Bolivia's Morales brands Bush a 'terrorist'


Evo Morales, the winner of Bolivia's presidential election, branded US President George W. Bush a "terrorist", in an interview with Arabic satellite television today.

"The only terrorist in this world that I know of is Bush. His military intervention, such as the one in Iraq, that is state terrorism," he told Al Jazeera television.

The leftist won slightly more than half the votes cast in Bolivia's election on Sunday and is set to become the country's first indigenous president.

"There is a difference between people fighting for a cause and what terrorists do," he said in comments, which were translated into Arabic.

"Today in Bolivia and Latin America, it's no longer people that are lifting their weapons against imperialism, but it's imperialism that is lifting its weapons against people through military intervention and military bases."

Mr Morales has alarmed the Bush administration with his opposition to its strategy in the war on drugs and his admiration for US foes President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and President Fidel Castro of Cuba.

A Morales government in Bolivia will add to a shift to the left in Latin America, where left and centre-left leaders are in power in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Latin Americans are unhappy with corrupt and inefficient governments and many, like the Bolivians, mistrust US-backed free market policies.