bolivian president says dea encourages drug trafficking

bolivian president says dea encourages drug traffickingfrom afp: The United States on Friday rejected as “patently absurd” charges by Bolivian President Evo Morales that the US government is encouraging drug-trafficking in Bolivia.

“The charges that have been made are just patently absurd,” State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood told the daily press briefing in Washington. “We reject them categorically.”

In La Paz on Thursday, Morales accused the US government of encouraging drug-trafficking as he explained his decision to banish the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Wood said the Bolivian government will only hurt its own people.

“The United States has had good cooperation with the Bolivian government over 35 years with regard to counter-narcotics cooperation… Should the Bolivian government decide to sever its working relationship with us with regard to counter-narcotics, it’s going to impact the Bolivian people… And we’re going to continue to look for ways to do what we can to counter the narcotics in the region,” he said.

Morales, a staunch opponent of the Washington government, said the staff from the US agency had three months to prepare to leave the country, because “the DEA did not respect the police, or even the (Bolivian) armed forces.”

“The worst thing is, it did not fight drug trafficking; It encouraged it,” the Bolivian leader said, adding that he had “quite a bit of evidence” backing up his charges.

Presidential Minister Juan Ramon Quintana presented a series of documents and press clippings at a news conference, which he described as “object data” that had influenced Morales’ decision to suspend DEA activities last week.

Quintana said Morales was ready to present the evidence to incoming US president Barack Obama “to prove the illegality, abuse and arrogance of the DEA in Bolivia.”