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Bolivia closes Nicaragua, Iran embassies to save money for coronavirus

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

La Paz, Bolivia   /   Fri, June 5, 2020   /   01:45 pm
Bolivia closes Nicaragua, Iran embassies to save money for coronavirus Bolivian interim President Jeanine Anez (center) prays on a rooftop as Monsignor Fernando Bascope leads a Good Friday procession on a truck through the streets of La Paz on April 10, 2020 while most of Holy Week's celebrations were cancelled worldwide as a precautionary measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. Bolivia ordered the closure of its embassies in Nicaragua and Iran while also shuttering three federal ministries in a cost-cutting move to free up money to fight the coronavirus, President Jeanine Anez said Thursday. (AFP/Aizar Raldes )

Bolivia ordered the closure of its embassies in Nicaragua and Iran while also shuttering three federal ministries in a cost-cutting move to free up money to fight the coronavirus, President Jeanine Anez said Thursday.

Former leftist president Evo Morales had established close political and economic ties with the two countries before he resigned last November following days of violent unrest.

"We have nothing against those countries, noble people and brothers whom we respect and who are friends," Anez said in a televised message in which she announced she would "close the Bolivian embassies in Iran and Nicaragua."

In addition, she said, the country's culture and sports ministries would now fall under the education ministry, while the communication ministry will become part of the presidency's portfolio.

"An important point for the economy is that the government knows how to save and that is why we have ordered to reduce three ministries: Instead of 20 we will have 17," she said. 

"All of the money saved through this reduction will go towards health and fighting the virus," she added, without specifying how much money the measures will free up.

Bolivia has so far registered more than 12,000 cases of coronavirus and over 400 fatalities.