Bolivia's interim government cuts ties with Cuba: foreign ministry

2 min

La Paz (AFP)

Bolivia on Friday announced it was breaking off diplomatic relations with long-time ally Cuba, the latest in a series of foreign policy reversals by the right-wing interim government.

Interim President Jeanine Anez has previously cut ties with Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro -- a major ally of leftist ex-president Evo Morales -- recognizing instead his opposition rival Juan Guaido.

Minister of the Presidency Yerko Nunez said recent comments by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez that Anez was a "coup-leader" were "unacceptable".

In a statement issued by the foreign ministry, Nunez also hit out at the "constant hostility" towards the interim government by Cuba, also a staunch Morales ally.

Anez has previously expelled more than 700 health workers who were in the country as part of Cuba's foreign medical aid initiative.

She criticized that program again last week, saying that during Morales' 14 years in power, Bolivia had paid $147 million to Cuba's medical program, only 20 percent of which actually went to it.

"The rest was diverted to finance Castro-communism," she said.

On Twitter, Rodriguez dismissed her comments as "the vulgar lies of the self proclaimed coup leader in Bolivia."

Cuba blames the United States, and its allies like Anez, for campaigning to discredit an initiative that has sent more than 400,000 health workers to 164 countries.

A little-known senator, Anez assumed the presidency on November 12 after Morales resigned following three weeks of sometimes violent protests against his controversial re-election in a poll the Organization of American States said was rigged.

Morales' vice-president, and the presidents of the senate and lower house -- all members of the same Movement for Socialism (MAS) party -- likewise resigned, leaving opposition lawmaker Anez as the highest-ranking official.

Her government has called fresh elections in the South American country for May 3.