The interim government has appointed a US ambassador for the first time in 11 years, and has recognised Venezuela’s President Maduro’s challenger Juan Guaido.
Bolivia’s interim government that took over after president-elect Evo Morales resigned and fled to Mexico on November 10 has moved away from Morales’ leftist policies and distanced itself from his former allies.
Morales, who announced that he had been elected for a fourth term in the controversial October 20 elections had changed the constitution which allowed only for two presidential terms.
After being in power for almost 14 years as the first indigenous president, Morales had lost a referendum to run again but his country’s higher court granted his wish so his party, Movement for Socialism (MAS), nominated him.
Morales declared his presidential election win despite allegations from his opponents that the vote was rigged.
Interim President Jeanine Anez, the senator who took over after Morales was ousted at the military’s urging, assigned a temporary ambassador to the United States on Tuesday, November 26.
This is a significant development because Bolivia was previously aligned with other socialist Latin American states such as Venezuela and Cuba, and had not had a US ambassador for 11 years. The new ambassador, Walter Oscar Serrate Cuellar, has served as the country's representative to the UN in the past.
When Morales was in power, US relations had been strained, and they hit a particular low during the time of the then US President George W. Bush. Bolivia and the US expelled each other’s ambassadors in late 2008.
Anez has also altered Bolivia’s foreign policy in the short time that she has been interim president. AFP reported that she broke ties with Cuba and Venezuela, going so far as to recognise Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido who challenged Nicolas Maduro and declared himself president.
Foreign Minister Karen Longaric, according to AFP, announced Venezuelan diplomats would be sent home for “violating diplomatic norms.”
All of Bolivia’s ambassadors, with the exception of those to Peru and the Vatican, were dismissed, with new ones to be assigned after the general election.
“The next administration will surely name permanent ambassadors and those designations will need to be approved by the Senate,” Longaric said.
Telesur, a news outlet headquartered in Caracas, Venezuela, has accused the Organization of American States, which had recommended a runoff election, of not having the final report “that allegedly would demonstrate the existence of irregularities in the [Bolivian] presidential elections”.
Reuters has reported that Anez has swiftly manoeuvred away from Morales’ foreign policies and aligned her government closer with the US and Brazil. However, her government has been accused of coming after Morales supporters with excessive force despite her promises of restoring peace in the country and arranging new elections.
Meanwhile Morales has been accused of being a terrorist, and his return to Bolivia has been unadvised, despite him saying he would like to.
During a press conference in Mexico on Wednesday, Morales “rejected the blue notice Interpol issued against him in the framework of the political persecution unleashed in his country after the Nov.10 coup d'etat,” Telesur reported.
Morales criticised that those responsible for the 30 people who were killed during the clashes after the elections were not prosecuted, but that he and his followers were being hounded.