The Argentine public prosecutor opened an investigation on Friday (16) to investigate an alleged shipment of arms and ammunition carried out by the administration of then-President Mauricio Macri in Bolivia in 2019 – the material was allegedly used to suppress supporters of Evo Morales, who had just ceded command of the country.
The arms shipment would have taken place shortly after Jeanine Áñez took office as Bolivian presidency in November 2019, precisely to replace Evo.
His rise to power, however, was surrounded by controversy. In opposition, she was the second vice-president of the Bolivian Senate, but found herself at the head of the country after the resignation of Evo and the top of the Congress amid allegations of election fraud and protests against the government.
Allies of the former president and some analysts, however, pointed out at the time that the measure did not follow the constitutional rule of succession and, therefore, considered it to have carried out a coup.
As a result, thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the new government, which responded by violently cracking down on the acts.
The Argentine court now wants to know whether the Macri administration sent weapons and ammunition to be used in this crackdown. His successor to the Argentine presidency, Alberto Fernández, echoed the accusations and even apologized to the Bolivian people for sending the material.
Among those investigated are the former Argentine president himself and two of his ministers, Patricia Bullrich (Security) and Oscar Aguad (Defense) – all denying any involvement in the affair.
“Equipment has been sent to secure our embassy in La Paz, not weapons to be used against the Bolivians,” Macri told a local broadcaster. He said the charge against him was “political persecution to distract from the economic and health situation in the pre-election period.” Argentina will hold legislative elections in November.
The denunciation made by the Fernández government includes, in addition to the abusive shipment of war material, the embezzlement of public funds and the abuse of power. Prosecutor Claudio Navas Rial, however, said the investigation, for now, will focus on the first element.
The evidence presented by the current administration is a letter, signed by then-Bolivian Air Force Commander Gonzalo Terceros, thanking the Argentine Ambassador to the country, Ariel Basteiro, for sending the equipment. The text speaks of “anti-disturbance cartridges” and “grenades”. Macri says the document is false.
When the letter was published, Fernández, Evo’s political ally and who received him as a refugee in Argentina during the Bolivian crisis, apologized to the current government of the neighboring country.
In a letter to current Bolivian president Luis Arce (who belongs to MAS, the same party as Evo), Fernández said he felt “pain and shame” for what was allegedly done by his predecessor.
Arce posted on his social networks: “We reject the support of the government of the former President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, for the coup d’état that we experienced in Bolivia in 2019. Sending military equipment to suppress the Bolivian people are going against international standards “.