(Refiles to fix dateline)
* Morales revokes contract on troubled Amazon road
* Brazil's OAS was awarded project with state financing
* Morales accuses construction company of breaching terms
LA PAZ, April 10 Bolivian President Evo Morales
said on Tuesday he was rescinding the contract awarded to
Brazil's OAS to build a road through the Amazon forest, casting
further doubt on a project that unleashed fierce anti-government
protests last year.
Morales partially halted work on the most controversial
stretch of the road in September, seeking to ease tensions over
the $420 million project that sparked strong opposition from
within the president's indigenous support base.
"We've started a process to annul the road construction
contract, which was granted to OAS, because the company hasn't
complied (with the terms)," Morales told a news conference. He
said the company had suspended work "without justification or
Morales, a leftist and the Andean nation's first president
on Indian descent, said the decision would affect the two
stretches of road at either end of the route.
The contract for the middle section - which passes through
the Isiboro Secure indigenous territory and national park
(TIPNIS) - lapsed last year after work was halted there, Morales
He did not say whether OAS would be compensated or how the
road's construction might continue. OAS declined to comment.
BNDES, Brazil's state development bank, was due to fund
about 80 percent of the troubled project, which has been at the
center of Bolivian politics for nearly a year.
Morales, a close ideological ally of Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez, has put the road scheme at the heart of his drive
to boost infrastructure investment in the impoverished nation.
But mass protests against road-building in the TIPNIS area
have complicated his development push and raised questions about
his commitment to indigenous rights and protecting the
(Reporting By Carlos Quiroga; Writing by Helen Popper; editing
by Christopher Wilson)