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Brazilian president chides diplomat in Bolivian affair   13-08-28 16:02

BRASILIA, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Brazilians President Dilma Rousseff Tuesday distanced her government from the actions of a rogue diplomat who smuggled a Bolivian senator seeking asylum out of the Brazilian embassy in La Paz over the weekend, and drove him to Brazil.

At a press conference, Rousseff dismissed diplomat Eduardo Saboia's argument that the right-wing senator, Roger Pinto Molina, was being "politically persecuted" by the socialist administration of Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Molina had been holed up at the embassy for 15 months, in an attempt to avoid going to jail on charges of corruption.

Saboia, the embassy's charge d'affaires, defended his actions, saying Pinto's predicament was similar to Rousseff's, when she was a young activist imprisoned by Brazil's military regime.

"I chose life. I chose to protect someone, a persecuted politician, just as President Dilma (Rousseff) was persecuted," Saboia told Brazil's Globo television Monday.

"It was as if I were his jailer, as if I were at the DOI-Codi," said Soboia, referring to a notorious center for detention and torture during Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

Rousseff, however, refuted his claims.

"There is no similarity. I have been to DOI-Codi, I know what DOI-Codi is," she said, "and I can assure you DOI-Codi is as distant from the Brazilian embassy in La Paz as hell is from heaven," which risked insecurity.

Rousseff said Defense Minister Celso Amorim was to explain later Tuesday why naval guards had escorted the senator and Seboia on the 22-hour road trip towards the Bolivian-Brazil border.

The scandal led Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota to resign Monday. He will be switching posts with Brazil's ambassador to the United Nations.

Saboia has been suspended and is scheduled to account for his actions in front of an investigative committee.

On Monday, Bolivia said it was looking into the possibility of requesting Pinto's extradition, so he can serve a year's sentence for stealing public funds.

TITLE: Brazilian president chides diplomat in Bolivian affair
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