits Americans from conducting business with them.
The U.S. decision to expel the Venezuelan ambassador, Bernardo Alvarez Herrera, is the latest move in an escalating diplomatic battle that pits the United States against two of Latin America's leftist leaders.
It comes a day after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that he was expelling the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy. Chavez also said he was recalling the Venezuelan ambassador from the United States.
"He has 72 hours, from this moment, the Yankee ambassador in Caracas, to leave Venezuela," Chavez told a crowd of supporters. "When there's a new government in the United States, we'll send an ambassador. A government that respects Latin America."
The president said he was making the moves "in solidarity with Bolivia and the people of Bolivia."
Bolivian President Evo Morales on Thursday accused the United States of fomenting a coup d'etat by rich eastern department landowners against him, and he called for the U.S. ambassador to leave for allegedly encouraging those protesters.
For the past two weeks, the demonstrators in the country's richer eastern lowlands have been protesting Morales' plans to redistribute the country's natural gas revenues.
"Without fear of anyone, without fear of the empire, today before you, before the Bolivian people, I declare the ambassador of the United States persona non grata," Morales said Wednesday of Ambassador Philip Goldberg in a nationally televised speech.
The United States called the allegations baseless and kicked out the Bolivian ambassador Thursday.
The Bolivians "made it very clear what their intention was and we took them at their word," McCormack said Friday. "We take President Chavez at his word in this particular case, and we have reacted appropriately."
Before expelling the U.S. diplomat from his country, Chavez also said Thursday that he had uncovered a U.S.-backed plot to remove him from power.
"It's the empire that's behind this," he told supporters in a televised address. "They go around looking for a way to stop our revolution and, with it, to strike all the processes of change that are occurring in our Americas, in the Caribbean, in Central America."
Chavez then played a four-minute tape of what he said were conversations among current and retired members of the Venezuelan military discussing whom they could count on to support a movement against the presidential palace.He said also that the presence of two Russian warplanes on Venezuelan soil for a training exercise "is a warning" to the rest of the world that Venezuela's allies include Russia.
TEGUCIGALPA, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Honduras, a former U.S. ally in Central America now run by a leftist government, told a U.S. envoy not to present his credentials as ambassador on Friday in a diplomatic snub in support of Bolivia.
Bolivia and anti-U.S. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are in a fight with Washington over what they see as U.S. support for violent protests against Bolivian President Evo Morales.
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who has moved the country closer to Chavez, was due to receive a new U.S. ambassador on Friday in a ceremony at which the envoy would present a letter with his diplomatic credentials.
But Zelaya temporarily put off the event in support of Bolivia, a government source said.
"The government decided to temporarily suspend the reception of the new ambassador's letter of credentials in solidarity with Bolivian President Evo Morales," the source said. The snub means that envoy Hugo Llorens is not officially U.S. ambassador.
The United States imposed sanctions on aides to Venezuela's Chavez on Friday in retaliation for his expulsion of the U.S. ambassador, escalating a crisis that raises the specter of a possible oil supply cutoff.
Bolivia and the United States expelled their respective ambassadors earlier this week after Morales accused Washington of supporting the opposition in the Andean country.
Violent anti-government protests have killed eight people in Bolivia, where rightist governors have rebelled against the popular president, demanding autonomy and rejecting his plans to overhaul the constitution and break up ranches to give land to poor Indians. (Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; editing by David Wiessler)
Fri, 12 Sep 2008
By Arash Zahedi, Press TV, Tehran
Bolivian President Evo Morales
Press TV: We understand there is an indigenous majority in
Bourne: Yes, this really is the key to the problem in Bolivia. We have always had historically the majority indigenous population dominated by the more wealthy minority. Finally democracy prevailed and a representative in the form of Evo Morales was elected to lead the country, and he was the first representative of the large indigenous population of the country.
So it was an achievement for social justice. It unfortunately upset the vested power interest in the country particularly American corporate interests.
Press TV: Evo Morales says the US ambassador was behind the issues of separatism in this country. In what ways do you think the US ambassador might have tried to contribute to a breakup of Bolivia?
Bourne: Well, I think there was resentment by the group particularly those based in Santa Cruz who were not primarily from the indigenous background. They wanted to secede and essentially create an autonomous area.
They pushed hard with US backing for a referendum calling for the revocation, an ouster of President Morales.
That vote was lost, Morales won and I think the US was then forced to resort to other ways to stir up trouble to create instability and I am sure they hope to see this lead to the overthrow of the president.
Press TV: Do you think the US is planning to remove the government of Evo Morales as it tried to do so in Venezuela in 2002 and did so in Iran in 1953, in Guatemala in 1954 and in Chile in 1973?
Bourne: Well, I think, these are different times now. In Guatemala they were able to use direct military force to overthrow the democratically-elected president and there were major operations by the CIA in Chile to overthrow the democratically-elected president there.
So it's quite a different circumstance. Evo Morales is moving very rapidly to bring healthcare and education to the people of Bolivia.
I think he has very strong public support, and he has the backing of other countries in the region, particularly Venezuela.
So I think it would be increasingly difficult for the US to overthrow him and that is not to say they will not try.
How many Times does the American Government have to be told to BACK OFF?
Seems to be a lot of that going on lately and they should pay attention. They are not welcome anymore. They always bring their wars where ever they go. They take whatever they want. They are like pirates on the open seas of the old days.