Bolivia and U.S. Agree to Reestablish Trust to Overcome Disagreements

Evo Morales meets with Thomas Shannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

Bolivia and US agree to reestablish trust to overcome disagreements

Meetings to discuss US assistance for Bolivian development will continue

La Paz, July 23. Bolivia and the United States agreed today to reestablish mutual trust to overcome differences that have arisen in the past several months, after a meeting lasting more than two hours between President Evo Morales and Thomas Shannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

“Our goal is to create a more trustworthy, cooperative, and collaborative environment. We both agree that the only conspiracy afoot in our bilateral relations is the conspiracy against poverty, against inequality and social exclusion,” said Shannon.

The U.S. officer, received by the president early in the morning at Quemado Palace, was accompanied by Ambassador Philip Goldberg, accused by Morales of conspiracy against his administration along with the American agency USAID; Morales has presented evidence on the case.

At the meeting with Morales, his Chancellor David Choquehuaca, and other ministers, Shannon did not respond directly to the president’s accusations. But in a subsequent press conference, he defended Goldberg’s work in the country, indicating, “We could not have a better ambassador in La Paz. He is a very respected diplomat in Washington.”

Shannon was grateful for the time and “good will of President Morales and his administration” during the meeting. He spoke of an agreed-upon “consultation plan” to be followed subsequently by Chancellor Choquehuanca, Goldberg, and Ambassador Guzmán in Washington.

That context, he added, will be used to discuss American aid for Bolivian economic development, the war on drugs, deepening “commercial relations in all aspects,” and also cooperating in judicial areas “and other institutional aspects.”

Chancellor Choquehunca said that Bolivia does not reject American aid and commented on the possibility of the country co-aiding in the Evo Cumple program, which he described as transparently operated, currently funded by Venezuela. But, he emphasized, all cooperative programs must be redefined.

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