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Brazil-Bolivia dispute prompts foreign minister's resignation

August 27, 2013

Brazil has seen its share of social and political upheaval throughout the past summer, with massive protests and economic difficulties occurring in recent months. Such events may be topics of conversation among the country's citizens when they call foreign relatives using international calling cards.

Recently, a diplomatic dispute between Brazil and the neighboring nation of Bolivia engendered some significant fallout. Antonio Patriota, Brazil's Foreign Minister, resigned from his post on the morning of Aug. 26, according to BBC News. This took place after word got out that Roger Pinto, a controversial Bolivian senator who had sought political asylum in the Brazilian embassy in La Paz, escaped over the Bolivia-Brazil border in an unauthorized exodus with the aid of a Brazilian official, Eduardo Saboia. 

Political consequences
The news source reported that although Patriota chose not to remain in his current position, he is not leaving the Brazilian diplomatic sphere. He is slated to swap job titles with Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, who until yesterday served as Brazil's ambassador to the United Nations. 

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, in a statement released to the media, claimed that her administration had no knowledge of Saboia's choice to sneak Pinto over the Brazilian border. According to The Independent, Patriota in fact expressly forbade anyone in his office from interfering in the exiled senator's situation, and Saboia made the decision to aid him personally.

Roots of the scandal
Senator Pinto faces 14 charges from the Bolivian federal government, including accusations of political corruption. For his part, Pinto claims that the charges are baseless and stem from his position as a dissident.

The senator has publicly accused Bolivian President Evo Morales and his administration of being somehow affiliated with the country's drug trade. After being accused of his aforementioned alleged crimes, he requested political asylum and remained in the La Paz embassy offices for 450 days before leaving.

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