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Bolivia’s leader says general accused of failed coup wanted to ‘seize’ presidency

Bolivia’s leader says general accused of failed coup wanted to ‘seize’ presidency

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivian President Luis Arce said Friday that a former general is planning to “take over” the government and become president. In the failed coupHe denied that the Andean country was suffering from an economic crisis.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the embattled leader again denied that Wednesday’s attack on the government palace was a “self-coup” aimed at gaining political points for himself.

“I didn’t run away. I stayed to defend democracy,” Arce said.

Arsi washed his hands of Allegations of relatives of the 21 people arrested by the government They are innocent of the coup attempt and were deceived Former gen. Juan Jose Zuniga.

“It’s the problem of those involved, not the government,” Arce told The Associated Press.

Arce also said his government had been subjected to a “political attack” by his former ally-turned-rival, former President Evo Morales, saying The internal conflict disrupted legislative activities and hampered his government. Facing economic problems.

Still, he said, Bolivia’s economy is growing and his administration is working to “diversify” its means of production and invest in things like lithium and manufacturing. Bolivia has the world’s largest reserves of lithium — a mineral known as “white gold” and seen as essential to the green transition — that have largely been untapped, partly due to government policy.

Ars He said the government had “taken action” to address intermittent shortages of gasoline, dollars and other hurdles plaguing the South American nation’s economy.

“Bolivia has a growing economy, and an economy in crisis does not grow,” he said.

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He said it was “completely normal” for Bolivians to rush to stock up on food in supermarkets and rush to ATMs upon seeing a coup emerging in the capital, instead of heeding his call to take to the streets in support of the government.

He said Bolivians were traumatized by the political unrest in 2019 that led Morales to resign as president and flee and also left 37 people dead.

“Whenever there is a political situation, or a coup, it is natural that people will fear that there will be no food… so they will go and get money to stock up,” Arce said.

He added that the government is investigating whether the attack was organized by the country’s political opposition. On the same day, Arce’s government minister, Eduardo del Castillo, said that the government claimed that there were “snipers who did not arrive in time at Plaza Murillo” where the coup took place.

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Associated Press reporter Paula Flores in La Paz contributed to this report.