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Ros-Lehtinen Says Morales Refusal to Cooperate with U.S. on Anti-Drug Efforts Undermines Regional Security; In Previous Letter to Clinton, Ros-Lehtinen Expressed Opposition to New Agreement until Bolivia Meets Obligations


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said today that the U.S. must press Bolivia to fulfill its obligations, including that it work with the U.S. and other responsible nations to combat narco-trafficking. Ros-Lehtinen strongly criticized Bolivia's Evo Morales for continuing to refuse to work with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

"Evo Morales' continued refusal to allow U.S. DEA agents to work in Bolivia is reckless and a threat to regional security. His expulsion of the DEA from Bolivia in 2008 and refusal to fulfill Bolivia's security obligations has severely undermined the ability of responsible nations in the region to root out dangerous drug cartels.

"Unfortunately, this type of dangerous and irresponsible behavior is normal for Morales. Along with his cohorts in the region such as Venezuela's Chavez, Nicaragua's Ortega, and the Castro brothers, Morales weakens regional security and stability, and tramples on democracy and human rights.

"Morales' continued abusive policies toward the Bolivian people, regional allies, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and actions that threaten U.S. security, our interests, and allies in the region, should not be rewarded with a normalization of diplomatic relations and a new Framework Agreement with the United States.

"The U.S. must demand that Bolivia stop undermining our interests in the region and fulfill its existing obligations before we implement yet another agreement for Morales to violate. We should stop wasting our time and American taxpayer money trying to strengthen bilateral relationships with countries that wish to do us harm and actively work against U.S. security objectives. "

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