Theweekendleader

Mexico condemns 'police siege' at embassy in Bolivia

Mexico City

26-December-2019

The Mexican government has said that for the last two days a police siege had been established around its embassy in Bolivian capital La Paz, where nine officials of the government of former Bolivian president Evo Morales have been living after seeking asylum last month.

"The government of Mexico reiterates its demand to the Plurinational State of Bolivia to fulfil its international obligation, guarantee the inviolability of diplomatic missions and end the policy of bullying and intimidation," the Mexican government said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to Mexican authorities, the Bolivian government led by interim president Jeanine Anez has mounted a police siege against its "accredited personnel" and "people under the protection of the Mexican state" in Bolivia, Efe news reported.

"Asylum is an act of foreign policy which falls within the exercise of our sovereignty and is consistent with our human rights policy, which states that everyone has the right to seek asylum due to reasons or offences of a political nature," the statement said.

It added that Mexico "enforces" the right to asylum of the nine people currently living "under the protection of the Mexican state in the diplomatic properties of Mexico in La Paz."

Four former officials of the Bolivian government, who are facing arrest warrants under the current regime, have sought asylum after taking refuge in the Mexican embassy in November, including former presidential chief of staff Juan Ramon Quintana and former culture minister Wilma Alanoca.

The Mexican government said the arrest warrants were notified to the Mexican embassy after the grant of asylum.

Mexican authorities urged the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to pursue the procedure they had initiated for obtaining safe passage out of the country for the asylum seekers.

The statement added that "communication channels remained open" and Mexican Ambassador to Bolivia Teresa Mercado was directly communicating with Bolivian Foreign Minister Karen Longaric.

Throughout Wednesday, Mexican Undersecretary for Latin America Maximilano Reyes was tweeting photos of the Mexican embassy in La Paz surrounded by Bolivian police vehicles.

Tension between Mexico and Bolivia has increased since November 12, when the Mexican government gave asylum to Morales even as the former Bolivian president continued to criticize the interim government of his country from Mexico.

On Monday, the Mexican government had expressed concern over the "excessive presence" of Bolivian intelligence and security personnel outside the ambassador's residence and the embassy since November 11.

La Paz announced on Tuesday that it would review its membership of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States as Mexico is set to assume the rotational presidency of the forum from January.IANS