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Cablegate: Morales Bashes Goldberg Pinata One More Time

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P 311641Z DEC 08
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C O N F I D E N T I A L LA PAZ 002670

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2019
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PREL PINR OPDC OPRC BL
SUBJECT: MORALES BASHES GOLDBERG PINATA ONE MORE TIME

Classified By: Acting EcoPol Chief Brian Quigley for reasons 1.4 (b, d)

1. (C) Summary: Meeting with cabinet on December 30 to
evaluate his third year in office, Bolivian President Evo
Morales justified once again his decision to expel Ambassador
Philip S. Goldberg. Morales noted that with the departure of
Ambassador Goldberg, the political opposition had "bottomed
out," and concluded that Goldberg was "clearly commanding the
conspiracy against democracy" in Bolivia. Morales went on to
praise Bolivia's efforts against narco-trafficking, calling
Bolivia the "most outstanding country in Latin America" in
the fight against drugs. Nevertheless, Morales restated his
hope that bilateral relations would improve under
President-elect Obama. Post questions Morales' logic, but
understands that in the face of declining natural gas prices
and corruption scandals within his administration, Morales
needs to distract domestic attention by using the U.S. as his
strawman once again. End summary.

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Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot
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2. (U) In a year-end meeting December 30 to evaluate his
third year in office, President Evo Morales took time to
validate and celebrate his decision on September 11 to expel
Ambassador Philip Goldberg, whom he accused of leading a
conspiracy to topple the Morales regime. "After suffering
that attack of the (political) right, of the empire, I was
not wrong in that moment when I decided the Ambassador had to
leave. The Ambassador leaves, the opposition bottoms out --
clearly someone was commanding the conspiracy against
democracy, even against the national government itself."

3. (U) Morales went on to accuse the Bush administration of
violating its international commitments in the fight against
narco-trafficking, saying Bolivia "is the most outstanding
country in Latin America in the fight against drug
trafficking." Local press reports and even the government's
own media service noted that the precipitous fall in
relations had been exacerbated by Morales' "personal
decision" to suspend Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
activities in the country. The official media service went a
step further, adding that Morales also suspended CIA
activity, and that the U.S. brought the suspension on itself
by "meddling in internal affairs." Despite his attacks on
Ambassador Goldberg, the Bush administration, and the "empire
of the north" generally, Morales was quick to state once
again that bilateral relations would be re-evaluated once
President-elect Obama was in office.

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Comment
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4. (C) True to form, Morales' mention of declaring Ambassador
Goldberg persona non grata grabbed media attention and
distracted focus from more pressing matters, including the
Quintana corruption scandal, the falling price of natural gas
(and with it the possible reduction of Morales' popular Renta
Dignidad program), and his recent admission that some
cocaleros are selling their coca to be processed into
cocaine. As illogical as Morales' diatribes arguments are,
as long as he can get mileage out of such attacks, the
administration will continue to spread its vitriol.
LAMBERT

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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