Mexico: Bolivian agents surround ambassador's residence

MARÍA VERZA

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico complained Monday that 150 Bolivian intelligence agents have surrounded the Mexican ambassador's residence in La Paz and tried to search the ambassador's vehicle.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said the ring of Bolivian agents in military dress started over the weekend.

The department said the presence of the guards and the stopping and attempted search of a diplomatic vehicle violated diplomatic protections and guarantees.

Mexico briefly gave asylum to ousted President Evo Morales and has given refuge to about 30 of his supporters at its embassy facilities in La Paz.

A Mexican federal official with knowledge of the situation said those currently at the embassy included nine top officials, one of whom was Juan Ramón Quintana, Morales' chief of staff and right-hand-man.

The official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the others were the former ministers of defense, Eduardo Zavaleta; justice, Héctor Enrique Arce; mining, Félix César Navarro; government, José Hugo Moldiz; and culture, Antonia Wilma Alanoca. He said there also were two former vice ministers and the ex-head of the Governmental Agency of Electronics and Communications, Nicolás Laguna.

Mexico called the Bolivian interim government's actions "unacceptable" in an open letter to the Organization of American States.

Morales resigned as Bolivia's president on Nov. 10, after conservative opponents staged demonstrations against alleged vote fraud in his attempt to win re-election.

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Associated Press writer Paola Flores contributed to this report from La Paz, Bolivia.