14ymedio, Havana, December 2, 2019 — Marcel Rivas, director of the Bolivian immigration service, told local reporters that the government has expelled some three hundred Cuban and Venezuelan nationals who were in the country illegally. They are not believed to have entered Bolivia either as tourists or to seek employment.
“We can state with confidence that there are more than three hundred Venezuelan and Cuban citizens who were in this country illegally, who are not complying with our laws,” added the official
According to Rivas most of the undocumented individuals were living in La Paz. He said the expulsions were carried out humanely and in compliance with the law.
“We carried out the latest operation on Thursday, during which time we repatriated roughly thirty-five Venezuelan citizens who were in the country illegally for more than six months,” he added.
Rivas said that immigration controls will be increased. At a press conference he said that a lack of political will on the part of the previous government led to Bolivia’s immigration control system becoming disconnected from Interpol, allowing drug traffickers and criminals to enter the country.
“Very serious damage has been done. Terrorist cells have been entering the country for a long time. The government minister has confirmed that there are terrorist cells operating here,” he added.
Since Evo Morales resigned as president and fled to Mexico in the wake of demonstrations over electoral fraud, the interim government has been suspicious of the presence of Cubans and Venezuelans in the country.
The new government suspects that some members of Cuban medical teams on missions to Bolivia were really state security agents. One of Jeanine Añez’ first decisions as interim president was to expel more than seven hundred Cuban agents from the country. Her government has also broken off relations with the Maduro regime and recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.
Bolivia has abandoned ALBA, a leftist trading bloc created by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez to expand Cuban influence in the region.
“We cannot allow violent Cubans, violent Venezuelans, to create disturbances in our country… We know that 21st century socialism has its own manual,” Áñez said in an interview with CNN in which she raised the issue of Cuban and Venezuelan interference in her country.
“One has to learn from outside experiences. Look at a photo of Cuba from 1960. They are so limited that they are always need godparents in order to survive. What successes has Cuba had? What successes has 21st century socialism had? We see a destroyed Venezuela. One of the richest and most beautiful countries in Latin America destroyed,” said Áñez, distancing herself from her predecessor’s ideological allies.
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.