Bolivia arrests alleged leaders of 2009 plot

LA PAZ: Bolivian police have arrested three opposition figures for their ties to an alleged assassination plot last year against President Evo Morales, the prosecutor in the case said Tuesday.

The alleged April 16 plot involved men from Ireland, Croatia and Hungary. Three were killed in a shootout with Bolivian forces, and two survived and were arrested.

The leftist Morales administration claimed at the time that the plotters were mercenaries hired by wealthy Santa Cruz opposition figures to kill Morales and trigger a secessionist war.

Prosecutor Marcelo Sosa said the suspects, arrested Monday in the eastern anti-Morales bastion of Santa Cruz, included Gary Prado Arauz, the son of Gary Prado Salmon — a general who led the military sweep that caught Argentine leftist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara in October 1967.

Around 10 people have been detained in the case so far, and Sosa said he was finalizing paperwork to call some 20 people to La Paz to testify in the case.

Bolivian-Croat Eduardo Rozsa Flores, Hungarian-Croat Arpad Magyarosi and Irishman Michael Dwyer were killed by Bolivian police in the 2009 shootout as they foiled the alleged assassination attempt.

Police also arrested two other members of the group, Bolivian-Croat Mario Tadic and Hungarian Elod Toaso at the time, authorities said.

Tadic and Toaso are being held at a prison in La Paz. Six other suspects were arrested in late 2009.

Tadic had fought in the Croatian army during the Serbo-Croatian war of 1991-1995, and Flores took part in an international unit helping the army, which appeared to establish a link between them. Dwyer had no military history.

The official version of the events spoke of a half-hour shootout at the hotel, while videos released online suggested the foreigners were surprised in their underwear in their room.

Santa Cruz Governor Roly Aguilera accused the government of “politicizing” the inquiry.

Bolivia’s leftist government blamed “extreme right, ultranationalists, separatists” from Santa Cruz, the country’s economic hub, of trying to assassinate Morales.

Source: The News

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