It didn't take long for the newly elected Bolivian President to intensify his verbal attacks against the United States. But the new Bolivian leader, an avowed Socialist and friend of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba, is going even further than rhetoric. He's threatening to take action against the US.
President Evo Morales, according to a news story in the Washington Times, leveled allegations at the United States that its advisors secretly removed Chinese-made anti-aircraft missiles from Bolivia. US military and law enforcement personnel serve as advisors to the Bolivians in their drug control activities and counterterrorism training.
Morales, an Indian and former coca farmer, has pledged to end United States drug eradication programs in the country. The US had been invited to help Bolivian authorities by the previous administration which was more centrist than the incoming neo-Marxists. A Morales campaign promise to legalize coca plant cultivation is expected to increase cocaine production in the region.
Bolivia's new President is leader of the Movement to Socialism (MAS). He was quoted in press reports this week as saying he would evict US military advisers from Bolivia and punish those responsible for the removal from the country this year of 28 HN-SA hand-held surface-to-air missiles (SAM).
The missiles are similar to the U.S. "Stinger" missiles used by Afghan insurgents with devastating effectiveness against low-flying Russian aircraft during the Russian invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
"I will press for a full investigation to establish responsibilities. We cannot tolerate international intervention," Mr. Morales was quoted as saying of the missile incident.