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Bolivia busts alleged US arms shipment heading to right-wing forces

BOLIVIA has seized arms which were allegedly sent by the United States to arm opposition forces in the Santa Cruz region of the country, state forces claimed today.

The shipment contained a batch of automatic, semi-automatic and other high-calibre weapons, according to the Special Force to Fight Crime director Limbert Coca.

The deadly cargo was discovered after customs officials became suspicious and ordered “a physical and documentary verification.” 

They found that the arms cache and other materials camouflaged and hidden away under empty boxes and clothing, Mr Coca explained.

During the search, a document was found linking the weapons and ammunition to the United States, from where it was being sent to Santa Cruz-based company Import Export.

Police investigations are currently under way to check the veracity of the documentation with a case opened for the crimes of trafficking and arms-related offences.

Santa Cruz is led by far-right  governor Luis Fernando Camacho who is an open supporter of the 2019 Washington-backed coup that ousted former president Evo Morales.

He has used it as a base from which to organise anti-government protests and other actions in an attempt to bring down the Movement Towards Socialism-led government of President Luis Arce.

Mr Camacho’s arrest was ordered in December for crimes of sedition, terrorism and conspiracy related to the coup when he led protesters in ransacking the presidential palace.

It is alleged that he tore down the indigenous Wiphala flag and said that “God has returned” while clutching a Bible.

He is also under investigation for the removal of the flag at a regional ceremony to mark the foundation of the city of Santa Cruz in September which led to his supporters rioting and attacking indigenous people.

Scores of indigenous Bolivians were killed in the Senkata and Sacaba massacres when interim president Jeanine Anez mobilised the armed forces to put down protests.

She remains in prison charged with crimes relating to the killings and events during her time in office. 

But US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has demanded her release along with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch — multimillion-dollar Washington-funded NGOs with a record of supporting regime change in Latin America.  

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