Mexico's government said on Thursday it was appealing to the International Court of Justice to ensure its diplomatic facilities were respected in Bolivia following its decision to grant asylum to nine people there.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told a regular news conference that Mexico wanted the court, based in The Hague, to mediate in the dispute, which has rumbled on between the two Latin American countries this week.
Since Monday, Mexico has accused Bolivia’s government of ramping up the police presence outside the Mexican embassy in La Paz and of intimidating its diplomats.
Ebrard said Mexico had had “good support” from the international community in its dispute with the new conservative government of Bolivia, which took power last month when long-serving leftist president Evo Morales resigned.
Morales stepped down under pressure from social upheaval and was suggested by the Bolivian armed forces to resign, after a presidential election that the Organization of American States (OAS) said was rigged in his favor.
He quickly accepted an offer of political asylum from Mexico, putting a strain on relations between Mexico the new administration headed by interim President Jeanine Añez, a former conservative senator and opponent of Morales.
Morales left Mexico this month and is now in Argentina.
Ebrard said he expected the weight of international opinion to fall behind Mexico, and likened the attitude taken by what he called the “de facto” Bolivian government to military-led regimes from Latin America in power during the 1970s.
However the Bolivian government gracefully accepted the challenge of going to The Hague, underlining that a reinforcement of security was requested by the Mexican ambassador in La Paz. Besides according to intelligence sources, there could be a surprise raid on the embassy by radical groups, who demand some of the former Morales ministers, taking refuge, to face charges in Bolivian courts.
According to Mexican sources the normal number of police custodians outside the embassy normally is six to eight, however at the moment there are some ninety fully equipped security personnel.