LA PAZ, Bolivia – Keep your money. If it comes with political conditions, we'd prefer not to have it.
That’s the message being sent to Washington by some countries receiving U.S. development assistance.
In September, Bolivian President Evo Morales ordered the U.S. Agency for International Development to end so-called “democracy” programs in the country, saying those programs — aimed at training groups in democracy and human rights — were simply an effort to undermine the country’s socialist economic and political reforms.
Previously, he had ordered USAID to stop its coca eradication programs in a region known as the Chapare, where most of Bolivia’s coca (the main ingredient in cocaine) is cultivated. American officials say coca production and cocaine exports have increased since 2005, when Morales was elected. Morales also expelled U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg for meeting with opposition leaders, and threw the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) out of the country.
The kerfluffle has put the Obama administration in the awkward position of having to negotiate the terms under which it can donate money to Bolivia….
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