Argentine court gathers evidence on smuggling of

The Bolivian government is continuing its investigations into the 2019 coup d’état that ousted former president Evo Morales and the alleged contribution of governments from other countries in the region that would have collaborated with the Jeanine Áñez regime. Argentina is involved in the case by sending 70,000 rounds of AT 12/70 ammunition, as announced by the Bolivian government minister, Eduardo del Castillo.

In the platinum country, in turn, the most advanced investigation into the alleged contraband to Bolivia is led by judge ​Javier López Biscayart​. The request for investigation was presented by the national government, through the Minister of Security, Sabina Frederic, the Minister of Justice, Martín Soria, and the head of the Federal Administration of Public Income (Afip), Mercedes Marcó.

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According to the newspaper Página 12, judge Biscayart has already accumulated a significant volume of evidence. The investigation includes documents granted by the government that reveal the ammunition that left Argentine territory and that was not declared in the cargo manifest, and the court is still awaiting the arrival of documents from Bolivia, which should happen through the chancellery in the coming weeks.

From the analysis of the documents, more names may be included in the list of defendants investigated in the cause, such as members of the armed forces and former employees of Mauricio Macri, former president of the country (2015-19).

In this case, there are already eight denounced: Macri himself and his then ministers of Security, Patricia Bullrich, and of Defense, Oscar Aguad; the then Bolivian ambassador, Normando Álvarez García; and four members of the National Gendarmeria (a kind of police force for strategic affairs and federal in nature): former general director Gerardo José Otero; former Logistics Director Rubén Carlos Yavorski; former Operations Director Carlos Miguel Recalde, and most recently included in the cause, Gendarmerie Commander Adolfo Héctor Caliba. Sent to Bolivia, he would have been responsible for coordinating the sending and receiving of cartridges with the Bolivian police in 2019.

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The inspector Claudio Navas Rial pointed out to the judge the inclusion of Caliba in the case after analyzing the documents sent by the national government, considering “the role that he would have played at the airport of El Alto, in Greater La Paz, in the reception tasks of the team. Gendarmerie and the armaments and ammunition apparently sent”. A Ministry of Defense report incorporated in the cause points out that Caliba would even have coordinated the unloading of the plane, which did not turn off the engine during the operation.

Amid investigations among Gendarmeria Nacional officers who were sent to Bolivia during the coup, Macri’s defense filed an appeal to stop the interrogations. Last Wednesday (28), judge Biscayart rejected the request, pointing out that “it does not result to be a decision among those expressly open to appeal, in addition to not causing any irreparable aggravation”.

Attorney Pablo Lanusse argued, in the appeal, that “the investigation must be carried out, however, in the jurisdictional seat where the same State agencies acted, in order to guarantee the balance and equality of arms and control on our part”, as described by the newspaper La Nación.

Macri’s defense also underscored the former president’s desire for investigations to move forward, since the rightist would be “convinced of his innocence”.

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*With information from Page 12 and La Nación

Edition: Vinícius Segalla

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