Argentina to file protest against Bolivia over biker’s death
Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday it would seek an explanation from Bolivian authorities regarding the death of the 61-year-old retired teacher from Salta province who was allegedly denied medical attention after a motorcycle accident because he could not afford it in Bolivian currency.
(Also read https://en.mercopress.com/2022/07/11/argentina-man-reportedly-left-to-die-for-lacking-bolivian-money)
Argentina’s government will file an official protest on Tuesday for the death of Alejandro Beníez, who should have been taken in an ambulance to a location with more complex medical facilities, but was denied service after neither he nor his biker friends were unable to pay the fee of 1,000 BOB (144 USD). “Your money is useless to us,” the Argentine side reportedly said as they attempted to pay in Argentine pesos.
Benítez died after an accident between Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba. According to TN, the Argentine Embassy in La Paz is to deliver an official note of protest to the Bolivian Foreign Ministry demanding an “explanation” of the incident, while stressing the “deep concern of the Argentine government over the situation of the death of an Argentinian citizen, who was in a life-threatening situation and had not received the necessary medical care”, in violation of the international treaty on medical assistance signed in 2019.
The Argentine Foreign Ministry also told reporters on Monday that Benítez’s friends and family contacted the Argentine consulate in Cochabamba once the teacher had already died, due to which “it was not possible to intervene earlier”.
Benítez had worked all his life as a teacher at Technical School 3135 in the town of General Mosconi in the province of Salta. He had retired less than a year ago.
Meanwhile, protests are mounting on social media demanding that all Bolivian citizens be denied medical treatment in Argentine public facilities, which is in any case free, which could trigger xenophobic violence in the country, according to sources in Buenos Aires consulted by MercoPress.