Bid to assassinate Bolivian president foiled

December 23rd, 2008 - 10:34 am ICT by IANS  

La Paz, Dec 23 (IANS) Bolivian intelligence officials have foiled a plot by right-wing extremists to assassinate President Evo Morales, the EFE news agency reported Tuesday.Interior Minister Alfredo Rada told a press conference Monday that the alleged conspirators intended to hire a poor or working-class man to kill the country’s first indigenous head of state at one of his frequent public events.

“The state intelligence organs received information about plans that are being developed in relation to a assassination,” he said.

Asked for evidence of the purported plot, Rada declined to offer details, adding that “the less they know about how much we know, the better”.

He said the plotters’ idea of using a worker or peasant as the shooter was intended to “disorient the security services”, given that poor and working class Bolivians constitute the bulk of Morales’ support.

According to the minister, the conspirators had planned to assassinate the Leftist leader at a rally in Andean west or the coca-growing region of Chapara, where Bolivia’s Indian majority is concentrated.

After killing Morales, the assassin was to say he resorted to violence because “the president betrayed the peasant social bases that brought him to power by having reached accords with the right”, the interior minister said.

Rada said security around the president had been tightened last week after the government got wind of the alleged plot.

Bolivians are scheduled to vote next month on a new constitution aimed at empowering the country’s long-oppressed Indian majority and narrowing the gap in wealth between the richest and poorest fifth of the population.

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