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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Bolivia's ex-president blames conspiracy
The former Bolivian president, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, has accused drug traffickers and trade unionists in his country of having forced him from office.

Mr Sanchez de Lozada, who left Bolivia shortly after he resigned on Friday, was speaking to the BBC from Washington. Here are extracts from the interview:

Bolivia's ex-President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada
The ex-president recognises he made mistakes
Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada: My departure was the product of a conspiracy, of sedition by armed groups, 'narco-syndicalist' groups, terrorist groups and cartels who created a confrontational situation, leaving me no way out but to resign.

But we haven't lost the thread. My successor is the vice-president, so the constitutional succession has been maintained. I hope he will be there to promote aid.

BBC: The new President Carlos Mesa and the indigenous leader Felipe Quispe seem to be on very amicable terms. Do you think there is some kind of complicity between them and how would you view it if they came together in the same government?

Obviously they are looking for the right environment. Hopefully it won't be just a honeymoon. Hopefully they will be reasonable and he can have a dialogue with them. They didn't want to have a dialogue with me. He (Quispe) was part of the conspiracy to get me out. Now the tiger has been tamed.

Do you think your government would have been saved if Washington had acted promptly?

Well, I wouldn't say that. Governments fall from within, they don't fall because of external factors. I don't want to say that. I think there were many mistakes made by me and my allies, and I think there was also disloyal behaviour. But the important thing is to look to the future, to help Bolivia receive assistance and aid and get the benefit of the efforts that Mesa is making, and God willing, he will be successful. I have my doubts, but I don't want to be pessimistic at the moment.

You have suggested that the indigenous people's movement received aid from foreign governments. Could you be more specific?

Well, it's very difficult to be specific, because, you know, these things only come to light through other countries' intelligence reports. Bolivia doesn't have channels of this kind. But it's interesting to note that Evo Morales received a peace prize in Libya awarded by (Colonel) Gaddafi.

Finally, what happens now, what about Bolivia's future?

Well, I view it with great concern. I read the other day, I think, that these anti-establishment, anti-globalisation elements are causing the country to disintegrate. I'll carry on doing what I've done for the past 25 years, fighting to help Bolivia in whatever way I can.

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