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Bolivia's Evo Morales says 'adiós' to USAID

Morales has made other important policy announcements on May Day in the past, like nationalizing Bolivia's oil and gas industry. This is not the first time tensions have run high with the US.

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Bolivia's President Evo Morales sings his national anthem during the annual May Day march in La Paz, Bolivia, May 1. Morales said Wednesday he is expelling the USAID from Bolivia for allegedly seeking to undermine his leftist government.

Juan Karita/AP

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Bolivia's President Evo Morales announced today that his government will expel the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The move coincides with Bolivia's annual May Day celebration, which has been used in the past as a date for President Morales to announce big moves like nationalizing the country's oil and gas industry. 

"They still believe that they can manipulate politically and economically, but those times have passed," Morales said of the US. He later accused USAID, which acts as the US government's humanitarian arm abroad, of attempting to influence local leaders through its programs, and objected to Secretary of State John Kerry's recent reference to Latin America as The United States' "backyard."

This is not the first time tensions have run high between the two countries. Bolivia ejected the US ambassador in 2008, claiming collaboration between the US Embassy and opposition political groups in Bolivia's eastern lowlands. The US subsequently expelled Bolivia's ambassador to Washington. That same year, Morales ended the US Drug Enforcement Agency's decades-long presence in the country.

"The United States government deeply regrets the Bolivian government's decision to expel the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). We deny the baseless allegations made by the Bolivian government," the organization said in a statement published on its website. According to USAID Bolivia, the organizations focuses on health, sustainable development, and environmental programs here.

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