Bolivian President Evo Morales has said that US anti-drug agents are not welcome back in his country, despite an agreement to restore diplomatic ties.
Mr Morales said that he himself had been a “victim” of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a coca growers’ union leader.
The DEA’s exclusion from Bolivia was a question of “dignity and sovereignty”.
Bolivia and the US agreed to restore relations on Monday, three years after Mr Morales expelled the US ambassador.
Although details of the deal signed in Washington have not been made public, sources on both sides have said there was an agreement to exchange ambassadors as soon as possible and to work together to combat drug trafficking.
But Mr Morales stressed that the improvement in relations would not mean the return of the DEA.
He expelled DEA agents in 2008 along with US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, accusing them of conspiring against his government – charges the US has always rejected.
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Morales is doing the right thing on two fronts.
Firstly, the US needs to face its drug problem at home, not overseas blaming everyone else and not themselves, just like the classroom bully.
Secondly, after recent disclosures of the US government’s duplicity in many areas, Morales suspicions are well founded.