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  • Bolivian President Evo Morales.

    Bolivian President Evo Morales. | Photo: ABI

The Bolivian leader slammed the Organization of American States head after a photo showed him greeting a former Bolivian general accused of massacring dozens.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has criticized Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro for a photograph of the OAS head with former Bolivian Defense Minister Carlos Sánchez Berzaín, who is accused of being responsible for the deaths of more than 60 people in 2003.

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Under the former official's leadership, the Bolivian Armed Forces massacred dozens of members of Indigenous and labor groups, leading to the eventual ousting of then-President Gonzalo Sanchez Lozada. Morales, then a social movement leader and head of the Movement for Socialism, succeeded Lozada.

"Luis Almagro welcomes Sanchez Berzaín with open arms and turns the OAS into a refuge for murderers who fled the October Massacre," Morales wrote on his Twitter account.

The president said it is "condemnable" that 14 years after the events, "Almagro meets with one of the main people responsible for the crime against humanity."

Sanchez Berzain, Sanchez Lozada, and other officials are accused by Bolivian authorities of committing crimes of genocide in the form of massacres of unarmed people, homicide, torture, and other serious crimes.

"I do not want to think that Almagro is planning with the Bolivian right another October Massacre. We will defend ourselves from the coup alongside the people," added the Bolivian ruler.

Morales and Almagro have clashed frequently in recent months. The Bolivian leader has criticized the OAS chief as a submissive puppet of the United States, especially for encouraging violent protests in Venezuela, where Morales claims Almagro backs a coup.

Last month Morales seemed to imply that the OAS chief works alongside the CIA, tweeting that Almagro and the intelligence agency should “stop conspiring” in Venezuela's affairs and allow their democratic process to continue.

The Bolivian president also called for the unity of Latin American peoples against foreign military interventions by imperialist forces. “Today all the peoples of Latin America must unite to avoid invasion, now we are not the backyard of any great country,” he said.

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