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World Bank tried to 'blackmail' Bolivia

UNITED NATIONS, April 22 (Reuters) - Bolivian President Evo Morales on Wednesday accused the World Bank of trying to "blackmail" his country several years ago by demanding free-market reforms in exchange for aid loans.
"In the first year of my government some World Bank representatives came to Bolivia and they tried to blackmail me," Morales told reporters at U.N. headquarters, where he attended a General Assembly session that voted to establish an "International Mother Earth Day."
"I said -- OK, if it's unconditional help, fine," he said through an interpreter. "But if it's conditioned on privatization of basic services, privatization of natural resources, then no."
Morales, the country's first Indian president and a fierce critic of the United States, said the World Bank has improved since that time by dropping such conditions on aid lending. He also expressed his support for a thorough reform of the International Monetary Fund.

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