LA PAZ – President Evo Morales on Wednesday praised Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca for his “courage” in leading a delegation to the northern Chilean port of Arica to “demand respect” for Bolivians.
“Let’s express our admiration for the courage of the brother minister and the whole delegation for traveling to Chile and demanding respect for our Bolivian brothers who go through or live there,” Morales said.
Morales and his Council of Ministers received Choquehuanca with applause in one of the halls at the Government Palace.
Recognition was given to Senate president Jose Alberto Gonzales and House of Representatives president Gabriela Montaño, who were part of the delegation.
The group that traveled to the “former Bolivian ports” of Arica and Antofagasta had the “wisdom” to “verify abuses” committed in Chile against Bolivian truckers, Morales said.
The delegation traveled on Sunday to Arica to investigate allegations of mistreatment of Bolivian truck drivers at northern Chilean ports.
The Chilean government considered the delegation’s trip a private visit because diplomatic protocols were not followed, a position that Choquehuanca rejected.
Choquehuanca’s visit led to Chile’s decision to terminate a 1985 agreement on diplomatic visas, forcing all Bolivian officials to apply for visas to enter the neighboring country.
The decision will affect Bolivian diplomatic staff but not other Bolivian citizens, who can use their national ID cards to enter Chile, the Chilean government said.