On Monday, the de facto president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, ordered the expulsion of the Mexican ambassador, María Teresa Mercado, and the Spanish diplomatic staff accredited in Bolivia, as charge d’affairs, Cristina Borreguero and consul, Álvaro Fernández. The decision comes after the de facto government of Añez denounced the presence of hooded suspects belonging to the diplomatic mission of Spain who, according to her, tried to enter the Mexican Embassy in La Paz. The government of Spain responded “in reciprocity” with the expulsion of three officials of the Bolivian Embassy in Madrid.
Áñez explained at a press conference in the government palace that her administration has decided to declare persona non grata “the officials mentioned, as well as “the group of allegedly hooded and armed diplomats.” The decision taken by the de facto Executive includes a period of 72 hours for these people to leave Bolivia.
The de facto president has specified that “hostile behavior, trying to enter Mexico’s residence in Bolivia in a surreptitious and clandestine way”, of the hooded suspects that escorted the charge d’affairs of Spain in Bolivia, are facts that cannot be “let pass”.
For its part, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructed the Mexican ambassador to Bolivia, María Teresa Mercado, to return to her country, in order to “safeguard her security and integrity”, after the expulsion.
The Mexican Embassy in Bolivia will be in the charge of Ana Luisa Vallejo, current head of the Mission’s chancellery, as reported by the Mexican Government in a statement, which also indicates that the country’s diplomatic representation will continue to operate normally in La Paz.
Likewise, the Spanish Executive decided to respond “in reciprocity to the hostile gesture of the interim government of Bolivia” with the expulsion of three officials of the Bolivian Embassy in Madrid, who must also leave Spain in 72 hours. This is charge d’affairs, Luis Quispe Condori, military attaché, Marcelo Vargas Barral, and police attache, Orso Fernando Oblitas Siles. This was reported by El País.
In this regard, political analyst Jorge Richter estimated that the actions of the self-proclaimed government of Bolivia, around these incidents with Mexico and Spain, can lead the nation to an international conflict and isolation.
The incident at the Mexican embassy
Last Friday, December 27, the de facto Foreign Ministry of Bolivia denounced the presence of hooded suspects from the diplomatic mission of Spain, who tried to enter the Mexican Embassy in La Paz.
According to the de facto chancellor, Karen Longaric, during the morning of that day, several people identified as officials of the Embassy of Spain in Bolivia, accompanied by hooded men, “tried to surreptitiously and clandestinely enter the diplomatic residence of Mexico in La Paz.”
The Foreign Ministry reported that the diplomatic personnel of the Embassy of Spain freely entered the Mexican diplomatic residence, but the police slowed the entry of the vehicles to the facilities, claiming that the presence of hooded men “represented a potential threat.”
For its part, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was shown since Friday willing to initiate an investigation into the incident, as reflected by the agency in a statement.
Featured image: Dressed in a Santa hat and a Christmas cape, Bolivia’s de facto president, Jeanine Áñez, delivered gifts to dozens of children
Translated by JRE/EF