Bolivia: 24 defendants in failed military uprising against Arce face precautionary measures for taking over the Army

Bolivia: 24 defendants in failed military uprising against Arce face precautionary measures for taking over the Army
Bolivia: 24 defendants in failed military uprising against Arce face precautionary measures for taking over the Army
Bolivia: 24 defendants in failed military uprising against Arce face precautionary measures for taking over the Army (AP)

The investigation into the military takeover that occurred on June 26 in Bolivia includes 24 people so far and has been expanded to include three other crimes in addition to armed uprising and terrorism, the State Attorney General’s Office (PGE) reported on Saturday.

“To date, and ten days after the opening of the preliminary investigation stage, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued six formal charges, which in turn led to the imposition of personal precautionary measures against 24 people,” states a press release from the PGE.

The entity in charge of state defense detailed the list of those under investigation, which includes the dismissed Army commander Juan José Zuñiga and other former military chiefs, as well as the alleged “ideologist” of the uprising, the civilian Aníbal Aguilar, who was an advisor to the office of the Ministry of Defense.

The charges against the president and other state dignitaries, the destruction or deterioration of state property and national wealth, and the misuse of public goods and services were added to the crimes of armed uprising and terrorism that were the subject of the investigation, he said.

The Attorney General’s Office added that this case will be “a message against impunity and the non-repetition of the commission of very serious crimes that threaten popular sovereignty, external security and the internal order of the country.”

On this day it was also learned that the Justice decided to revoke the house arrest that Aguilar, 71 years old, had benefited from, and sent him to preventive detention for five months to the San Pedro prison in La Paz.

Last week, soldiers under the command of the now dismissed Army commander took over the presidential headquarters in La Paz for a few hours, which was described by the government of Luis Arce as an “attempted coup d’état.”

After Arce relieved the military high command on the same day, Zuñiga and the troops retreated, the former commander was arrested and is now being held preventively in a prison in the center of the country.

During his arrest, Zuñiga accused Arce of having ordered the military action to “boost his popularity.”

The opposition in Bolivia said that Zuñiga’s operation and the confrontation with Arce were a “set-up” and a “self-coup” to increase the popularity of the government, something that former president and leader of the ruling party Evo Morales (2006-2019), who is estranged from the president, has agreed with.

In an interview with EFE, Arce said he never had a close relationship with Zuñiga and that “someone whispered in the ear” of the former military chief to make him believe that “he could be president.”

(With information from EFE)

 
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