BBC, O GLOBO (Brazil), LA RAZÓN (Bolivia)
BRASILIA — Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota resigned last night in the wake of a diplomatic row with Bolivia, the BBC reports. He sent his resignation to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff after it emerged that a Bolivian senator accused of corruption who had been sheltered in the Brazilian embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, fled the country for the Brazilian capital in a diplomatic car over the weekend.
Senator Roger Pinto, a Bolivian opposition politician, was given asylum just under 15 months ago. According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, 22 charges have been filed against him, including corruption. Pinto is also said to be involved in the massacre of native Bolivians in 2008. He denied the charges, however, saying they had been fabricated and that he was being persecuted by President Evo Morales' government.
Bolivian foreign minister David Choquehuanca expressed the government’s concern, explaining that “the mechanisms of cooperation between the two states had been violated,” La Razón reports. He therefore demanded explanations from the Brazilian government, saying that the actions of the embassy created a “negative precedent for the international community, since drugs, weapons or other illegal merchandise could be taken out of the country in the same way that Pinto was.”
It is not clear whether Antonio Patriota knew that the Bolivian politician was being transported to Brazil. He will switch posts with Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Brazil’s ambassador to the United Nations.