Spain will expel three members of the Bolivian diplomatic staff from Madrid in an eye-to-eye movement after the interim government of Bolivia requested two Spanish diplomats on Monday, as well as the Mexican ambassador, to leave the country, the Ministry of Relations said. Outside
The Mexican embassy in La Paz is the center of a diplomatic dispute after it housed nine or more officials from the former government of former Bolivian President Evo Morales.
In the Bolivian city last week, diplomats said Bolivian authorities had harassed and intimidated Mexican diplomatic personnel and prevented the departure of Spanish officials visiting their embassy, where Morales' allies are hiding seeking refuge.
On Monday, the interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Anez, said that Mexican ambassador María Teresa Mercado had received 72 hours to leave the country.
The acting Bolivian government initiated criminal charges against Morales' allies for sedition, "terrorism,quot; and electoral fraud, and refused to allow them a safe passage outside the country.
"A serious violation has been committed against Bolivian sovereignty and democracy, which must be respected," said Anez.
Anez assumed power last month after Morales resigned and fled to Mexico City after a presidential election that, according to the Organization of American States, was manipulated in his favor.
Morales's acceptance of an offer of political asylum from the leftist government of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stretched ties with Anez, an opponent of Morales.
On Friday, the Mexican ambassador finally contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, which urged Spanish diplomats to leave the premises and return to their cars, but refused to do so without their security details. In the end, the two diplomats were picked up by a car sent by the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs more than an hour later, the Mexican embassy said.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, Karen Longaric, said at a press conference that Spanish diplomats were accompanied by men with their faces covered trying to enter the residence in a surreptitious manner.
As diplomatic personnel cannot hide their identities, police arrested the masked men who entered, he said.
"There was an obvious threat to the security of the Mexican mission," he said, adding that he would present an official protest to Spain, the European Union and the United Nations.
The Mexican statement did not mention the masked men.
The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would open an investigation into the incident.
According to the Bolivian government, a former Morales principal assistant, Juan Ramón Quintana, is among the nine people who have taken asylum at the Mexican embassy. The Bolivian government has not named the nine inside.
Those who have been identified, including Quintana, are allies of Morales sought by the government.
When asked about the dispute on Friday in a regular briefing, The president of Mexico, López Obrador, said: "The right of asylum must be guaranteed."
Morales left Mexico this month and is now in Argentina.
According to the Mexican government, Bolivia has issued arrest warrants for at least four of the people inside its embassy.
On Thursday, Mexico said it was asking the International Court of Justice to mediate the dispute.