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The Government of Bolivia denounced this Monday that several people implicated in the assassination of the former president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, were in La Paz on the eve of the elections of October 2020, to try to attack then-candidate and current president, Luis Arce.
In a press conference, the Minister of Government, Carlos Eduardo Del Castillo, confirmed that on October 16 last year, two days before the general elections in Bolivia, several of the mercenaries accused of assassinating Moïse entered Haiti. "They managed to identify that a destabilizing plan was in the making with the objective of not allowing our president to assume power, should he win the elections," he said.
According to the investigation, one of those involved in making contacts with the mercenaries was the former Minister of Defense of the de facto government of Jeanine Áñez, Fernando López, a close friend of the opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho. The participation of one of the cabinet members in these plans had already been disclosed in the middle of this year by the portal The Intercept.
According to the revelations from this outlet, which had access to e-mails and call recordings, Lopez would have been willing to deploy foreign military forces to prevent Arce's inauguration, or to attack his government even after he took office.
During the hearing, Del Castillo released other recordings in which the former minister is heard negotiating the transfer of paramilitaries and hired assassins to Bolivia to prevent Arce's victory.
For this operation, a payment of 125,000 dollars a year to the mercenaries was agreed, as well as bonuses and reimbursement of expenses, with the mediation of a man identified under the initials of J.E.P., who is currently detained in a Bolivian maximum security prison, and Luis Suárez, nicknamed "cyber rambo," who would have worked for the government of Jeanine Áñez.
The Government crossed the data provided by The Intercept with intelligence reports to determine that there had been a coordination to attack the president, when he was still a candidate.
Although the Minister of Government did not offer details of the rest of Áñez's officials who met with the mercenaries, since the investigation is still ongoing, he did offer up the identity of several people who are currently implicated in the assassination of Moïse.
One of these persons is German Alejandro Ribera Garcia, a former Colombian captain detained in Haiti, and Arcangel Pretel Ortiz, who has been identified by Martine Moïse as one of those implicated in the assassination of her husband. Both would have been in Bolivia between October 16 and 19, 2020.
"This [Germán Ribera], who accepted having participated in the assassination of the Haitian president, arrived in Bolivia two days before the national elections [of 2020]. That's not all, between the dates October 16 and 19, we also managed to identify the entry into the country of other gentlemen," he said.
The list of people who traveled to La Paz on those dates also includes Venezuelan opposition member Antonio Intriago Valera, owner of the company CTU Security (registered as Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy LLC), who contracted the mercenaries who killed the former Haitian president and was also linked to the failed Operation Gideon in Venezuela. Ronald Salamandra and Enrique Galindo Arias swell the list of citizens who traveled to Bolivia from the U.S. and by land through Viru Viru (Santa Cruz).
"The main intention of these gentlemen was to end the life of the president," insisted the current Minister of Government after detailing that Ramirez and Arias stayed in a hotel in the Bolivian capital, very close to the crowded Plaza Murillo, where Arce held rallies. However, intelligence reports within the party itself warned of the danger and the MAS campaign command decided not to hold any more open-air events.
According to other intelligence reports, which are still part of the investigations of the case, revealed that several of those mentioned had stayed at the Marriott hotel in Santa Cruz with several authorities of the government of Añez, from October 19 to October 23, when they finally left the country to the USA and Colombia.
"As we were aware of the presence of armed groups, most of the president's public appearances were in closed places. For the day of his inauguration, we created security rings, even inside the Plurinational Legislative Assembly," said Del Castillo, who reiterated that "in Bolivia there was an assassination attempt."
"It is no coincidence," said the minister, "that the man who is being held in Haiti for having participated in the assassination of a president was in Bolivia in the days before and after the elections in which President Arce won, and that Mr. Fernando Lopez, who was a quota of power of Luis Fernando Camacho in the government of Añez, has had constant contact with these irregular and paramilitary groups, through outsourcing companies."