Spain denies Bolivia charge it tried to extract ex-officials
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain denied Saturday that a diplomatic visit to the Mexican ambassador’s residence in Bolivia had the intent of extracting members of the ousted leftist government sheltered inside.
Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the visit was a “courtesy visit” by its diplomat charged with representing Spain’s business interests and “firmly denies that its goal was to facilitate the exit of persons who are found seeking asylum inside those premises.”
Spain was embroiled in the diplomatic feud between Bolivia’s conservative interim government and Mexico on Friday when a confrontation occurred outside the Mexican ambassador’s residence in La Paz.
Bolivian Foreign Minister Karen Longaric complained that Spanish diplomats were accompanied by masked and armed men on a visit to the residence. Locals protested that it could be an attempt to free nine former officials sheltered inside.
Bolivia’s interim government has been at odds with Mexico for giving asylum to ousted leader Evo Morales when he resigned the presidency on Nov. 10. He did so after losing the support of the military and police following weeks of protests over an election that, according to an international audit, was marred by fraud.
Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said Saturday that caretaker Foreign Minister Margarita Robles will appear before the Spanish Parliament to explain the findings of an investigation into the incident once it is concluded.
Since his ouster, Morales has left Mexico and is now based in Argentina.