LA PAZ (AFP) — The US ambassador ordered out of Bolivia for alleged support of opposition groups will be back in the United States on Sunday, diplomats told AFP.
Philip Goldberg was on Wednesday told to leave the country by Bolivian President Evo Morales, who is struggling with a revolt in five rebel states.
The Fides news agency said Goldberg would host a final private dinner for friends late Saturday and would make a statement before flying out.
On Saturday, Morales justified the expulsion order against the envoy by saying it was the indigenous peoples' rejection of "the American empire."
The order declaring Goldberg persona non grata "subscribes to the struggle of indigenous people not only in Bolivia but in all of Latin America, who have for 500 years fought empires of the time," Morales, an Aymara Indian, told reporters in La Paz.
The expulsion prompted shows of solidarity by Morales's chief ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who told the US ambassador to his country to go, and Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who refused to accept the credentials of a new US ambassador.
Washington retaliated by expelling the Bolivian and Venezuelan ambassadors to the United States.
US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said of Morales and Chavez Friday: "This reflects the weakness and desperation of these leaders as they face internal challenges."
Morales, who is facing a crisis at home with rebel governors, replied Saturday by saying his action was "not of weakness, but of dignity."
He added: "Where there is the empire, there is no development. When empires dominate a country, there is no momentum, no independence, no dignity. This was about us freeing ourselves to have our own development."
When he told Goldberg on Wednesday to leave, Morales accused the US envoy of encouraging the division of Bolivia and supporting opposition groups.
Since coming to power in 2006 as Bolivia's first elected indigenous president, Morales has embarked on deep reforms to remake Bolivia as a socialist state in the model of Chavez's Venezuela. Bolivia is South America's only majority-indigenous country.
Morales has ordered nationalizations of telecommunications and energy companies, and criticized US efforts to stamp out the production in Bolivia of coca, which is used to make cocaine.
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