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Bolivian bishops, President Morales clash on drug policy

April 25, 2016

Bolivia's Catholic bishops have issued a pastoral letter condemning the cocaine trade and charged that government corruption nourishes drug trafficking.

The bishops' message drew an angry response from President Evo Morales, who charged that Church leaders have a "colonial mentality" and should not think that "they still have the last word."

In their pastoral letter the bishops lamented that the trade in drugs causes "violence, corruption, deceit, injustices, and death." They said that the corruption of government officials by narcotics trafficking has "undermined the credibility of authorities" and allowed the illegal trade to continue unimpeded.

President Morales, who has had a contentious relationship with the Bolivian bishops, rose to prominence as head of a union of coca workers, and has fought against international efforts to cub the traffic in cocaine. During a visit to the Vatican earlier this month, Morales presented Pope Francis with books about the alleged health benefits of coca, the plant from which cocaine is derived.

 
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