Spaniards Cristina Borreguero and Alvaro Fernandez, and Mexican ambassador in Bolivia, Maria Teresa Mercado have 72 hours to leave the country.
LA PAZ Bolivia (Agencies) – Bolivian Government has given this Monday, December 30, 2019, 72 hours to the Spanish diplomat who visited past Friday Dicember 27 2019 the Mexican ambassador in La Paz as well as the latter to leave the country after the incident that occurred as a result of that visit.
In a media briefing, Bolivian Foreign Minister Karen Longaric said senior Spanish diplomatic staff were escorted by hooded people and had acted “in a secretive and underhand manner” to enter Mexico’s diplomatic residence in La Paz.
She questioned the motive for the pair to make the visit “accompanied by people with their faces covered and presumably armed”
It was not clear if Bolivia had derailed an attempt by Bolivian officials — who served under ousted president Evo Morales and who had sought refuge in the Mexican embassy — to leave the compound.
Spain’s foreign ministry denied “categorically” that the meeting was held to “facilitate the departure of the people” who were being sheltered in those offices.
The Mexican mission has been at the center of an ongoing diplomatic row with La Paz after it took in around 20 former top officials who served under the previous government. Morales fled Bolivia last month following weeks of mass street protests and after nearly 14 years in power.
The Bolivian government, says Mexico has given refuge to those accused of various crimes against the state, including some former ministers.
Mexico’s foreign ministry gave its version of events at its embassy on Friday. It said Spain’s charge d’affaires Cristina Borreguero and Spanish consul Alvaro Fernandez had wrapped up a meeting with Mexican envoy Maria Teresa Mercado. The pair were accompanied by the Mexican diplomat to wait for their official vehicles, but they did not turn up.
Neither Borreguero nor Fernandez were able to reach their drivers nor their security detail, a ministry statement said. The Spanish diplomats were later told that their vehicles had been stopped from entering the compound and a Bolivian ministry car picked them up about an hour later.
Morales, meanwhile, is now in Argentina, having originally fled to Mexico after losing the army’s backing last month after a disputed election in October marred by fraud.
“Persona non grata”
The announcement of the expulsion of the two diplomats, as well as the Spanish consul, was made by the interim president of Bolivia herself, Jeanine Áñez.
“The constitutional government that I preside over has decided to declare persona non grata the Mexican ambassador in Bolivia, María Teresa Mercado, the Spanish chargé d’affaires in Bolivia, Cristina Borreguero, the Spanish consul in Bolivia, Álvaro Fernández, and the group of allegedly hooded and armed diplomats,” she said.
“This group of representatives of the governments of Mexico and Spain has seriously damaged the sovereignty and dignity of the people and the constitutional government of Bolivia,” said Áñez, according to local media reports.
In this sense, she has assured that “the hostile behavior trying to enter surreptitiously and clandestinely to the Mexican residence in Bolivia defying the Bolivian police officers and the citizens themselves are facts that we cannot let go”.
The Yucatan Times