World Bulletin/News Desk
Washington has refused to extradite a former Bolivian president to the South American country to stand trial over political violence that forced him from office nine years ago, President Evo Morales said on Friday.
Former leader Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada is accused of corruption and responsibility for the deaths of 63 people killed in clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in October 2003.
"Yesterday (Thursday), a document arrived from the United States, rejecting the extradition of people who have done a lot of damage to Bolivia," leftist Morales, an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America, said in a speech.
Calling the United States a "paradise of impunity" and a "refuge for criminals," Morales said Washington turned down the extradition request on the grounds that a civilian leader cannot be tried for crimes committed by the military.
Sanchez de Lozada, a U.S.-educated mining magnate who embraced free-market policies, quit during the bloodshed of 2003 and fled to the United States 13 months into his second term as president of the impoverished Andean country.
Bolivia's demands for the extradition of Sanchez de Lozada and several of his ministers have aggravated prickly relations between Washington and La Paz.
The countries agreed to normalize diplomatic relations late last year but new ambassadors have yet to take their posts.
Morales, a former coca farmer who has reversed the privatizations pursued by Sanchez de Lozada, expelled the U.S. ambassador and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in 2008, accusing them of plotting with his rightist enemies.
Washington responded by sending Bolivia's ambassador home soon afterward.
Sanchez de Lozada's extradition was also demanded by opposition leaders in Bolivia and they criticized the U.S. decision.
Rogelio Mayta, a lawyer representing victims of the 2003 violence, said "the U.S. protection" of Sanchez de Lozada was not surprising.
"It's yet another display of the U.S. government's double moral standard," he said.
Two former government ministers and three former military officers who did not flee Bolivia have been convicted over the bloodshed and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
An Israeli army commander has made shocking threats to Palestinian youth held in the Al-Duheisha, threatening that he will “make all the youth of the camp disabled,” according to a Palestinian rights group, reported by the Middle East Monitor
Hillary Clinton has received the first classified intelligence briefing Saturday morning
Japan has pledged to give $30 billion as an investment to Africa by 2018
Egyptian authorities to reopen Rafah crossing on Tuesday for three consecutive days
Incumbent President Ali Bongo faces stiff competition from former African Union Commission
Spanish authorities have cracked down on an illegal ring that involves Chinese domestic staff
Scots drive to put Israel's West Bank wall on the Google Map as fall-out from Celtic fans Palestinian flag protest simmers
Turkish president expresses sadness in call to Italian counterpart, extends his condolences to the families of victims killed in early Wednesday earthquake with a mass funeral is held today for 34 of the 284 people killed
Prime Minister-designate Youssef Chahed's new unity government wins votes of confidence in parliament.
Time to ‘choose engagement over isolation’ senior government minister
At least 16 people have died in a fire at a warehouse in Moscow, authorities have said.
Ex-Bush adviser Paul Wolfowitz slams Trump who has joined a chorus of “neocons” in distancing themselves from the Republicans' current nominee.
Participants perform shows during Maghreb Riding Festival in Bou Hajla town of Kairouan, Tunisia today on August 26, 2016.
White House spokesman anticipates Obamas 'would make a financial contribution to continue supporting' Kayla’s Hands
American travelers still face restrictions on travel to Caribbean island
Donald Trump’s personal physician has that he wrote a now-infamous medical report about the candidate in just five minutes.