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Morales: Relations with U.S. 'like a turd'

Published October 12, 2012 11:44 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

La Paz, Bolivia • Evo Morales has never tried to curry favor with Washington.

Now Bolivia's first indigenous president has marked the 520th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World with a characteristic jab at the United States.

Morales said Friday during a ceremony marking "Decolonization Day" that relations with the U.S. Embassy in La Paz have become so bad they are "like a turd." He recalled how previous Bolivian governments would seek Washington's blessing on key appointments, including interior minister and police and armed forces chiefs.

No longer. That all changed after Morales, a longtime coca growers' union leader, took office in 2006.

Two years later, he kicked out U.S. drug agents and Washington's ambassador, accusing them of inciting the opposition.

U.S. counterdrug cooperation has since been radically reduced.