Bolivia and the U.S. signed an agreement re-establishing diplomatic relations, three years after President Evo Morales expelled U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Bolivian Vice Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Alurralde and U.S. Under-Secretary for Global Affairs Maria Otero signed the “Framework Agreement” in Washington, D.C., on Monday. The agreement, “establishes a framework by which the two governments will pursue relations on the basis of mutual respect and shared responsibility,” the officials announced in a joint statement.
The agreement’s objectives include economic development, improved trade relations and “effective action against illicit narcotics production and trafficking.” It is unclear if the “shared responsibility” and “enhanced law enforcement cooperation” called for in the agreement will include the return of the DEA to Bolivia.
Armando Loaiza, who served as Bolivia’s foreign minister during the first year of the Morales administration, said in an interview on Bolivian television that it would be difficult to imagine a serious effort to stop drug traffickers that would not include the DEA. “There isn’t a more powerful and effective organization in the counter-narcotics fight than the DEA,” he said.
Morales expelled the DEA and Ambassador Goldberg in 2008, saying they were inciting the opposition in an effort to overthrow the government. “We don’t want people here who conspire against our unity. We don’t want people who threaten our democracy,” Morales announced at the time.