LA PAZ, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Bolivian President Evo Morales said Tuesday
that the September expulsion of U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg was "a success
and not a mistake because it "thwarted " an opposition coup plot.
At an evaluation meeting of his third year as president, Morales said that
he did not make a mistake in deciding the "ambassador had to go," after his
party "had endured the assault of the (Bolivian) right-wing."
Five of Bolivia's nine provinces are controlled by the opposition, whose
objections to Morales' new constitution, the centerpiece of his program to
distribute more of the nation's wealth to the impoverished majority, created
political unrest in September.
On Sept. 10, Morales declared the U.S. ambassador "persona non grata" and
ordered him to "immediately" leave the country, accusing him of encouraging,
together with the opposition, protests against his government. Washington called
Morales's decision "a grave error."
On Sept 13, U.S. President George W. Bush responded by expelling Gustavo
Guzman, Bolivian ambassador to the United States.
The actions set Bolivian-U.S. ties at its lowest level, worsened by
Bolivia's suspending the activities of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the country.
The Bolivian president said earlier this month, however, that ties with the
U.S. could be re-examined once U.S. president-elect Barack Obama takes office on