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Bolivian Ex-Defense Minister Plotted to Use U.S. Mercenaries to Launch Coup in 2020

HeadlineJun 18, 2021

The Intercept reports a top official in the outgoing Bolivian government plotted to deploy hundreds of mercenaries from a U.S. military base near Miami to overturn the results of Bolivia’s election in October of 2020. Though the coup plot was never carried out, documents and recorded phone calls reveal the former Bolivian minister of defense, Luis Fernando López, discussed the plan with Joe Pereira, a former civilian administrator with the U.S. Army. Pereira, who has boasted of links to U.S. Special Forces, promised López he could mobilize thousands of foreign mercenaries to join elite Bolivian military units, renegade police squadrons and vigilante mobs to prevent Bolivia’s Movement to Socialism party from retaking power.

Joe Pereira: “I can get up to 10,000 men with no problem. I don’t think we need 10,000. … All Special Forces. I can also bring about 350 what we call LEPs, law enforcement professionals, to guide the police.”

Socialist candidate Luis Arce went on to win the Bolivian presidency in the first round of voting last October, putting an end to the far-right government which ousted President Evo Morales in a U.S.-backed coup in November 2019.

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