The King, the second vice president of the Government, Pablo Iglesias, the Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, and the Ibero-American Secretary General, Rebeca Grynspan, traveled this Saturday to La Paz (Bolivia), in a plane of the Spanish Air Force, to attend the inauguration of the new president of the country, Luis Arce. It is the first time that Felipe VI and Iglesias, who come at the personal invitation of Arce, make an official trip together.
The Podemos leader has criticized the Monarchy on several occasions in recent months. The last time was when he demanded “political neutrality” from the head of State after he telephoned the president of the General Council of the Judiciary, Carlos Lesmes, to excuse his absence from the delivery of dispatches from the Judicial School in Barcelona, as a consequence of the Government veto.
However, although Podemos continues to request that an investigation commission be created in Congress on the businesses of Juan Carlos I, Iglesias has kept a significant silence this week, after learning that the Prosecutor’s Office had opened two new investigations against Juan Carlos I, for the alleged use of opaque cards and the holding of companies in tax havens. The last time the King and the vice president had seen each other was at the act of October 12 at the Royal Palace, where Iglesias remained impassive before the Monarch’s military salute.
Felipe VI plans to hold bilateral meetings with the president-elect of Bolivia and with the presidents of Colombia, Iván Duque, and Argentina, Luis Fernández, in addition to meeting with the Spanish colony in Paraguay.
The meeting with Arce will serve to definitively close the diplomatic crisis that began on December 27, when two Spanish diplomats, accompanied by geos, visited the Mexican ambassador in Bolivia. The interim Government of Jeanine Añez accused the Spanish Government of trying to facilitate the escape of high-ranking officials of Evo Morales who were refugees in the Mexican legation and declared the charge d’affaires and the Spanish consul persona non gratas, to which Madrid replied with the expulsion of three Bolivian diplomats. Although relations have been normalizing, Spain still does not have an ambassador in La Paz.
The situation changed on the 19th, when Arce, candidate of the Movement for Socialism (MAS), the party of Evo Morales, achieved a resounding victory in the presidential elections, with more than 55% of the votes.
Iglesias attends as the personal guest of Arce, with whose party Podemos maintains close relations. During his stay in La Paz, he could have a parallel agenda and meet with Correa’s candidate for president of Ecuador in the February 2021 elections, Andrés Arauz, according to sources close to the latter.
The King could not attend the inauguration of the Argentine president, in December 2019, to coincide with the round of consultations in Spain, but he has already met on two occasions with Fernández. He has also held several meetings with the president of Colombia, the last of them last March in Montevideo.