La Paz, December 14 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Bolivian President Evo Morales accused the opposition on Sunday of carrying out a “dirty war” against him, about two months ahead of the constitutional referendum, due on February 21st. Morales was responding to the recent declaration by Filiberto Escalante, a former member of the governing socialist MAS party, who claimed that Morales' “entire family” was managing the state-run oil company YPFB, and that the “nepotism” Morales used to criticize when campaigning for the presidency was actually worse now. “This is not true. My sister is working in a hospital coordinated by our Cuban friends and my brother Hugo … and my (other) siblings don’t get involved in politics. Here, families do not manage the state,” he said during a sporting event in Cala Cala, in the western department of Oruro. However, he added, nepotism was frequent in preceding governments, “They felt like the owners of the Presidential Palace.” He condemned the “slanderous tongues” that made the accusations without any basis, recalling that the national and international right wing used to accuse him of being a drug-trafficker, a murderer and a terrorist. “We've heard so many slurs in the past days that the only thing that comes to mind is the dirty war and opposition’s policy, although this is not so surprising – they used to call me the Andean Bin Laden.” The referendum, approved by the senate in early November, will ask Bolivians whether a two term limit for presidents and vice presidents should be amended, and the outcome will decide if Morales, who has been president since 2006, will be permitted to run for office again. The next presidential elections are set to take place in 2019, and the president-elect will serve a five-year term lasting until 2025.
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