Bolivia appoints Oscar Serrate as Ambassador to the USA

Excerpts from BBC News follows, photo from Pagina Siete:

Bolivia crisis: Interim leader appoints first US envoy in 11 years

Bolivia’s interim leader has appointed the country’s first US ambassador in 11 years, after vowing to overturn many of ex-President Evo Morales’ policies.

The new ambassador, Walter Oscar Serrate Cuellar, used to be the country’s representative to the UN.

Mr Morales, a socialist who led Bolivia for almost 14 years and was its first indigenous president, resigned on 10 November and fled to Mexico.

He stepped down after a disputed presidential election last month.

The election result sparked weeks of protests, culminating in Mr Morales’ resignation. He says he was the victim of a right-wing coup.

Since he resigned, parts of the country have been crippled by violent protests. At least 29 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and protesters, Reuters reported.

During Mr Morales’ time in power, the country’s relationship with the US was tense. In 2008, under former US President George W Bush, ambassadors from both countries were expelled during a diplomatic spat.

What’s changing in Bolivia?

Right-wing senator Jeanine Áñez declared herself interim president shortly after Mr Morales’ resignation, and was formally recognised by the US.

Almost straightaway, she began reversing the socialist ex-leader’s policies.

She broke diplomatic ties with the socialist governments of Cuba and Venezuela, which were previously two of Bolivia’s closest allies in the region.

Ms Áñez also formally recognised Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s president, rather than President Nicolás Maduro.

All of Bolivia’s ambassadors were dismissed, except for those to the Vatican and Peru.


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