Investments by Spanish firms are protected in new Bolivian regulations, but companies involved in plots against the government will not be forgiven, said President Evo Morales on Sunday during a fence-mending speech.
“There is confidence in Spanish businessmen in the new rules we have now. Their investment is completely guaranteed,” Morales said after a week-long tour of Europe, where last week he participated in the European Union-Latin America-Caribbean leaders’ summit in Madrid.
“With Repsol and other Spanish companies, the investments are guaranteed. But we’re not going to stand for it – I also said it to the businessmen – if an investor is financing those opposed to me to get me out of the (government) palace” Evo Morales said.
“We’re not going to pardon” that and measures will be taken if foreign businessmen are found to be involved in coup attempts like Bolivia experienced in 2008 during a wave of opposition protests, Morales said.
The president noted that in September 2008 he expelled then-US ambassador Philip Goldberg after accusing him of being implicated in the coup conspiracy.
He said that on his visit to Spain “there was a scandal” when he said that a foundation of the opposition conservative Popular Party financed “separatist and conspirator groups” in Bolivia, in reference to the alleged support authorized to the Industry and Trade Chamber of the Eastern city of Santa Cruz, which has the strongest autonomic movement in the country.
“I’m not making an accusation. I’m just basing this on a report that came from Europe and we have the documentation” Morales said, referring to press accounts he had exhibited in Madrid, and he added that this was a problem for “investigation, the judiciary” and not the president.
The alleged plot against Morales in 2008, which included a complaint that an armed international group was planning to assassinate him, is being investigated by a La Paz prosecutor who accused several Santa Cruz businessmen of participating in the conspiracy.
The formal accusation against Spain’s main opposition party while president Morales was in Madrid for the summit forced the Spanish government to come out in full support of the Popular Party and its democratic commitments.
Under a barrage of political and press criticisms, Morales aides said his words had “been misunderstood and taken out of context” and showed Spanish newspaper cuttings with the alleged conspiracy plans.
A couple of weeks ago Morales also was responsible for some very controversial remarks when he forecasted that European men, because they eat chicken fed on genetically modified grains suffer “deviations of their manly conditions” and most will be bold “in the coming next two decades”.