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Bolivia appoints first US ambassador in 11 years

November 27, 2019

Ties between Bolivia and the US had taken a turn for the worse under former president Morales, as both countries expelled ambassadors in 2008. Bolivia's caretaker government is now seeking to reset ties with Washington.

Bolivia interim President Jeanine Anez
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/AP Photo/J. Karita

Bolivia's interim government on Tuesday appointed the country's first ambassador to the United States in 11 years, the South American country's foreign ministry announced in a tweet.

Walter Oscar Serrate Cuellar, a former permanent representative and Bolivian ambassador to the UN, was nominated for the job. His appointment has to be approved by the US Congress.

Ties between Bolivia and the US had remained tense under the rule of former socialist President Evo Morales, who accused Washington of meddling in his country's affairs.

In 2008, Morales' government expelled the US ambassador in La Paz, Philip Goldberg, on accusations that he supported the Bolivian opposition. The US also ousted Gustavo Guzman, the Bolivian ambassador to Washington, in a counter move.

Read more: Bolivia crisis: 5 things to know

Resetting ties with Washington

Bolivia's caretaker government is seeking to mend ties with the US after Morales' resignation and escape to Mexico.

Morales resigned on November 10 at the request of his country's military. The crisis began after Morales claimed he won a fourth term in October's election, despite widespread irregularities and opposition accusations of election rigging.

Read more: Bolivia: Fuel plant clashes turn deadly

The dispute and resulting civil unrest exposed divisions between indigenous people loyal to Morales and Bolivia's urban middle and upper classes.

Since declaring herself interim president, right-wing politician Jeanine Anez (main picture) has taken a number of measures to rewrite Bolivia's foreign policy. Breaking ties with socialist countries Cuba and Venezuela is one of her major decisions.

On Sunday, Bolivia's congress approved a bill that seeks to quell weeks of unrest by allowing for new elections that exclude Morales.

shs/se (AFP, dpa)

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