"Bolivian leader tries to assert control; Blockades, violent strife grip nation" by Vicente L. Panetta, Associated Press | September 15, 2008
LA PAZ, Bolivia - President Evo Morales struggled to assert control over a badly fractured Bolivia yesterday as protesters set fire to a town hall and blockaded highways in opposition-controlled provinces, impeding gasoline and food distribution.
At least 30 people have been killed in the poor Andean nation this past week, Interior Minister Alfredo Rada said. All the deaths occurred in Pando province, where Morales declared martial law on Friday, dispatching troops and accusing government foes of killing his supporters in the gravest challenge to Morales in his nearly 3-year-old tenure as Bolivia's first indigenous president.
His struggle with the four eastern lowland provinces where Bolivia's natural gas riches are concentrated and where his government has essentially lost control. South America's leaders were also trying to prevent Bolivia from splintering. They were to gather in Chile today for an emergency meeting called by President Michelle Bachelet.
Morales and ally President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela expelled the US ambassadors in their countries last week to protest what they called Washington's inciting of the antigovernment protests.
The departing US ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg, denied the accusations yesterday in his first public comments on the matter. "I would like to say that all the accusations made against me, against the embassy and against my nation are completely false and unjustified," he told reporters. "I have nothing to say to those who misinterpreted my actions."
Right, I am to believe some U.S. liar! Pffft!
Morales has offered no detailed evidence of Goldberg's alleged conspiracy with the opposition. He has, instead, accused Goldberg of egging on anti-Morales forces through meetings with governors who have publicly called for the president's ouster.
Chávez, meanwhile, insisted he would intervene militarily in Bolivia if Morales were toppled or killed. He accused Bolivia's military brass of not fully supporting their president, of "a work stoppage of sorts."
Bolivian armed forces chief General Luis Trigo earlier in the week rejected Chávez's pledge to intervene, saying no foreign troops would be permitted to set foot on Bolivian soil. Yesterday, Defense Minister Walker San Miguel backed his armed forces chief. "We Bolivians will resolve our problems among ourselves," he said.
Translation: The Bolivian military is WORKING for the U.S.!!!!
I mean, you would WELCOME an ALLY, right?!!