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Dynamite thrown at Cuban doctor's house in Bolivia

Attackers threw sticks of dynamite at a house next to the Venezuelan consulate and at a Cuban doctors' house in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz early on Monday, in what Bolivia and Venezuela called terrorist acts.

The explosives thrown at the house next to the consulate blew a hole in the roof of a room where children were sleeping at about 3 am, but Interior Minister Alfredo Rada said no one was wounded.

The attacks came at a time when the rightist opposition in eastern Bolivia, and especially in Santa Cruz, has complained that leftist President Evo Morales is forming too-close ties with Venezuela and Cuba, which are major aid donors to South America's poorest country.

Rada called the explosions "terrorist acts" and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said in Caracas: "It was an attack by a group that we will not hesitate to call terrorist."

Morales has formed close ties with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro since taking office in January 2006.

Cuba's ambassador to Bolivia said Monday's attack was not the first one.

"A month and a half ago there was a similar attack with a tear gas grenade thrown against another house where Cuban doctors live ... this is the second attack," Ambassador Rafael Dausa told local radio.

Some 2,000 Cuban doctors and paramedics work in different medical aid programs in Bolivia, including an eye surgery program and one to build hospitals. Cubans are also working on a literacy campaign in Bolivia.

Venezuela, using its swollen oil revenue, has donated police cars, helicopters, radio stations and health clinics to Bolivia. Caracas has also sent cash and advisers to help Morales with two of his key reforms, nationalizing the energy industry and overhauling the constitution.

Santa Cruz has been the site of massive anti-government protests since Morales became president. Last week anti-government protesters fought the armed forces over control of Santa Cruz's airport, the busiest in the country.

Rada said "verbal violence" from opposition leaders was to blame for the attacks.

Three days ago Santa Cruz Governor Ruben Costas, an opposition leader, harshly criticized Caracas' aid programs for Morales' government.

Source: By Carlos Hugo Vaca, Caribbean Net News

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