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Originally published Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 9:22 AM

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Bolivia's Morales apologizes for flag burning

Bolivian President Evo Morales has apologized for the burning of a Venezuelan flag during protests against an abrupt rise in fuel prices.

The Associated Press

LA PAZ, Bolivia —

Bolivian President Evo Morales has apologized for the burning of a Venezuelan flag during protests against an abrupt rise in fuel prices.

Morales said he "publicly apologized in the name of the Bolivian people" for the incident last week. He said the Venezuelan Embassy called the presidential palace to complain after the flag was torched by protesters.

Morales has close ties to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and the incident highlighted complaints by opponents that the Bolivian leader is following in his footsteps. Morales on Tuesday blamed right-wing opponents in Bolivia for violence during the protests that left at least 15 injured.

Morales on Saturday abruptly reversed the unpopular fuel price hikes in response to the protests.

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