Bolivia summons Argentine ambassador after Milei brands attempted coup 'fraudulent'

By Daniel Ramos

LA PAZ (Reuters) -Bolivia's government has summoned the Argentine ambassador following comments by the office of Argentina's President Javier Milei which repudiated claims of an attempted coup last week in La Paz as "fraudulent."

Interim Foreign Minister Maria Nela Prada told a press conference that Bolivia's government "energetically rejects" the comments from Milei's office.

Now-detained General Juan Jose Zuniga last Wednesday led military units to gather in the main square of La Paz, home to the presidential palace and Congress. An armored vehicle rammed a palace door to allow soldiers to rush into the building.

Zuniga later said he was following an order from President Luis Arce, who has denied having any involvement or prior knowledge of Zuniga's operation.

But on Sunday, Milei's office issued a statement saying the government's statements on the matter were "not very credible" and "repudiated the false accusation of a coup d'etat by the Bolivian government on June 26, confirmed as fraudulent."

The office of Milei, a far-right libertarian, added that Bolivia was "in danger" due to its socialist government, noting the imprisonment of former President Jeanine Anez and Santa Cruz Governor Luis Fernando Camacho.

At the press conference, Prada responded saying Argentina's "skewed and uninformed assertions" were an "excessive and unacceptable form of denial."

Later on Monday, Arce's rival and former President Evo Morales also condemned Milei's statements: "No matter our differences with the current government, we do not lose sight of the fact that Milei is an enemy of the people," he said on X.

(Reporting by Daniel Ramos and Monica Machicao; Writing by Sarah Morland; Editing by David Alire Garcia, Anthony Esposito, William Maclean)