The Bolivian government has announced plans to deport a prominent Cuban dissident who publicly criticized President Evo Morales' close ties to Havana.
Cuban doctor Amauris Samartino, who holds permanent residence status in Bolivia, will be expelled under a 1996 law forbidding immigrants to "intervene in any form in internal politics or incite by any means the alteration of the social and political order," according to a government statement on Sunday.
Samartino was arrested Saturday in the eastern city of Santa Cruz, a center of anti-Morales opposition, and later transferred to the Bolivian capital of La Paz. He will be flown home to Cuba once his case has been processed, the statement said.
Opposition leaders on Santa Cruz have decried Samartino's arrest and say they plan to ask Bolivia's public defender's office to block the expulsion.
Samartino was one of a group of Cuban dissidents who fled to Bolivia in 2000, but the Bolivian government announced on Sunday that Samartino does not hold refugee status.
Samartino has been a vocal critic of Cuba's government and has publicly decried the influence of Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Morales' administration.
Morales is a close ally of Castro, calling the fellow leftist a "wise uncle."
Since Morales took office a year ago as Bolivia's first Indian president, Castro has sent more than 1,500 Cuban doctors to provide much-needed medical services in South America's poorest country.
Samartino has helped some of those doctors flee to neighboring Brazil or the United States.