At last: Bolivia Suspends Diplomatic Relations With Cuba After Spat Over Medical Program

Reuters reports in The New York Times:

LA PAZ — Bolivia has suspended its diplomatic relations with Cuba, the foreign ministry of Bolivia’s interim government said on Friday, marking a stark change in foreign relations sparked by a dispute over Cuban doctors in the country.

The suspension was due to “recent inadmissible comments” by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla and the “constant hostility and constant grievances of Cuba against the Bolivian Constitutional Government and its democratic process,” the ministry said in a statement.

In November, Cuba’s foreign ministry said it was terminating its medical mission over what they said was mistreatment and slander by Bolivia’s conservative interim government against doctors by claiming they were instigating rebellion.

Bolivia’s interim foreign minister said at the time that “there have been a number of accusations that Cuban citizens have been involved in these aggressive acts that have tormented our country in recent days.”

The spat was revived on Wednesday, when interim President Jeanine Anez, who has tried to align more closely with the United States, said the Cuban government kept 80% of the payments that Bolivia made for the work of Cuban doctors in the country.

Anez also said less than a third of the Cuban professionals who were in Bolivia as part of a healthcare program with the country were health professionals.

Parrilla on Twitter called the comments “vulgar lies” and accused Anez of being installed as interim president in a coup.

Bolivia has been under the governance of Anez since the resignation of long-serving socialist President Evo Morales in November.

Morales, who is currently living in Argentina under asylum, resigned on Nov. 10 after an audit by the Organization of American States found serious irregularities in a vote count. Morales denies any wrong doing and maintains he was ousted in a coup. He frequently criticizes Anez’s interim government through his Twitter account.

(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Chris Reese)

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/01/24/world/americas/24reuters-bolivia-cuba.html

24/01/2020

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