Bolivian Interior Minister Carlos Romero says La Paz has rejected a diplomat suggested by Washington as the new US ambassador to the Latin American country amid increasing tensions between Bolivia and the US.
Romero said in an interview with the Duty
that the decision was made due to the negative remarks of James Nealon, the proposed ambassador, about the governments of Bolivia and Venezuela
In a secret document revealed by WikiLeaks in 2011, Nealon, who was Washington’s ambassador to Peru at the time, accused “anti-system” Bolivian President Evo Morales of trying to destabilize Peruvian President Alan Garcia with the support of the of Venezuela and Ecuador.
The US had proposed Nealon as its new ambassador to La Paz in December 2012.
Morales expelled former US Ambassador to La Paz Philip S. Goldberg in 2008, arguing that he was attempting to undermine the Bolivian government. The Bolivian leader insisted that Goldberg was actively involved in inciting pro-autonomy opposition leaders in the country's eastern lowlands.
Relations between Bolivia and the US further soured after Morales's plane, flying from Moscow, was forced to make a landing in Vienna, Austria, on July 2, over “suspicions” that the Bolivian plane was carrying US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
France, Spain, Portugal and Italy also refused to allow Morales' plane to cross their airspace.
Morales has said he would not hesitate to close the US embassy in La Paz if Washington proved to have ordered the airspace denial.
Speaking on July 5 in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, where the leaders of Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Uruguay had gathered to show their solidarity with the Bolivian president, Morales said, “We do not need the embassy of the United States.”
“My hand would not shake to close the US embassy. We have dignity, sovereignty. Without the United States, we are better politically, democratically.”