Bolivia: U.S. Plotting Latin American Military Intervention
Tom Ramstack - AHN News Correspondent
La Paz, Bolivia (AHN) - Bolivian President Evo Morales launched a new round of denunciations against the United States this week while also announcing he would offer military training to civilians in his country.
Morales accused the U.S. government of linking illegal drug trafficking with terrorism in its public statements as a prelude to military intervention in Latin America.
He was referring to a State Department investigation of possible links between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and al Qaeda.
Morales said during a press conference that the "central objective" of the United States was to seize control of oil reserves and other natural resources in Latin American countries.
U.S. military bases that the government of Colombia is allowing in its borders demonstrate the United States' hostile intentions in the region, Morales said.
The bases also have been the subject of harsh comments between the Colombian and Venezuelan governments in recent months.
A day after the press conference, Morales' government announced the Bolivian army would offer free military training to civilians.
Bolivian General Ramiro Siles said that this week the military started "training activities with citizens for the defense of the country."
Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera said during a press conference that the military training was intended "to expand the base of civic training to citizens."
The announcement was immediately followed on Bolivian television by images of men and women undergoing military training.
Morales' opponents said the Bolivian president was organizing militias that put the country on too much of a war footing.
The Civic Committee, a civil rights group based in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, issued a statement saying military training for civilians violates Article 10 of the federal Constitution, which declares Bolivia to be a peaceful country that rejects all wars of aggression.
A spokesman for the Episcopalian Conference of Bolivia said the military training provokes a climate of "war, distrust and instability that is not favorable or positive."
Part of Morales' renewed criticism of the United States appears to result from Arizona's new law against illegal immigration, called S.B. 1070.
Morales wrote a letter of protest to President Barack Obama, saying the law promotes racism against Hispanic people.
He called on Obama to use his authority to strike the law down.
"Don't commit the historic error" of allowing "discrimination, marginalization and, above all, racial, inhuman punishment of Latin Americans," Morales said in his letter.
He asked that Obama remember the immigrant origins of his own father, who came from Kenya.
On Friday, Morales also issued a statement praising former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Despite having no formal relations or significant commerce with the United States, Cuba has excelled in providing its people with health care, education and social benefits for workers, Morales said.