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BOLIVIA | Bolivian Police Asks Mexican Embassy to Hand Over Refugees

Police officers stand guard next to Mexico's embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, Dec. 24, 2019. | Photo: Reuters Police officers stand guard next to Mexico's embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, Dec. 24, 2019. | Photo: Reuters
La Paz Police Commander William Cordero Tuesday demanded that Mexico hand over supporters and former officials of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) who sought refuge at the Mexican embassy after the coup d'état against President Evo Morales perpetrated on Nov 10.

"The Mexican representatives should better collaborate with the Bolivian Justice and hand over the people who take refuge inside the embassy," Cordero said.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) pointed out that the coup-born government led by Jeanine Añez could be violating international law and the conventions on the right to asylum.​​​​​​

Despite the complaints made by the Mexican government, the Bolivian police maintain unusual levels of surveillance around the Mexican embassy.

Bolivia's Security Minister Wilson Santamaria, who denied that the de-facto government is harassing Mexican diplomats, said that the increased vigilance around the embassy is intended to prevent "the escape" of former officials.

On Tuesday the AMLO administration issued a protest note demanding respect for the inviolability of its diplomatic mission.

Mexico's Under Secretary for Latin America Maximiliano Reyes published images warning that Bolivian police officers would be conducting security inspections of Mexican diplomats.

"Are they protecting us from ourselves?," Reyes asked.

Mexico's Secretary of International Relations denounced that Bolivian security agents carry out controls on all persons entering or leaving the Mexican embassy, attempt to impede the free transit of the diplomatic personnel, and follow the displacements of official diplomatic vehicles.​​​​​​​

Mexico’s Director of American Regional Organizations and Mechanisms Efrain Guadarrama also warned that “police harassment continues in our La Paz embassy”.

"We will continue denouncing the harassment of our diplomatic precincts and exhibiting violations of international law in Bolivia," Guadarrama stressed.

After the coup against Morales, the self-proclaimed interim president Añez began systematic political persecution against MAS militants, supporters, and former officials.

In response to this circumstance, the AMLO administration, which does not recognize Añez as president, provided shelter to some members of the Morales administration.​​​​​​​

Currently, the Mexican embassy provides shelter to former Presidency Minister Juan Quintana, former Defense Minister Javier Zavaleta, former Justice Minister Hector Arce, and former Culture Minister Wilma Alanoca.​​​​​​​

  • Countries: Latin America

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