Brazil's foreign minister steps down amid diplomatic dispute with Bolivia


Brazil's Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota, speaks in Rio de Janeiro on August 19, 2013 at the seminar organized by the United Nations to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of 22 people — including UN secretary general's special representative to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello — in a suicide bomb attack against the Baghdad hotel housing the UN offices in 2003. Patriota resigned as foreign minister on August 26, 2013 after a diplomatic dispute with Bolivia.



SAO PAULO, Brazil — Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota stepped down on Monday and will become Brazil's representative to the United Nations after the country had a diplomatic dispute with Bolivia.

Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Brazil's current representative to the UN, will also take over Patriota's old post to become the new foreign minister.

Patriota quit after Bolivian opposition politician senator Roger Pinto, who was given asylum at the Brazilian embassy in La Paz last year, left the country and entered Brazil in a diplomatic car.

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Brazilian diplomat Eduardo Saboia admitted to using his diplomatic immunity to help Pinto make the 20-hour drive to the border without permission from either of the neighboring South American countries.

Saboia said Pinto is suffering from depression after living in a small room in the embassy for the past 450 days, which is why he decided to help him.

Pinto is accused in Bolivia of at least 14 crimes, one of which is corruption. He has denied the allegations and received asylum after saying he was being persecuted.

After the escape was made public, Bolivia accused Brazil of violating international agreements. The Brazilian government did not know that Pinto was being brought into the country and, according to media in Brazil, considered it a "disaster."

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