Bolivian president blocks US anti-drug flights

Bolivian president Evo Morales has refused the US Drug Enforcement Administration permission to fly anti-drugs missions over the South American nation’s territory.

Bolivian president Evo Morales has refused the US Drug Enforcement Administration permission to fly anti-drugs missions over the South American nation’s territory.

The Bolivian Information Agency reported that Mr Morales instructed his government to deny a written request from US officials for a surveillance flight.

“Two days ago I received a letter from the US DEA asking a government institution for permission to fly over national territory,” the agency quoted Mr Morales as saying.

“I want to say publicly to our authorities: They are not authorised to give permission so that the DEA can fly over Bolivian territory.”

Nobody was available at the US Embassy to comment early today.

Washington recently placed Bolivia on an anti-narcotics blacklist, accusing Mr Morales’ administration of not co-operating sufficiently in fighting drug trafficking.

Mr Morales, a former coca farmer, rose to power leading protests against US drug policy. Coca farmers loyal to the left-wing president recently expelled US alternative development programmes from one of the country’s key coca-growing regions, calling the efforts ineffective.

Mr Morales expelled the US ambassador earlier this month, accusing him of supporting deadly protests organised by his conservative opposition. The former ambassador denies the allegations.

Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of coca, the base ingredient in cocaine.

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