Ex-president Mauricio Macri has "roundly” denied the affirmations of the Bolivian government that his administration sent lethal ammunition to repress the followers of Evo Morales in 2019.
The Juntos por el Cambio leader, currently in Switzerland, hit back via social networks after Bolivian Foreign Minister Rogelio Mayta alleged the previous Thursday that Argentina had delivered "lethal ammunition" to the Bolivian military to repress social protests in November, 2019.
Mayta released a copy of a letter sent by then-Bolivian Air Force chief-of-staff Gonzalo Terceros to then-Argentina’s ambassador in La Paz, Normando Álvarez García, thanking him for the reception of "40,000 cartridges AT 12/70 (of rifle ammunition)" plus 100 tear gas canisters.
Terceros and his naval colleague Gonzalo Jarjuri were arrested last weekend and are being investigated for the incidents of 2019.
In a letter to his Bolivian colleague Luis Arce, President Alberto Fernández expressed his "pain and shame" over the charges against his predecessor, claiming that they were proven and "apologising" in the name of the Argentine people.
In a statement dismissing the claims, Macri not only denied the accusations but also repudiated the letter of Fernández, saying the president’s actions had "devalued his word and signature."
The ex-president recalled that in November, 2019, after the denunciations of electoral fraud and the subsequent resignation of then-president Evo Morales, Argentina had "supplied humanitarian aid" to Bolivia.
"We gave asylum in the Argentine Embassy to officials of Evo Morales and even their families," he affirmed.
Furthermore, he assured that both ex-ambassador Álvarez García and Terceros "had denied the denounced conspiracy and the authenticity of the evidence presented as documentary evidence."
"Everything said is false, it’s all a lie," he declared.
Upheaval in Bolivia
The accusations of electoral fraud following the 2019 elections plunged Bolivia into social upheavals which ended in the resignation of Morales after 14 years in power.
He was succeeded by conservative leader Jeanine Áñez, who used repressive methods to crush the resistance of trade unions and peasants allied to the indigenous ex-president.
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH in its Spanish acronym), the crisis left 35 dead.
The government denounced Macri and officials of his administration in court on Monday for the presumed "illegal despatch of armaments and ammunition to Bolivia."
The charges against Macri and his officials were signed by Ministers Martín Soria (Justice) and Sabina Frederic (Security), as well as by AFIP tax bureau chief Mercedes Marcó del Pont.
The presentation accused the previous administration of having placed "repressive matériel at the disposal of the dictatorship which had recently taken power in the neighbouring country, headed by Jeanine Áñez, after the military coup against the constitutional government of Evo Morales."
Pushing back on the allegations, Jujuy Province Radical Governor Gerardo Morales said last Thursday that President Fernández "had been sold rotten meat," while decorating the ex-ambassador to La Paz for his "services" in the midst of these charges against the Macri administration.
"Stop fabricating these cheap epics and lies which serve no purpose," complained the Jujuy governor, while recognising the diplomatic work of ex-ambassador Álvarez García, who has since become labour minister in the Jujuy provincial government. Governor Morales also pointed to the new Argentine ambassador in La Paz, Ariel Basteiro, as the man "mainly responsible for this cheap epic."
PRO chair Patricia Bullrich said on Thursday that the episode did indeed provoke "pain and shame" due to the "imprudence and shameless speed" with which President Fernández "compromised the Argentine state by recognising such an accusation without the least verification or proof."
The former security minister published a letter refuting the report of her old portfolio, now headed by Frederic, in which she pointed out differences between the ammunition sent by Argentina to Bolivia and what was denounced by the neighbouring country, arguing that 70,000 rounds of anti-riot ammunition sent to Bolivia were used in "training exercises."