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.
Talks resume between India and Pakistan after being suspended over row last year
Libya's internationally-recognized House of Representatives suspended its participation in the talks last month following deadly suicide attacks in the eastern Qubbah city
A North Carolina district attorney will seek death penalty against man charged in murder of three Muslim students
Badr Eid, the brother of former Lebanese lawmaker Ali Eid, was shot in the head
UN Special Envoy to Libya Bernadino Leon told a delegation representing the General National Congress that the talks will start in Morocco on Thursday
Army troops were put on high alert Monday after heavy rains lashed several parts of Pakistan, killing eight people...
Increasing military budget would be wrong answer to current crises, says main opposition Left Party.
Jens Stoltenberg condemns assassination of the Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov and calls for independent probe
Paris facing challenges in seeking to cut its deficit without raising taxes, economists tell Anadolu Agency.
Algerian lawmakers expressed opposition to shale gas bill while protestors clashed with police leaving 40 policeman injured
Scientists have established that deforestation cause monsoon rains to drift south cutting rainfall in India significantly.
U.S. diplomats in Caracas could not give any information about the pilot, or say whether Maduro was referring to any Americans other than the missionaries.
Netanyahu has called his mission to the USA one of historic importance, and fears for Israel.
War court judge orders the overseer of the Guantanamo cases to be replaced after he exercised "unlawful influence"