Bolivian president says Obama should lose Nobel Peace Prize over Libya

President Barack Obama answers question on the ongoing situation in Libya during his joint news conference with President of El Salvador Mauricio Funes at the National Palace in San Salvador, El Salvador, Tuesday, March 22, 2011. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize should be revoked in the wake of the U.S. military air strikes in Libya, the Bolivian President and a Russian political leader are saying.

Bolivian President Evo Morales criticized Mr. Obama's actions in Libya earlier this week while Mr. Obama was on a three-nation tour of Latin America.

"How can a Nobel Peace Prize head a group of gangs to attack and invade?" Morales asked Monday at a press conference, El Universal reports. "That is no longer a part of the defense of human rights."

Mr. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 in part for his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.

Morales, who has had a rocky relationship with the United States, was just one of a handful of leftist Latin American leaders to criticize the president over the United States' actions in Libya. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Cuban leader Fidel Castro have made similar statements.

In an interview with CNN en Espanol this week, Mr. Obama acknowledged the irony of a Nobel Peace Prize winner handling military operations. He acknowledged as much when he accepted the award, Mr. Obama pointed out, since he was already handling wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I'm accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also somebody who aspires to peace," the president said.

Complete coverage: Anger in the Arab World
How will the Middle East dominoes fall now?
Libya crisis: Latest developments, March 23

He added that goal of the current mission, as dictated by the United Nations Security Council, is to protect civilians in Libya.

"We're not invading a country. We are not acting alone," he said. "I think the American people don't see any contradiction in somebody who cares about peace also wanting to make sure that people aren't butchered because of a dictator who wants to cling to power."

Meanwhile, the head of Russia's Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, also called for Mr. Obama's Nobel Prize to be revoked, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports.

"The situation in Libya is yet another shocking act of aggression by NATO forces and in particular by the United States," Zhirinovsky said in a statement this week. "There is only one goal: to take control of Libyan oil and the Libyan regime and not saving the Libyan people."

Earlier, Zhirinovsky reportedly called on the Muslim world to support Qaddafi and sent an official letter to NATO demanding the immediate stop to the military operation in Libya.

Comments