Peru’s García: Evo Morales’ comments are nothing short of bar-room shouts

Evo Morales’ “bar-room shouts” don’t deserve attention or a response, said Peru President Alan García on Saturday, just days after his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales called him “one of the world’s worst presidents.”

“I understand the limitations some people have, each person is shaped according to his education, his level, his scope,” said García, clearly referring to Morales. “It isn’t proper for the President of a country like Peru to answer such comments. I’ve never done it, and never will because beyond what a President may say, adjectives cannot hinder nor diminish the relations between peoples.”

On Tuesday, Morales called García “one of the world’s worst presidents,” along with former U.S. President George W. Bush.

“I have nothing to ask forgiveness for,” said Morales during a political meeting in the small town of Totora, in central Bolivia. “The world’s worst president, if it isn’t Bush, then it’s Alan García. I am convinced, my fellow citizens, that Bush was the world’s worst president. Capitalism is destroying our world. How can we keep our mouths shut if the free trade agreement is devastating to our mother earth?”

Morales applauded Peru’s decision last week to review legislation aimed to open up the Peruvian Amazon to more foreign investment, and to repeal the controversial decrees that lead to strikes, highway blockades and, ultimately, a deadly clash between police and demonstrators the Bagua province of Amazonas.

But, Peru’s Foreign Affairs Minister José García Belaunde said that the Andean country would only reconsider its relationship with La Paz if Morales apologized for meddling.

The Peruvian government recalled its ambassador to Bolivia for consultations after Morales referred to the deadly June 5, 2009, clashes in Bagua as “genocide.”

According to Belaunde and many politicians, though it has been vehemently denied by former indigenous leader Alberto Pizango and Amazon specialists, the conflict was and continues to be part of a wider plot designed by envious foreign nations to provoke a coup d’état. The indigenous peoples, they claim, are being misinformed and manipulated by political forces such as Peru’s Nationalist Party, led by Ollanta Humala, by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and Morales.

Morales, inflamed by the comments, responded quickly by poking fun of Belaunde’s remarks.

“A minister in Peru has said that we must apologize,” said Morales. “But I say that there is nothing to apologize for, and no one to apologize to.”

Peru-Bolivia relations have been stained by numerous diplomatic spats over the past few years.

Last June, Morales called García “very fat and not very anti-imperialist” after Peru delivered a letter of protest to Bolivia over Morales’ allegation that Peru’s demand for the extradition of his former adviser Walter Chávez was a CIA conspiracy being used to discredit his leftist administration.

Then, in July, days after recalling his ambassador from Bolivia, Garcia sharply told his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales, to butt out of Peru’s domestic affairs in reply to the Bolivian leader’s call for Peruvians to protest the alleged establishment of United States military bases on Peruvian soil.

“It should be said like Juan Carlos of Spain: ‘Why don’t you shut up?’” Garcia said, referring to the Spanish king’s jibe at Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during a November 2007 Ibero-American Summit in Chile after Chavez repeatedly called Spanish Prime-Minister José María Aznar a “fascist.”

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