The Bolivian Defense Ministry, Edmundo Novillo, has confirmed that it has the original letter that former Bolivian Air Force (FAB) Commander Jorge Gonzalo Terceros Lara sent to the Argentine embassy in La Paz to seek the cooperation of the government. thanking Mauritius Macri with the coup that was underway against Evo Morales. Added to this is the automated entry of the novelty in the embassy, to which he had access Page 12, showing that a sealed FAB envelope entered the diplomatic mission and was intended for then-Ambassador Normando Álvarez García. The letter is also included in the embassy’s internal filing system. As evidence mounts of the Cambiemos government’s shipment of thousands of ammunition, Macri used his social media to try to deny his responsibility in supporting the coup plotters.
On November 13, 2019, eleven gendarmes of the “Alacrán” group disembarked from the Hercules C-130 that had left Palomar airbase. Together with them the shipment of ammunition and weapons that the gendarmerie had requested permission from the National Agency for Controlled Materials (ANMaC) to transport it two days earlier. That same day, Terceros Lara, the then general commander of the FAB, wrote the letter that this newspaper published, thanking Argentina’s cooperation and confirming the receipt of 40,000 12/70 anti-bullets, gas grenades and tear sprays.
The letter was entered into the embassy’s computer system on November 14. As they understand in Bolivia, the sealed envelope reached the hands of the ambassador. The next day it was entered in the archive book and the letter was stamped. What was never carried out was a diplomatic cable reporting what had been received, they explain.
In recent hours, the Bolivian defense minister reported that an original of the letter Terceros Lara sent to the embassy is under the general command of the FAB. “As defense secretary, I want to make it clear in view of the investigation of all the events of the coup that we have this document, that it is authentic,” Novillo said. “It bears stamps not only from the FAB, but also from Argentine institutions,” he stressed. Among the stamps are those of the Argentine naval mission in Bolivia, he explained.
The Bolivian minister’s statements are devastating for the strategy of former Argentine ambassador Álvarez García, who on Friday denied knowing the contents of the letter, and for the defense strategy of Terceros Lara, who, through his lawyer, told the press that it was an apocryphal letter. used to be. note, which did not match his signature. The new elements do not clear the picture for Macri himself, who denies having participated in the coup in Bolivia (see separate).
In the diplomatic world, they admit that Álvarez García could have ignored the note and failed to report it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then headed by Jorge Faurie. The former foreign minister was the fastest of the former officials to come out to save his clothes and denied knowing the shipment of ammunition to Bolivia. On November 12, 2019, the same day the gendarmes, weapons and war material left for La Paz, Faurie met Macri at 6 pm in the company of another career diplomat. The information comes from the diary on the phone of the then president’s private secretary, Darío Nieto.
Patricia Bullrich approved the departure of eleven gendarmes on November 15, 2019 via an official resolution. By the time the resolution was published, the gendarmes had already been in Bolivia for two days. The chosen ones were members of an elite body, strongly promoted by the then minister, known as “Alacrán”. This special group was created during the Malvinas War and is used, among other things, for hostage-taking. They are not agents used to prevent riots, as mobile anti-mob detachments do. Also, they usually do not use weapons or bulletproof materials, such as those from Argentina in Bolivia. The maneuver can be explained by looking at the data.
On November 11, 2019, the Gendarmerie requested emergency permission to travel to Bolivia to protect the embassy. He then asked the ANMac to authorize the departure of weapons and 8,820 ammunition of various calibers from the country: 3,360 of these ammunition were 12/70 bulletproof devices (like the 40,000 mentioned in Terceros Lara’s letter).
On November 12, he asked the ANMaC to have him remove 70,000 anti-bullying cartridges. Twenty times more than he originally intended to wear. It is necessary to explain what happened that day in order for the gendarmerie to make that exponential jump in the requirement. The security forces also requested permission to carry 100 pepper spray and 611 gas grenades for harassment. Everything seemed to be aimed at deterring demonstrations, rather than defending the ambassador’s residence.
What could explain the extension of the Gendarmerie’s request to the ANMaC may be something that happened in Bolivia. On November 12, the Bolivian police authorized the entry of the Alacrán group with weapons and ammunition. The original authorization for the Argentine gendarmes was of the view that they would be from November 13 to November 12, 2019, according to the note he had access to Page 12.
There is a second report from the Bolivian police, relieved by the Ministry of Security led by Sabina Frederic, which refers to the fact that the Gendarmerie had only 1350 bulletproof equipment. It is dated November 28, 2019. What happened to the rest of the cartridges is part of the mystery to be solved.
In June last year, the eleven members of the scorpion group were withdrawn. On July 15, the Gendarmerie Financial Administration reported that the scorpions had not brought any of the 70,000 cartridges they had left behind because they had been used for drills and training. The numbers don’t close.
The eleven members of the Alacrán group and those who requested permission will have to testify in the administrative inquiry ordered by Frederic. At the Ministry of Security, they expected those statements to be made or advanced by Monday or Tuesday. What the troops say will be essential to understanding what has happened to the ammunition the security forces have brought to Bolivia that the government of the plurinational state denounces as actively cooperating with the coup.
Meanwhile, Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) auditor Cristina Caamaño reported that an internal investigation is underway, as she expected. Page 12, to find out what the role of the liaison officers stationed in Bolivia was and what information they handled about the coup d’état and the alleged delivery of war material. Progress, Caamano said, will be reported to the president so he can decide what action to take given the gravity of the denounced events. Everything indicates that it will be part of the complaint that the government is preparing. Fernández and the Minister of Justice, Martín Soria, are working on this issue, centralizing the information coming from the various government agencies.