Bolivia Expels Venezuelan Diplomats Amid Political Crisis

MEXICO CITY (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 16th November, 2019) Bolivia's newly-appointed Foreign Minister Karen Longaric on Friday declared Venezuelan diplomats working in the country as personae-non-grata.

"They will be given a deadline for leaving the country for interfering in the internal affairs of the [Bolivian] state," Longaric said as quoted by the Cambio newspaper.

As Longaric explained, diplomats representing the government of Nicolas Maduro are declared as personae-non-grata. Acting President Jeanine Anez has already recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

Earlier on Friday, Longaric announced that Bolivia had withdrawn from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and dismissed the ambassadors to the United Nations and Cuba who refused to step down after the resignation of former president Evo Morales. Furthermore, about 80 percent of Bolivia's ambassadors were also discharged.

Bolivia plunged into crisis following the presidential election on October 20, which saw Morales secure his fourth term in office. However, the opposition refused to accept the vote results, citing alleged irregularities in vote-counting procedures, which were subsequently confirmed by the Organization of American States. The developments prompted mass protests that soon turned violent. The Bolivian armed forces joined in on the calls for Morales to step down, saying this was necessary to ensure order in the country. Morales resigned on Sunday and left for Mexico after being granted political asylum. Anez took over as interim president.

In January, the inauguration of re-elected President Nicolas Maduro triggered mass protests in Venezuela. Guaido, the head of the National Assembly, illegally declared himself president. A number of Western countries led by the United States recognized Guaido, while Russia, China and Turkey firmly backed Maduro.