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Tuesday, March 07,2006
LA PAZ, Bolivi(Reuters): Bolivians have found a new reason to grumble about arch rival Chile -- the small five-stringed Andean guitar Chilean President Ricardo Lagos gave to U2 frontman Bono when the Irish rock band played in Santiago last week.According to Bolivians, the charango is a uniquely Bolivian instrument and Lagos' gesture has prompted a chorus of nationalistic complaint from government ministers, musicians and newspaper commentators.
''The charango is Bolivian,'' read an editorial headline in Sunday's La Razon, while the vice minister for culture called on President Evo Morales to present Chile's President-elect, Michelle Bachelet, with a charango when he attends her inauguration on Saturday.Lagos defended his choice of gift, saying the charango comes from the Andean plateau that extends into Chile.
Resentment toward Chile has been strong in Bolivia since it lost its access to the Pacific in a 19th-century war and the two countries have had no diplomatic ties since 1978.