September 24, 2007 / 9:35 PM / 10 years ago

Comic Jon Stewart to interview Bolivian leader

<p>Bolivian President Evo Morales (R) during a parade marking the 182nd anniversary of Bolivia's founding, in Santa Cruz, August 7, 2007. Political satirist Jon Stewart, host of the popular mock cable TV newscast "The Daily Show," will interview Morales on the program on Tuesday, the show's network announced on Monday. REUTERS/David Mercado</p>

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Political satirist Jon Stewart, host of the popular mock cable TV newscast “The Daily Show,” will interview Bolivian President Evo Morales on the program on Tuesday, the show’s network announced on Monday.

The guest spot by Morales will mark only the second appearance on the Emmy-winning show by a sitting head of state, following Stewart’s interview a year ago of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan and a key U.S. ally.

Bolivia’s leftist leader is a staunch critic of the Bush administration, along with Latin American presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba. He is in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

In a first for “The Daily Show,” Stewart will conduct his interview of Morales through an interpreter, who will translate the host’s questions from English to Spanish and the Bolivian leader’s answers from Spanish back to English, a network spokesman said.

The Bolivian president, the first indigenous leader of his nation, has faced fierce opposition from rightist political rivals and sometimes-violent street protests in recent months.

<p>Jon Stewart poses backstage after winning an Emmy for outstanding variety, music or comedy series at the 58th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles August 27, 2006. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>

He has accused Bolivia’s wealthy elite of trying to block his leftist reforms because they resent an Indian leading the nation. Last month, he charged the Bush administration was funneling U.S. aid to groups linked to his political opponents, which Washington has denied.

In another move sure to rankle the U.S. government, Bolivia said on Monday it would host a visit this week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to tighten diplomatic ties and sign energy and industrial aid agreements.

Still, the United States decided earlier this month not to include Bolivia, the world’s third-largest cocaine producer, on its list of countries singled out for economic sanctions for failing to meet their counter-narcotics commitments.

While “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” is best known as a satiric comedy show that skewers U.S. politicians and the media, the program’s host generally plays it fairly straight when interviewing newsmakers.

Former President Jimmy Carter appeared on the show in December 2005 and former President Bill Clinton has come on three times, most recently last Thursday. Stewart also recently interviewed former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was promoting a book.

A spokesman for the Viacom Inc.-owned Comedy Central network said Morales interview would be taped Tuesday afternoon and air later that night.

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