Bolivia refuses to be U.S. slave: VP Alvaro Garcia Linera

LA PAZ, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Bolivian government said on Monday that it refuses to blindly cater to the economic or political desires of the United States.

Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera said that as La Paz wanted to reset its diplomatic ties with Washington, based on mutual respect, the country should not become a slave of the United States, which he described as "the most important power and the market of the world."

In an interview with Radio Erbol, Bolivia's national radio, Garcia said Bolivia had been "the most subordinated" Latin American country to the United States in the past.

"We do not want a market in exchange for them (Americans) telling us who must be the master. We do not want tax preference in exchange for them telling us what must be our economic policy, because that will make us become a slave and a colony again," Garcia said.

According to Garcia, U.S. President Barack Obama, like his predecessor George W. Bush, had a "strong war policy" which did not allow ties between the two countries to improve.

"When he (Obama) learns to recognize that the world is a community of sovereign states, which voluntarily are independent, we will have better ties with the United States," Garcia said.

However, he added that Bolivia was open to establishing ties with all the countries in the world based on mutual respect of sovereignty.

Bolivian-U.S. ties were frozen since September 2008, when La Paz expelled U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg for allegedly interfering with internal affairs, and Washington took the same retaliatory measure.

This incident also had consequences in the commercial area, as the Obama administration decided to extend Bolivia's suspension from tax benefits of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act.

Former U.S. President Bush suspended Bolivia's benefits because he said the South American country was not sufficiently helping the fight against drug trafficking.

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