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Bolivia Expelled US Drug Agency for ‘Spying on President’s Girlfriends’

BOLIVIA / 8 SEP 2011 BY RONAN GRAHAM EN

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was expelled from a Bolivian coca region in 2008 for spying on President Evo Morales’s private life, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks.

According to the leaked cable, Bolivian “drug czar” Felipe Caceres met with U.S. representatives after Bolivia had expelled DEA agents from the coca-growing Chapare region and had declared the U.S. ambassador persona non grata.

Caceres reportedly told the U.S. officials that the expulsion “had to happen because President Morales was ‘upset that the DEA is following him, especially when he visits his girlfriends.'”

The minister said he knew that the allegations were not true, but that individuals including Presidency Minister Ramon Quintana had been suggesting the idea to Morales, knowing “what buttons to push” to upset him.

Morales, who has never been married, announced the indefinite suspension of DEA operations in Bolivia two months later. He accused the DEA of conducting “espionage” and “conspiracy” against his government.

The Morales government has denied the version of events recounted in the cable, and challenged the authenticity of the documents.

President Evo Morales has continued to accuse the DEA of attempting to control the drug trade for its own ends.

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