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Morales expels USAID from Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia, May 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Agency for International Development is being expelled from Bolivia, President Evo Morales announced Wednesday.

The president made the announcement to mark the May Day holiday, the La Paz newspaper La Razon reported. Morales accused the agency of interfering in Bolivia's internal affairs and said he also wanted to protest a remark by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, calling Latin America the "back yard" of the United States.

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The agency in a statement denied Morales' accusations and said those hurt by the decision would be ordinary Bolivians who benefit from aid programs.

"The United States government has worked in a dedicated fashion over the past five years to establish a relationship based on mutual respect, dialogue, and cooperation with the Bolivian government," the statement said. "This action is further demonstration that the Bolivian government is not interested in that vision."

USAID has spent about $2 billion in Bolivia since 1964, the agency said, with more than $26 million allocated in fiscal year 2011. Most of its assistance has gone to economic development, improving healthcare and preserving biodiversity.

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