Wednesday, July 17, 2024

LATIN AMERICA | 09-07-2021 22:15

Bolivia says Argentina sent tear gas, ammunition to Áñez administration in 2019

President Alberto Fernández apologises to the Bolivian government amid claims that tear gas and live ammunition were shipped then used to repress protests.

The Bolivian government headed by President Luis Arce denounced last Thursday that Mauricio Macri administration (2015-2019) had sent tear gas and live ammunition to the Bolivian military forces for the repression of social protests by followers of ex-president Evo Morales in 2019.

Bolivian Foreign Minister Rogelio Mayta based this charge on a copy of a letter sent by Bolivian Air Force chief-of-staff Gonzalo Terceros to Argentine Ambassador to La Paz Normando Álvarez García thanking his country for "40,000 rounds of AT 12/70 (rifle ammunition)" and over 100 canisters of tear gas.

Terceros and his naval counterpart Gonzalo Jarjuri were arrested last weekend in the course of an investigation of the incidents of late 2019 when the leftist Morales was ousted from power after 14 years due to upheavals causing around 35 deaths following a disputed election. After initially departing to Mexico, Morales spent almost all his year-long exile in Argentina.  

In a letter to his counterpart Arce published by the Argentine press, President Alberto Fernández expressed his "pain and shame," apologising "in the name of the Argentine people" and saying that the despatch of the material had been proven.

Last month Bolivia also accused Ecuador of sending tear gas and live ammunition in collaboration with the centre-right caretaker government of Jeanine Áñez.

Jorge Faurie, Argentina’s foreign minister in the Macri administration denied any knowledge. 

"Someone could have sent it without the knowledge of the Foreign Minister. The Foreign Ministry did not send it, it is not a verification body for other organisations," he said in a radio interview. 

He described the diplomatic note as "strange" and "unusual."

On Friday, current Defence Minister Agustín Rossi said that a Hercules C-130 aircraft left El Palomar airport on November 12, 2019 carrying "war material." He said the plane belonged to the Air Force.



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