“In no way is the United States interested in upholding democracy,” Morales said at one point. “If that were the case, it would not have financed coups d’etat and supported dictators.” Later, Morales accused the United States of promoting torture and said the Trump administration had “separated migrant children from their families and put them in cages.”
Morales spoke fifth at the meeting, after representatives of the United States, France, Poland and Equatorial Guinea. The country is not a permanent member of the Security Council but has a rotating seat for 2017 and 2018.
While representatives of some of the nations present at the meeting offered critical comments about Trump’s foreign policy — and in particular, his decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement with Iran — Morales went further, linking Trump’s actions to a broader U.S. history of intervention in countries such as Iran.
“In 1953, the United States financed, planned and implemented a coup d’etat against a democratically elected government,” he said, referring to Iran. “After that, for many decades the United States supported an authoritarian government that allowed the profits from oil companies to line the pockets of transnational countries.
“This situation endured until the revolution of 1979,” Morales added. “And now that Iran has retaken control of its own resources, it is once again the victim of a U.S. siege.”
The Bolivian leader also said that the United States was responsible for the “most egregious acts of aggression committed during the 21st century,” including the military invasion of Iraq, the military intervention in Libya and the civil war in Syria. Morales also criticized Trump for threatening Venezuela and for its opposition to the International Criminal Court.
Morales’s harsh words drew surprise from some observers, as Trump is not frequently challenged by world leaders so directly.
But while some experts on the United Nations had expressed concerns that Trump would respond angrily to criticism at the Security Council meeting this week, he offered little visible reaction after Morales spoke. Though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looked toward the Bolivian leader, sometimes appearing to smirk, Trump mostly stared down at his papers.
When Morales had finished speaking, he simply responded: “Thank you, Mr. President.”
Under Morales, Bolivia has been a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy. In 2008, it expelled the U.S. ambassador and threw out American departments such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Speaking earlier this week, Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sacha Llorenti, said that the country was using its seat at the Security Council to protect the U.N. charter from being undermined by countries such as the United States.
“The United States uses multilateralism and the United Nations as someone would use a lemon: They squeeze it as much as they can, and when they don’t use it, they throw it away,” he said.
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