Bolivian Foreign Minister Karen Longaric has clarified that the Government will not repatriate nationals stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic because Bolivia is a «poor country», although she has indicated that it will help them with food and medications through consulates.
Bolivia, like many countries, has closed its borders to stop the spread of the virus, which has left thousands of its citizens trapped abroad, the majority in Chile.
In recent weeks, controversy has grown over the government’s decision to suspend repatriations, something that even provoked confrontations between Bolivians who wanted to return and the military guarding the border.
«I know that the flights that came to pick up European citizens have been paid for by European citizens, not by their governments (…) Therefore, I do not think that the government should be criticized, we are a poor country, imagine if Rich countries apply that policy, «he said Tuesday in an interview with University Television.
However, it announced that the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been increased to «carry out public-private transfers in kind, during the period of the health emergency (…) in favor of Bolivian citizens abroad in situations of vulnerability», as reported by the Bolivian newspaper ‘La Razón’.
Longaric explained that Bolivians will be helped «in a difficult situation» by providing food, medicine and hygiene products, among other things, «but not with money.» «We have already started to do it to compatriots who have lost a loved one in Spain, who need to cremate them and it is very expensive,» he said.
Bolivia has declared a national quarantine, suspended classes and non-essential activities, as well as closed borders, to combat the coronavirus, which already leaves 609 confirmed cases and 37 deaths in the country.