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Bolivian President Criticizes US Visa Cancellation


Bolivian President Evo Morales has criticized the United States for canceling the visa of one of his closest confidants.

Mr. Morales wants Washington to explain why Bolivian Senator Leonilda Zurita, a leader of coca farmers, had her U.S. visa canceled long before it was set to expire.

Zurita told reporters Thursday that U.S. consular officials said she was viewed as a terrorist.

Zurita first complained earlier this week that she was not being allowed into the United States, although the visa was revoked in May, 2004.

A U.S. State Department official is reported (by Reuters) to have said the visa was revoked after the government received what he called "information" about her. He strongly denied the revocation was due to Zurita's ties to leftist President Morales.

Like the Bolivian president, Zurita rose to prominence as a leader of coca farmers. The United States wants Bolivian coca eradicated because of its use to produce cocaine.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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