File photo of Bolivian Minister of Defense Luis Fernando Lopez Julio (L) along with Bolivian Minister of the Presidency Yerko Nunez, Bolivian Foreign Minister Karen Longaric and Bolivian Minister of Government Arturo Murillo
Brazil Election 2022: Lula Wins Very Tight Presidential Runoff Election Photo by Aizar Raldes/AFP via Getty Images

Bolivia has requested the extradition of former Minister of Defense, Luis Fernando Lopez Julio, from Brazil for his involvement in the attempted assassination of President Luis Arce. Lopez was said to have fled to Brazil in 2020 around the same time as Arce’s inauguration after his plot had failed.

According to Kawsachunn News, Interior Minister, Eduardo Del Castillo said that Bolivia had filed a complaint to Brazil a few months back, which has now gained much attention when the details of the complaint were expanded by his ministry to include the assassination plot. Castillo continued that the end goal of the complaint was the extradition of Lopez from Brazil so that Bolivian justice may be rendered.

Del Castillo revealed further details of the assassination attempt on Monday citing that Lopez had contracted third parties to bring mercenaries and paramilitaries into Bolivia to kill Arce, who was running for candidacy at the time. The goal was to prevent Arce from being sworn in if he were to win the election. Information provided by The Intercept said Lopez had poured in hundreds of mercenaries from the United States to see his plan fulfilled.

In a leaked recording, a person who was identified as Lopez said he was working to “avoid the annihilation of my country”. He continued calling on the armed forces as well as the Bolivian people to “rise up” and prevent the accession of the Arce administration. Disagreement between ministers and divisions within the armed forces was strained further by Arce’s convincing electoral victory on Oct 18, 2020. The plot was never executed and several officials including Lopez either fled the country or were arrested by authorities on charges of corruption and alleged involvement in a coup in 2019.

The Intercept also said one of the hired group mercenaries that entered Bolivia had lodged at a hotel nearby government offices. The group was later arrested in Haiti for another assassination plot that saw the death of former President Jovenel Moise.

Prior to the elections, 2019 saw Bolivia plunging into chaos as former President Evo Morales was on the ballot for a controversial fourth term. Accusations were made that he had rigged the elections. Widespread protests followed alongside police mutinies and pressure from the army. Morales was forced to step down and shortly fled the country.

People block a street during an indefinite strike hold by unions opposing the government of Bolivian President Luis Arce
People block a street during an indefinite strike hold by unions opposing the government of Bolivian President Luis Arce to demand a census for 2023, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on October 24, 2022. Photo by Aizar Raldes/AFP via Getty Images

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