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Aggressions and a ramming vehicle: this was the attack on the Spanish GEOs that led to a diplomatic crisis with Bolivia


A visit that triggered a diplomatic conflict. An incident that strained the relationship between countries. The visit on December 27 of the head of business of the Embassy

  • The facts: They suspect that the Spanish GEO suffered a "lock up" in La Paz
  • The complaint: Spain sends a mission to investigate the incident and denies that agents tried to help asylees leave the Mexican embassy
  • Conflict Bolivia accuses Spain of "criminal colonialism"

A visit that triggered a diplomatic conflict. An incident that strained the relationship between countries. The visit on December 27 of the charge of business of the Spanish Embassy in Bolivia, Cristina Borreguero , and the consul, Álvaro Fernández , to the Mexican ambassador in that country, María Teresa Mercado , accompanied by police officers from the Special Operations Group ( GEO ), led to a tense situation, in which the four agents suffered "aggressions" and even were hit "several times" by a "vehicle belonging to the Bolivian Security Forces", according to the account of the facts performed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The "crisis", as defined by Foreign Affairs, has as its origin the transfer of Spanish diplomats to the residence of the Mexican ambassador. They were accompanied by four members of the GEO who at that time were part of the security device of the Spanish Embassy in La Paz , according to the ministry, in a parliamentary response sent to Bildu deputy Jon Iñarritu .

The protection team of this police group carried out, on December 27, 2019, "work of protection of the charge of business of the Embassy of Spain in Bolivia in its displacement to the residence of the ambassador of Mexico in Bolivia for a breakfast Courtesy".

The appointment was motivated by the denunciation made by the Mexican ambassador in La Paz, who had stated that he was being "subjected to harassment measures by the Bolivian interim authorities as a result of the presence of several former senior officials "from the Government of Evo Morales. The current Bolivian Executive had issued arrest warrants against several of these former senior officials.

"The meeting lasted about 40-45 minutes. The Spanish diplomats did not meet with the asylees in the embassy since their instructions strictly adhered to meet with the Mexican ambassador for the purpose described and did not understand in any way or meet with the asylum seekers or transfer to them or receive any message from them, "says Foreign.

Complaint: the passivity of the Bolivian police

The ministry led by Arancha González Laya makes a detailed account of the attack suffered by the four agents of the Spanish GEO. After the meeting, the diplomats requested that the security agents return to look for them.

"When trying to enter the vehicles of the embassy in the urbanization in which the residence is located, the Bolivian Security Forces indicated that they had orders not to allow their entry. In parallel, people dressed as civilians hit the vehicles of the embassy and they tried to open their doors, "the ministry's story continues.

"The members of the security device tried to avoid the continuation of the aggressions and requested the support of the Bolivian police, who showed a passive attitude to this plea. It should be noted that, even without the request of the Spanish troops, the Bolivian police was obliged by the 1961 Vienna Convention to protect members of cash (diplomatic passport holders) and embassy vehicles (with diplomatic license plates as well). "

This is the complaint made by Exteriors. The ministry accuses the Bolivian Security Forces of passivity in the face of the attack suffered by Spanish agents. But his story is not there.

"Given the situation created and to prevent an escalation, the security team of the Embassy of Spain chose to withdraw from the place, at which time they were blocked to prevent them from retiring. When they managed to break through, a vehicle belonging to the Forces of Bolivian security persecuted them by ramming them several times until the embassy vehicles managed to evade it and return to the headquarters of our embassy, ​​"says the ministry in its account.

Contradictory versions

Foreign defends that the GEO covered his face by being aware that they were being recorded "for compromising their personal safety" and "given the sensitivity of their missions."

The version offered at the time by the Bolivian authorities differs from that of the Government of Spain, since they accuse officials of the Spanish Embassy of having tried to access in cars of the embassy in a "clandestine" way, and together with "hooded individuals" "and" presumably armed, "to the residence of the Mexican ambassador in that country.

Even a spokesman for the interim government of Bolivia held Pedro Sánchez responsible for the incident, who asked him to "assume his responsibility" and accused of being "co-governing with Podemos," which he called "academic agitators" who want to come to Bolivia to do "colonialism of criminal complicity."

The head of business of the embassy of Spain, before the seriousness of the incident, immediately and in real time informed the Secretary of State for Cooperation and for Latin America and the Caribbean, and this proceeded to inform Minister Margarita Robles, who occupied in that time the foreign portfolio in operation after the departure of Josep Borrell.

"Fake news", according to Spain

Cristina Borreguero reported the facts when she learned that the embassy vehicles were not allowed to pick up Spanish diplomats. Days later, the head of business and the consul were expelled by the Government of Bolivia.

The Government of Spain, in its account of the facts of the incident, regrets that the new Government of Bolivia gave "false news" to the story of this "crisis" and complains that the "interim authorities did not give any sample of willingness to contribute to de-escalate the crisis. "

"From the Bolivian Administration, information and personal photographs of Spanish officials were leaked with the risks that this entails for their security and the correct performance of their functions." This is the protest made by Exteriors about the way Bolivia proceeds in this matter.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

  • Bolivia
  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • We can
  • Pedro Sanchez
  • Margarita Robles
  • Evo Morales
  • Bildu
  • Arancha González Laya
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