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LATIN AMERICA | 04-07-2024 16:51

Conflict-prone Milei’s remarks on coup attempt does not help relations, says Bolivian president

President Milei has questioned last week’s failed attempt – Bolivian leader Luis Arce says in an interview with the "unrest" provoked by Argentina's head of state is far from helpful.

Bolivian President Luis Arce said on Wednesday that the “unrest” of his Argentine counterpart, Javier Milei, is far from neighbourly – a reference to the Argentine leader’s declarations that the June 26 alleged attempted coup in La Paz was “fraudulent.”

“It’s no surprise about Mr. Milei’s statements. He has conflicts with Spain, has conflicts with Brazil, he has conflicts with Paraguay, he’s also had spats with Chile,” said Arce during an interview with AFP.

A staunch critic of the left, Milei questioned the veracity of Arce’s government’s claims about the military rebellion that took place a week ago, when troops and tanks besieged the presidential palace for several hours, before falling back. 

As a result of the position assumed by the Argentine leader, the Bolivian Foreign Ministry recalled the nation’s ambassador for consultations in La Paz. 

“The fraud mounted in Bolivia is known,” posted Milei on X this week.

Arce slammed those remarks. "These statements do not help the ‘good neighbourhood,’ that unrest it has displayed,” answered the Bolivian president.

He also regretted that Milei is now agreeing with former president Evo Morales, his former ally who today is his greatest adversary.

Morales, who led Bolivia from 2006 to 2019, has accused Arce of having carrying out a “self-coup.”

“The strangest this is Milei meeting minds with Evo Morales,” whom he has “taken as a source” to disqualify the military uprising, added Arce, the current leader of the divided Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) party founded by the former indigenous president.

“I believe Evo still has time to decide which side of history he wants to be on … because clearly a position defending Mr Milei is not a left-wing position, it’s not a progressive position,” emphasised the president. 

As a result of the military uprising, 22 active and retired soldiers and civilians, among them the three former commanders of the Armed Forces (Army, Air force and Navy), have been arrested.

The government in La Paz has pointed at former Army chief, general Juan José Zúñiga, accusing him of leading the coup attempt. 

When he was arrested on June 26, Zúñiga said Arce asked him to prepare something to raise his popularity and stage a coup – a claim the Bolivian head of state emphatically rejects. 

The military rebellion took place with Bolivia in the grip of an economic crisis caused by to the shortage of dollars and fuel. The nation’s gas exports, its main source of foreign currency up to 2021, have also slumped.

In his interview with AFP, Arce highlighted his decision to lift rules on the use of cryptocurrencies as a payment method to face the shortage of dollars.

 

– TIMES/AFP
 

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