Bolivian Foreign Minister Defends Recent Policy Shifts

President Jeanine Anez’s government wasted little time in radically transforming Bolivia’s foreign policy since she came to power in the aftermath of the resignations of Evo Morales and the next three people in the line of presidential succession.

Within a week of becoming the new foreign minister of Bolivia, according to Reuters, Karen Longaric raised concerns with the Cuban government over allegations that Cuban doctors in Bolivia were involved in protests against the new Anez government.

Cuba responded by recalling 725 of its citizens back to the island nation.

According to Reuters, Longaric also asked Venezuelan officials appointed by President Nicolas Maduro to leave Bolivia.

While the new government is turning away from leftist governments in the Americas, it is embracing countries formerly shunned under the Morales administration, including the United States.

On November 26, Reuters reported at the time, Anez named a temporary ambassador to the United States, a role which was vacant since 2008.

In a recent interview with AFP, Longaric defended the changes.

Although she stated that the new Bolivian government wants to strengthen ties with all countries, it is clear that she is not optimistic about relationships with leftist governments in the region, including with the new government in Argentina under Alberto Fernandez.

However, Longaric defended the right of President Anez to shift Bolivia’s foreign policy despite the circumstances that brought her government to power.

Ultimately the longevity of Bolivia’s recent foreign policy shifts will rest with the electorate. Elections will be held in 2020 and although Morales and former vice president Garcia Linera are prohibited from running for office, their party, MAS, is expected to field candidates.

Should the Bolivian voters return the presidency to MAS, then the recent foreign policy shifts will go down as a footnote in the history of this time.

However, if a conservative government is elected to a full term, then Latin America, especially Cuba, Nicaragua, and the Maduro regime in Venezuela, will have to reconcile with a significant shift in the political landscape.

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