Sean McCormack, Spokesman
September 11, 2008
BOLIVIA: President Morales Declares Ambassador Goldberg PNG
At a meeting yesterday, Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca informed Ambassador Philip Goldberg that President Morales had ordered him declared persona non grata (PNG). This unwarranted action followed the Bolivian Government’s failure on September 9 to address security threats to U.S. counternarcotics operations in the Chapare, which caused the withdrawal of DEA personnel.Released on September 11, 2008
President Morales publicly justified his decision with a series of allegations against Ambassador Goldberg. These allegations are baseless.
President Morales’ action is a grave error that has seriously damaged the bilateral relationship. The United States is the largest single country provider of development assistance to Bolivia, is Bolivia’s largest export market, and is the major provider of counternarcotics assistance. Our relationship has deep, historical roots, and benefits the peoples of both our countries. We regret that President Morales has chosen this course. It will prejudice the interests of both countries, undermine the ongoing fight against drug-trafficking, and will have serious regional implications.