Bolivia’s leader says general accused of leading failed coup wants to ‘take over’ as president

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivian President Luis Arce on Friday plans to “take over” a former general’s government and become president. In a failed coupAnd he denied that the Andean nation was in economic crisis.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the bewildered leader again denied that Wednesday’s attack on the government palace was a “self-coup” designed to score political points for him.

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

Ars washed his hands Requests by relatives of 21 people detained by the government They were innocent and duped in a coup attempt Former General Juan Jose Zuniga.

“It’s the problem of the people involved, it’s not the government’s problem,” Arce told the AP.

Arce said his government had been “politically attacked” by his one-time ally, former President Evo Morales. The infighting disrupted legislative proceedings and crippled his government Facing economic problems.

Still, he said Bolivia’s economy is growing and his administration is working to “diversify” the means of production and investment in lithium and industrialization. Bolivia has huge reserves of lithium – a metal known as “white gold” and seen as vital to the green transition – that remain untapped as part of government policy.

Ars He said the government has “taken action” to address intermittent gasoline and dollar shortages and other constraints affecting the South American country’s economy.

“The economy in Bolivia is growing. An economy in crisis will not grow,” he said.

Instead of heeding his call to take to the streets in support of the government, he said it was “absolutely normal” for Bolivians to run to supermarkets to stock up on food and to ATMs at the sight of an emerging coup in the capital.

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Bolivians were rocked by political turmoil in 2019, which led to the resignation of Morales as president and 37 deaths.

“Where there’s a political situation, this breakdown, a coup, of course people are going to be afraid of not getting food…so they’re going to get money to go stockpile,” Arce said.

He added that the government was investigating whether the attack was orchestrated by the country’s political opposition. That same day, Arce’s government minister, Eduardo del Castillo, said the government said the “snipers did not arrive in time” to Murillo Square, where the coup was staged.

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

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