Admiral Omar Yanez (center), head of the Bolivian International Ship Registry office. (APG)
Admiral Omar Yanez (center), head of the Bolivian International Ship Registry office. (APG)

By Carlos A. Quiroga

Evo Morales’s government sided with the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi when he faced in 2011 a rebellion, openly supported by the Western powers, which ended his life and his regime.

Four years later, with Gaddafi dead and Libya plunged into a long war between tribal groups, the name of Bolivia appears again in the mess of the country in North Africa, this time for a case of arms trafficking.

A boat with Bolivian flag, Haddad 1 is held since August 31 at a port in Greece, after the Coast Guard discovered inside an illegal shipment of weapons to Libya, in violation of an international embargo.

Neither boat nor crew are Bolivian, but this did not prevent the global media put the name of Bolivia in the center of reports of the smuggling.

There are currently 48 other merchant ships with Bolivian flag in the world’s seas. These are vessels, as reported by the Bolivian authorities responsible for registration, that have met all the administrative and security requirements to be authorized to carry the Bolivian flag.

Haddad’s case questions the effectiveness of administrative and security controls Bolivia should performe on any ship intending to carry the national flag.

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