Bolivia’s president elect is on a worlwide tour visiting foreign governments including China, Cuba, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Venezuela, and brazil. The US has asked to talk to him, according to the State Department. Morales may meet with the US once he’s been inaugurated.
Shannon emphasized how important it is for Washington to continue the US-funded anti-drug programs and coca plant eradication programs in Bolivia.
Coca is the raw material from which cocaine is processed, but it has also been used in traditional medicine in Bolivia.
Morales wants to end the US-sponsored coca eradication program that he says has failed to curb drug trafficking in Bolivia.
Morales, a former coca farmer organizer, made it clear in an early January meeting with US ambassador to Bolivia David Greenlee that he will fight drug traffickers but will not eradicate coca cultivation.
But he also met with China’s presiden, and described the Chinese as an “idealogical ally”. He also offered to allow them to develop Bolivia’s substantial natural gas reserves.
Morales’ visit to China came at a propitious time for Beijing, which is also eager to develop links with Latin America. China sees nations like Bolivia as new sources of fuel and raw materials as well as new markets for its exports.