Morales: Relations with US awful

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 18:31 hrs

Evo Morales has never tried to curry favor with Washington.

Now Bolivia's first indigenous president has marked the 520th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World with a characteristic jab at the United States.

Morales said Friday during a ceremony marking "Decolonization Day" that relations with the U.S. Embassy in La Paz have become awful.

He says they are so bad they are "like a turd."

He says previous Bolivian governments would seek Washington's blessing on key appointments, including interior minister and police and army chiefs.

No longer. That changed after the longtime coca growers' union leader took office in 2006.

Two years later, he kicked out U.S. drug agents and Washington's ambassador, accusing them of inciting the opposition.

U.S. counterdrug cooperation has since been radically reduced.

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