LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales on Wednesday announced that his country will continue providing diplomatic visas for Chilean officials, despite Santiago’s decision to cancel that benefit for Bolivian government personnel.
“Chilean Foreign Ministry confirms it will cancel visa for Bolivian diplomats. Despite their abuses, Bolivia will NOT cancel visa for Chilean diplomats,” wrote Morales on his Twitter account.
Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz announced Tuesday that his country will give notice of termination of the 1985 agreement on diplomatic visas, a move that will require all Bolivian officials to have visas in their passports to be allowed entry into Chile.
The decision will affect diplomatic personnel, but not Bolivian citizens, who still will be able to use their identification cards to enter Chile, Santiago said.
Morales on Tuesday evening criticized the Chilean announcement, which he called “a policy of vindictive punishment and an attitude of diplomatic distancing.”
The measure came after a series of accusations between authorities of the two countries surrounding the controversial trip by a delegation headed by Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca to the Chilean ports of Arica and Antofagasta to verify complaints of alleged mistreatment of Bolivian truckers.
Without first receiving authorization from Chilean authorities, Choquehuanca and the delegation made an inspection of the Chilean ports, amid incidents that sparked mutual recriminations and a commotion that resulted in an exchange of notes of protest.
Some 83 percent of Bolivia’s exports are shipped abroad through the northern Chilean ports and 81 percent of the landlocked country’s imports arrive there.
Bolivia on numerous occasions has demanded that Chile comply with the obligations of free transit for its merchandise set forth in the 1904 treaty signed after the war in which Bolivia lost its coastal territory to Chilean troops.