Evo: US Embassy is Targeting Bolivian Union Leaders
Evo Morales has warned the Bolivian government that the United States is spying on and targeting him and other union leaders of the 6 Federations of the Trópico of Cochabamba. The 6 Federations is made up of the indigenous campesino unions which form the bastion of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) and Evo Morales is the President of this union confederation.
The rest of the region’s union leaders also spoke out today, stating that they have received information about a smear campaign being prepared by the US embassy against them.
“Our government should control those people who are spying on us, for the safety of the people. It is the government’s job. We cannot be persecuted by the right and the US embassy, they cannot continue to persecute us”, said Evo Morales on his weekly Sunday morning interview with our parent outlet, Radio Kawsachun Coca.
Senator Leonardo Loza, who is also the leader of the Chimoré Federation (one of the 6 Federations), reiterated the message in a press conference: “It’s not just Evo Morales: Andrónico (President of the Senate), and myself have received threats. We’re not sure if they are rogue elements of the police, or the US embassy itself, but we’re being constantly followed.”
Loza’s comments were followed by a joint press conference of all leaders of the 6 Federations. “We want to communicate that in the last few months, we have received constant attacks from the US Embassy, the Bolivian opposition, and the DEA. They failed to divide our unions, and now they’re targeting our leaders. We have received official information that they are organizing false flag operations against union leaders,” they stated.
In recent weeks, reports by the DEA have criticized Bolivia’s approach to tackling drug production, despite the fact that Bolivia produces far fewer quantities of coca leaf and cocaine than Peru and Colombia, two countries in which the DEA operates. The DEA has long been expelled from Bolivia due to human rights abuses carried out during the neoliberal period.
Union leaders addressed the claims, saying, “We are exporting banana, pineapple, palm heart, and now fish, and yes, we produce coca for those who chew it across the whole country (an ancestral practice).”
In a previous interview with Kawsachun News, Bolivia’s Vice Minister for Controlled Substances, laid out the importance of expelling the United States to more effectively fight drug trafficking, saying:
“Thanks to the nationalization of the fight against narcotrafficking, we no longer have groups of international organized crime within the country. We’ve done this by drawing up a policy within the country and working alongside those it affects and who have knowledge of the territory. This would not work if foreign forces came in to fight the war on drugs, because their war on drugs is not about drugs, it’s about entering and taking control of our natural resources. That is why their war on drugs was focused on persecuting union leaders in our country. There was a higher level of drug trafficking here in the 70s and 80s and onwards, and that’s when they, for example, assassinated the historic coca growers union leader Casimiro Huanca. We need instead, cooperation across Latin America, to ensure that international crime groups do not enter our country, the damage they would do is huge.”
Bolivia’s Interior Minister, when asked about Evo Morales’ concerns, said, “The corresponding measures will be taken to protect his life and his integrity”.