Bolivian president Evo Morales said he was hopeful an agreement could be reached for the full reestablishment of diplomatic, trade and investment relations with Washington.
Morales made the statement during a press conference at the same time that Deputy Secretary of State for Hemispheric affairs, Arturo Valenzuela was holding talks with Bolivian Foreign Affairs minister David Choquehuanca.
“Let’s hope we can advance with this new framework agreement for full diplomatic, trade and investment relations. We are hopeful that the visit from the US government representative can help us advance these negotiations”, added Morales.
The first elected indigenous Bolivian president had had a complicated relation with Washington and only 24 hours before had accused the US government of having protected and promoted the drugs trade. Morales suggested US drug aid is counterproductive arguing that Bolivian judges and prosecutors who get training in the US have returned and freed drug traffickers from jail.
Meanwhile Bolivian minister Choquehuanca said that “the two sides are 99% done with a pact that would allow the exchange of ambassadors”.
Bolivia expelled the US ambassador in September 2008 accusing him of conspiring against the government of Evo Morales. All DEA agents and personnel were also later kicked out from Bolivia.
In related news public opinion polls show Morales support dropping from 70% last December to 44% in May according to consultants Ipsos-Apoyo whose field work was published in the newspaper El Deber.
The highest rejection was recorded in Santa Cruz, long a bastion of Bolivian opposition, but also the most dynamic, rich and prosperous of the country’s regions.
The poll was taken between May 12 and 23, involving 1.024 interviews in the cities of Cochabamba, El Alto, La Paz and Santa Cruz where half of the Bolivian population
Apparently strong the on going protests and sometimes violent actions from striking unions and other organizations have had a negative impact for the performance and support of Morales.