Brazil Sides with Bolivian Morales and Says Civil War Should Be Avoided

Bolivia's Morales The Brazilian government will not accept any attempt to overthrow the government in Bolivia as opposition protests spiral into deadly clashes with government supporters, the Brazilian president's foreign policy adviser said on Thursday.

"We won't tolerate a rupture in the constitutional order of Bolivia," Marco Aurélio Garcia, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva foreign policy advisor told a news conference.

"Brazil will not recognize any attempt at a government that would substitute a constitutional government in Bolivia," Garcia said when asked whether this meant Brazil would send troops to aid the Bolivian government of President Evo Morales.

Brazil has supported President Morales' administration as the legitimate, constitutional government in Bolivia and has repeatedly condemned the violence which has left at least nine dead.

Garcia said President Morales was prepared to receive emissaries from Brazil, Argentina and Colombia and only needed to say when.

Garcia said Brazil's view was that destabilizing the country "could cause great damage" to the region and branded the protesters' actions as "terrorism".

Morales told Lula he was "pessimistic" about the progress of talks with the opposition, but Bolivia had overcome serious crises before and could do so again, Garcia said.

"We hope that faced with these problems a solution can be found to avoid the hypothesis of a civil war," he said.

Rioters managed to disrupt on separate occasions the flow of Bolivian natural gas to Argentina and Brazil.

Brazil's strong support followed reports that Bolivia's ambassador to the United States, Gustavo Guzman, was called to the US State Department earlier Thursday and ordered to leave the country to reciprocate for Bolivia expelling the US ambassador.

The move came after Morales said Wednesday that US Ambassador Philip Goldberg is persona non grata in Bolivia, and asked his foreign minister to send a note to the American legate asking that he leave the country. Goldberg was accused of inciting anti-government protesters, although Morales offered no specific evidence.

Venezuela Expels US Ambassador

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on Thursday, September 11, that the United States ambassador has 72 hours to leave Venezuela and he's recalling his ambassador from Washington.

Chavez said he's asking US Ambassador Patrick Duddy to leave as a means of showing solidarity with Bolivian President Evo Morales, who recently announced that he was expelling Washington's envoy to his country.

Chavez announced the decision during a televised speech hours after saying his government had detained a group of alleged conspirators in a plot to overthrow him.

Chavez accused the group of current and former military officers of trying to assassinate him and topple the government with support from the United States. He didn't offer evidence.

US officials have repeatedly denied Chavez's accusations that Washington has backed plots against him.

"Go to hell, s— Yankees, we are a dignified people, go to hell 100 times," Chavez shouted at a political rally to thousands of roaring supporters.

"We will send an ambassador when there is a new government in the United States, a government that respects the people of Latin America," he said.

The coup allegations are believed to be linked to the campaign for Venezuela's tough local elections in November and a possible distraction from the Miami court hearings which directly involve President Chavez, government owned oil corporation PDVSA and his intelligence services.

In August 2007, a US-Venezuelan citizen was caught trying to introduce US$ 800.000 in cash into Argentina, apparently to help finance the presidential campaign of Mrs. Kirchner who was elected last October.

The money was seized by Argentine Customs and Guido Antonini later flew to Florida, via Uruguay, where he was located and threatened by Chavez emissaries, working as unregistered agents, not to disclose the origin or purpose of the funds.

Antonini turned into federal protection and the four "agents" are now facing charges in the Miami court.

Mercopress

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