Ammunition Smuggling to Bolivia: Witness Statements Continue

Ammunition Smuggling to Bolivia: Witness Statements Continue

The alleged smuggling of ammunition from Argentina to Bolivia in November 2019, during the days in which the coup against the Government of Evo Morales took place

The economic criminal judge Alejandro Catania will resume this week the agenda of testimonial statements in the case investigating the alleged smuggling of ammunition from Argentina to Bolivia in November 2019, during the days in which the coup took place. State against the Government of Evo Morales.

The testimonial statements of members of different areas of the National Gendarmerie will be taken up next Thursday from 9:00 a.m. would last, at least, until the end of the monthas it arises from the resolution through which Judge Catania ordered the calls.

The subpoenas were sent to personnel from Mobile Detachment 6 and the National Logistics Directorate of the National Gendarmerie, with the aim of reconstructing the entire path that the ammunition traveled until it left the country, with the alleged objective of being used to protect the embassy. Argentina in Bolivia and the residence of the ambassador in that country.

This file investigates the alleged deviation in the fate of the anti-riot bullets and tear gas: they would have ended up in the hands of the Bolivian repressive forces that in those days, immediately after the coup d’état, repressed different social demonstrations.

Image of the coup against Evo Morales Photo Pablo Aeli
Image of the coup against Evo Morales. / Photo: Pablo Añeli.

Days before the winter court fair, The head of the Special Operations team that traveled to Bolivia in November 2019 declared before the Justice that the order to take the anti-riot ammunition to Bolivia was given by the then “superior leadership of the Gendarmerie” of the Mauricio Macri administration..

Martín Hidalgo, who at that time was deputy commander and head of the Special Operations team that was going to protect the Argentine Embassy and Residence in Bolivia, testified as a witness, under oath to tell the truth.

“The order to load the effects in the vehicles to go to El Palomar was given by Commander-in-Chief Salas. He told me that by order of the superior leadership of the Gendarmerie these effects were going to go to Bolivia; and that they were not part of our team, the team that I selected. He told me that those effects were an operational reserve and that regarding the management of those effects, the Principal Commander Caliba intervened in Bolivia, who was the Gendarmerie liaison in Bolivia,” the witness said in the statement to the that Télam agreed.

The Commander Major Salas that Hidalgo referred to is Fabián Salas, former head of the Grupo Alacrán; Caliba is Adolfo Caliba, who at that time was the Gendarmerie attaché in La Paz, and by “superior leadership of the Gendarmerie” it is understood that the witness alluded to Gerardo Otero, who at the time was in charge of that force.

The witness pointed out that all this material could have been designed to be used in the future “in case it was not possible to resupply” or directly by “other personnel who were deployed to Bolivia.”

The repression of women was fierce Photo Pablo Aeli
The repression of women was fierce. / Photo: Pablo Añeli.

He also said, by way of opinion, that the material could have been intended for the event that it was necessary “after a while, support from a local force, which could be used, in support of some of our activities, for the protection of the Residence and Argentine Embassy.

“When I say ‘local force’ I mean law enforcement, police, air force, army. Institutionalized forces. When I say ‘local’ I mean Bolivian forces. I cannot specify if that was the destination, it is what I I imagine now. At that time I received the order as I told it to him. I want to clarify that on November 10 the President of Bolivia resigned, and there were officials who were able to leave the country and others were not, “he explained.

Justice seeks to determine what material was downloaded from that November 2019 flightwho downloaded it, where it was taken and under whose orders those actions were carried out.

The facts that gave rise to this investigation were denounced a year ago through a presentation signed by the Minister of Justice, Martín Soria; the then Minister of Security, Sabina Frederic, and the then head of the Federal Administration of Public Revenues (AFIP), Mercedes Marcó del Pont.

On the record ex-president Macri is accused; its security and defense ministers, Patricia Bullrich and Oscar Aguad, respectively; the then ambassador to Bolivia Normando Álvarez García; the former director general of the Gendarmerie Gerardo José Otero, and the then directors of Logistics and Operations of that force, Rubén Carlos Yavorski and Carlos Miguel Recalde, respectively.

The prosecutor of the Economic Criminal jurisdiction Claudio Navas Rial also charged former officials of the Together for Change (JxC) administration Marcos Peña (chief of staff), Jorge Faurie (chancellor) and Fulvio Pompeo (secretary of Strategic Affairs of the Nation) .

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