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His political rival Evo Morales claimed that the Bolivian president had orchestrated a “self-coup”.

His political rival Evo Morales claimed that the Bolivian president had orchestrated a “self-coup”.

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AFP) – Former Bolivian president Evo Morales on Sunday accused his political ally-turned-rival President Luis Arce of deceiving Bolivians by staging a “self-coup” last week to score political points with voters, signaling a sharp downturn in an already tense relationship.

Morales was initially among the country’s most powerful voices who said the nearly 200 military personnel who… They marched towards the Bolivian government palace in armored vehicles on Wednesday. They attempted a “coup.” He called for “the arrest and prosecution of all those involved in these riots.”

But on Sunday, Morales joined others competing Arcy He personally orchestrated the incident in an attempt to gain the sympathy of Bolivians at a time when his popularity was very low.

“Arce has insulted the truth, deceived us and lied not only to the Bolivian people but to the world,” Morales said on a local radio show broadcast Sunday. Morales also called for an independent investigation into the military action in a post on X.

Morales supports the accusations made by former General Juan José Zuniga, who allegedly led the coup attempt. Zuniga informed his colleagues and family in advance of his plan, Morales said. While in custody, he told authorities that Arce had “betrayed” him..

“The president told me: ‘The situation is very bad, very critical. It is necessary to prepare something to raise my popularity,'” Zuniga quoted Arce as saying.

Arce’s political enemies quickly embraced this theory, calling it a “self-coup.”

“At some point the truth will be known.” Zuniga He told reporters during Transferred to prison Saturday.

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Morales’ comments were echoed later in the night in neighboring Argentina. The government of right-wing Argentine President Javier Milei declared the coup attempt “fraudulent,” citing intelligence reports, and said the way it unfolded on Wednesday “is not very credible.”

This is a major shift since Wednesday, when leaders across the region lined up in solidarity with Arce.

Presidential Minister María Neela Prada responded to Morales on state television on Sunday, warning him “not to become a puppet or an instrument of imperialism that intends to plunder our country.” She said that the “fascist right” wants to “distort history.”

“What I condemn most is that from people like Evo Morales, who claim to be leftists, there are ideological fluctuations about what are coups and failed coups in our country,” she said.

Morales still has a great deal of influence in Bolivia, especially among coca farmers and unions, while Arce has faced intense discontent over The country is suffering from an economic crisis..

Morales, who was a friend of Arce’s, resigned as president in 2019 amid unrest after running for an unconstitutional third term and fled into exile, an incident he insists was a coup.

The incident led to conservative Jeanine Anez briefly serving as interim president, a period plagued by controversy. Anez is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for illegally assuming the presidency after Morales resigned.

In Bolivia’s 2020 elections, Morales threw his support behind Arce as the candidate of his Movement for Socialism, known by its Spanish acronym MAS.

But their relationship soured when Morales returned from self-imposed exile and later announced that he planned to run against Arce to be the MAS candidate in the 2025 elections. Their fights became increasingly bitter as Morales’ allies blocked much of Arce’s legislative agenda in Congress.

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“We were politically attacked,” Arce told the Associated Press. In Friday’s interview. But we “did not attack” again.

The dispute has angered many Bolivians, and Morales’ comments on Sunday are unlikely to help calm matters.

Morales said on the local radio program “Causacion Coca” that he felt the incident had damaged the image of Bolivia and its army. He also apologized for expressing solidarity with Arce.