U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs is confused. Evo Morales declared U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg persona non grata on television, but since the State Department prefers not to recognize Morales, or at least pretend that he doesn’t exist, for now, they’re claiming all this persona non grata nonsense is nothing more than “press reports” and they’ll wait for a formal diplomatic request before handing Goldberg his one-way ticket. And by the way, just in case the “press reports” turn out to be true, (or Morales wasn’t just trash talking – you know how these Indians are) Shannon added that booting Goldberg would be a “big mistake,” since his behavior as a diplomat has been “impeccable.” In other words, the State Department is quite pleased with the coup now underway in Bolivia, and Goldberg’s contribution to it.
Here’s the Bolpress report:
(Agencias). The Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas Shannon, called the Bolivian government’s announcement of the expulsion of the U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, “regrettable” and a “big mistake.” Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca reported the decision verbally, and the diplomat appeared surprised by the “inexplicable determination,” said the Embassy in a release.
The Secretary praised the work of Ambassador Goldberg, accused by the Evo Morales government of conspiring against his administration and against democracy, and said that he has always been a “diplomat with impeccable behavior.” The North American goverment stated that Morales’s accusations “are without foundation.”
Between 1994 and 1996, Goldberg held an important diplomatic post in Bosnia during the Balkan war. Between 2004 and 2006 he was Head of Mission in Pristina, Kosovo, when that region’s independence was established.
Goldberg had asked for a meeting with Choquehuanca, to discuss the government’s decision to expel the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from Chapare.
Gordon Duguid, State Department spokesman, said that the U.S. Embassy in La Paz had not received any kind of request from the government for Goldberg to leave the country. “Normally such messages are delivered though diplomatic channels. Our embassy has not received any such message through diplomatic channels. We are trying to confirm if that is forthcoming,” he said.
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