Bolivia announces renewal of diplomatic ties with Israel

Bolivia’s new interim government announced a renewal of ties with Israel as part of an overall shift in its foreign policy.

Pictured: Bolivian Foreign Minister Karen Longaric, who was recently in Israel.

Karen Longaric, foreign minister of Bolivia’s transitional government, announced the country’s new policy last week. The change was made possible after former Bolivian president Evo Morales stepped down last month. The socialist leader, who was generally antagonistic toward Israel, unilaterally broke off ties with the Jewish state in 2009 after Israel’s conflict with Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.

Morales canceled a 30-year agreement enabling Israelis to visit Bolivia without visas and, in 2014, called Israel a “terrorist state.” Longaric said that Morales’ decisions didn’t take into account the economic and commercial benefits Bolivia had derived from Israeli tourism to the South American nation.

Israel welcomed the news. Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the renewal of relations would “contribute to Israel’s foreign relations and to its international status.”

Apparently the change has been in the works for a while. Katz said talks with Bolivia with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Brazil’s foreign minister have been ongoing for some time.

The new Bolivian government, apparently eager to undo many policies set in place while Morales was in office, also appointed its first ambassador to the United States in 11 years.

Morales resigned on Nov. 10 and fled to Mexico where he was granted political asylum after election results were disputed and street protests, the police and military turned against him. Sen. Jeanine Anez, who has been recognized by the United States, declared herself the interim president.

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