The ties between Bolivia and neighboring Argentina were strained this Saturday (17), the eve of the Bolivian elections, and part of the common border will be closed by order of a governor critical of former President Evo Morales.
The Argentine government has had tense relations for months with Bolivia’s transitory president, Jeanine Áñez, for granting refuge to Morales, but the situation has been further aggravated by the arrival of Argentine lawmakers to observe the elections.
An Argentine government deputy ran into problems on Friday night with immigration agents at the airport serving La Paz, where officials tried to deny him entry.
In addition, the southern region of Tarija announced on Saturday that it will keep the border with Argentina closed on Sunday, amid news that Morales would be in the border area to try to return to the Andean country.
“There was a chain of disinformation indicating that Argentine deputies had been detained, that never happened,” said Bolivia’s interior minister (interior), Arturo Murillo, of what happened to Argentine government legislator Federico Fagioli, upon arriving at the airport that serves La Paz.
Although Fagioli was finally allowed to enter Bolivia, a country to which he traveled at the invitation of leaders of Morales’ left party, at first immigration agents urged him to return to Argentina.
“Yes, Mr. Fagioli, an Argentine deputy, was informed that he was not welcome to Bolivia, please return to your country,” admitted Murillo, detailing that the reason is that he tried to enter as a tourist and not as an election observer.
In addition, Fagioli allegedly “lied” to immigration agents when he said it was his first visit to Bolivia, despite having been in the Andean country in 2019, he added.
Fagioli “lied twice, anywhere in the world this is a crime,” said Murillo.
The deputy arrived with three other parliamentarians from the Argentine left invited to observe the elections by the president of Congress, Eva Copa, of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) of Morales.
Murillo said that Fagioli was finally allowed to enter at the request of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Bolivia and the observation mission of the Organization of American States (OAS).
At the same time, the Tarija government announced that the border with Argentina will be closed on Sunday, by decision of Governor Adrián Oliva, a critic of Morales, amid reports that the former Bolivian president would be in a neighboring city on the Argentine side. .