Alberto Fernández’s government is accusing Mauricio Macri’s administration of having smuggled anti-riot munitions into Bolivia in November 2019 to “support the coup d’état” against Evo Morales. Macri and three of his former employees are being investigated in court. Understand the case.
The complaint came after Bolivia’s Foreign Minister Rogelio Mayta released, in early July, a letter allegedly written on November 13 by Bolivian General Jorge Terceros, then commander of the Bolivian Air Force, to the then Argentine ambassador in La Paz, Normando Álvarez. In it, Terceros thanked the ambassador for his “collaboration with this armed institution” and mentioned the receipt of riot cartridges, tear gas and gas grenades.
Along with the image of the letter, Mayta posted on her Twitter: “The government of Mauricio Macri provided ‘war material’ to Jeanine Áñez’s de facto regime in 2019 to repress social protests and to stop [ela] consolidate itself in government by force. The Sacaba and Senkata massacres cannot go unpunished”. According to human rights organizations, 20 people died in these localities during protests, in the days when Áñez took over the government of Bolivia.
Álvarez said he had not received a letter of thanks from no Bolivian commander. Terceros, who is imprisoned in Bolivia, denied that the letter is authentic. However, a military attaché at the Argentine embassy verified the authenticity of his signature on the copy presented by the Bolivian minister, indicating that he received the letter.
Alberto Fernández accepted the accusation against his political rival and said he would investigate the case.
“It was discovered that a shipment of material was sent from our country that can only be interpreted as reinforcing the capacity of action of the seditious forces against the Bolivian population in those days,” wrote the Argentine head of government. “It was a collaboration decided by the government of then president Mauricio Macri with the military and police repression suffered by those who defended the institutional order in their country,” he added.
Macri assured that the denunciation is part of a political operation and said that during that period the Argentine embassy in La Paz granted asylum to Evo Morales’ employees.
Complaint in court
Days later, Argentina’s Justice Minister Martín Soria announced that the government would take the case to court, after finding, in internal investigations, inconsistencies in the records of sending ammunition and other non-lethal anti-riot materials to Bolivia.
On July 16, the Public Prosecutor’s Office carried out the complaint of “aggravated contrarrando”, opening an investigation against Mauricio Macri; the former Minister of Public Security, Patricia Bullrich; former Defense Minister Oscar Aguad; the then Argentine ambassador Normando Álvarez; the former director of the Gendarmerie Nacional Argentina Gerardo José Otero; the former director of logistics at the institution Rubén Carlos Yavorski; and Carlos Miguel Recalde, former director of the Gendarmerie Operations Department.
what is known so far
An Argentine Air Force plane landed in La Paz on November 13, a day after Áñez assumed the country’s presidency, carrying Argentine National Gendarmerie guards, ammunition and riot gear to guard the country’s embassy in the Bolivian capital amid to violent protests.
At first, 3,600 rubber bullets were expected to be sent, but later Yavorski increased the request for authorization from the National Agency for Controlled Materials (Anmac) to take another 70,000 ammunition to Bolivia.
This material has not returned to Argentina. It was used in Bolivia in “training exercises and shooting practices,” as reported by Argentina’s Gendarmerie in a report last year. The Fernández government believes it is “impossible” that they have used so many rubber bullets in training.
Luis Arce’s government, in turn, stated that part of the material is still with the Bolivian police and that there is no document on its entry into Bolivia.
The process is in its initial stage. Judge Javier López Biscayart, who is analyzing the complaint, made a series of requests to government institutions, including asking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the original letter from Terceros to Álvarez be presented in the process.