- The "diplomats representing the government of Mexico and that of Spain have harmed the sovereignty and dignity of the people and constitutional government of Bolivia."
- In addition to the diplomats, four more Spanish government officials were expelled.
- Within hours of the incident, Spain's Foreign Ministry announced that it had opened an investigation into the incident.
Bolivia’s interim government announced on Monday that it had expelled the Mexican ambassador to the country and two other Spanish diplomats for trying to “facilitate” the departure of former top officials of the government of former President Evo Morales, who is currently a refugee in Argentina. The foreign diplomats in question have been given 72 hours to leave the country.
Interim President Jeanine Añez told the press that this group of “diplomats representing the government of Mexico and that of Spain have harmed the sovereignty and dignity of the people and constitutional government of Bolivia because of their hostile conduct in trying to enter the Mexican embassy without following proper procedure and defying the police. ” She added, “this is something we can’t tolerate.” Añez, as head of “the constitutional government that I preside over,” declared as persona non grata the Mexican ambassador, María Teresa Mercado, Spain’s Chargé d’Affaires Cristina Borreguero, and the Spanish Consul Álvaro Añez.
In addition to the diplomats, four more Spanish government officials were expelled. According to the interim president, the group of Spaniards was armed when they tried to enter the Mexican embassy, where officials of the former president and his right-hand man, former presidential minister Juan Ramón Quintana, are holed up.
The announcement came after a visit by the Spanish delegation to the Mexican embassy in La Paz on Saturday. That day, Bolivian police prevented two vehicles from entering the complex. The government’s version says the men in the cars were hooded and wanted to make it easier for the former top officials of the Morales government to leave. Within hours of the incident, Spain’s Foreign Ministry announced that it had opened an investigation into the incident, but claimed that its officials’ trip to the embassy was a courtesy visit, and that they had no intention of “facilitating the escape” of the former president’s employees.
Evo Morales, the former president of Bolivia, announced his resignation in November under pressure from the country’s military. He sought refuge from the Mexican government, but later on, he left for Argentina after Alberto Fernández took over the country’s presidency. He claims that the move to shift to Argentina, which neighbors Bolivia, is in a bid to help with his party’s Movement for Socialism (MAS) campaign in the country’s upcoming elections. However, the interim government accuses Morales of “terrorism and sedition,” and has already issued an arrest warrant against the former president, as well as a number of ministers who served in his Government.