BOLIVIA: MORALES EXPELS EMBASSY OFFICER

Código Fecha Clasificación Origen
09LAPAZ373 9 March 2009 Confidencial / No para extranjeros Embassy La Paz

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C O N F I D E N T I A L LA PAZ 000373

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y(MARKINGS)

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/10/2019
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, PHUM, PINR, ENVR, ASEC, PTER, ODIP,
BL
SUBJECT: BOLIVIA: MORALES EXPELS EMBASSY OFFICER

REF: LA PAZ 294

Classified By: CDA Krishna Urs for reasons 1.4 (b, d)

1. (C) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 6.

2. (C//NF) Summary: President Evo Morales declared Embassy
officer Francisco (Frank) Martinez persona non grata on
national television March 9. Morales accused Martinez of
"meeting with opposition prefects (governors)" and said he
was the "permanent contact with opposition groups during the
entire conspiracy period" against the Morales administration.
Morales said Martinez was also in contact with Rodrigo
Carrasco, who has been implicated by the Bolivian government
for his involvement in a major corruption scandal (Reftel).
Post’s Country Team met to discuss the expulsion and strongly
recommends the Department take immediate reciprocal action by
expelling a diplomat accredited to the Bolivian Mission in
Washington and convoking the Bolivian Charge to express our
displeasure. End summary.

3. (C) In a press conference March 9 to announce General
Victor Hugo Escobar Guzman as the new commander of the
Bolivian National Police (BNP), President Evo Morales said
his administration had "discovered the infiltration of
external agents who have been in contact with ex-officials of
the police, through the Special Operations Command.... Mr. 
Francisco Martinez, Mexican/North American, was the permanent
contact with opposition groups during the entire conspiracy
period, was the person from the United States Embassy who was
in contact with some ex-police who were working in the
Special Operations Command, and today I have decided to
declare Frank Martinez persona non grata.... We have
information that this man met with opposition prefects during
the days in which the Bolivian countryside supported an
aggression, a civil coup by the heads of certain groups that
still do not believe in democracy...."

4. (C) Morales has in recent days, and in today’s remarks,
attempted to blame the CIA for the burgeoning corruption
scandal within Bolivia’s national oil company YPFB.
Government Minister Alfredo Rada has stated that Rodrigo
Carrasco, a former elite police officer with the Special
Operations Command (COPES) who later became a YPFB marketing
manager, was a CIA operative and that COPES was funded by the
CIA (Reftel).

5. (C) General Escobar Guzman replaces General Miguel Gemio
as commander of the BNP. Escobar was the police commander in
June 2008, when social groups affiliated with the Morales
government (and numbering in the thousands) surrounded the
Embassy. Government Minister Rada removed Escobar from
command for ordering the police to disperse the crowd in
non-violent fashion. Sources tell us the Morales government
badly wanted to promote anybody else to the position, but
Escobar was at the top of his class and had threatened to go
to the press if he was not selected.

6. (C//NF) Action Request. In light of President Morales’
actions, Post’s Country Team met to discuss the expulsion and
strongly recommends the Department take immediate reciprocal
action by expelling a diplomat accredited to the Bolivian
Mission in Washington. Mission also recommends that State
Department call in the Bolivian Charge to express U.S.
displeasure with this entirely unjustified action. Morales
needs to understand his actions will bring a response. End
Action Request.
URS