When a bloody coup forced Bolivia’s socialist president Evo Morales to flee, the UK saw it as a chance to grab a share of the country’s highly sort after lithium or white gold as it is known.
Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show that the US embassy in La Paz worked closely with the Bolivian opposition to remove the Morales government.
Foreign Office documents obtained by Declassified, show the UK happy to deal with the new military leaders who gunned down 28 people who dared to protest.
Lithium is a key component of batteries for mobile phones, laptop computers and electric cars.
The coup began with claims based on a flawed report from the Organisation of American States (OAS) that Morales’ slim election victory had been rigged. The flawed statistical analysis was partially supplied by the local British embassy.
In the run-up to the election the embassy brought over Reuters’ trainers to educate 30 Bolivian journalists in election “verification techniques.”
Declassified has previously shown that the FO uses journalism as a tool in Latin America and has also revealed that throughout the 60s and 70s the British Government secretly funded Reuters on behalf of an anti-Soviet propaganda unit linked to British intelligence.
After Morales had finally got the message and fled, right-wing religious opposition leader, Jeanine Anez, walked into the parliament and declared herself interim president. The UK began negotiations with her government .
Morales had favoured doing a £2.3 billion lithium deal with the Chinese but the new regime turned to talk with the UK.
At the time Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, condemned the coup, but other than criticise him for this Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab welcomed Anez. He never commented on the 28 protesters who were later gunned down.
In October 2020 Morales returned to Bolivia and his socialist party romped back with 55 per cent of the vote. The previous president won 29 per cent.
The British FO says it accepts that the 2020 election was “free and fair.”
Source: Declassified UK
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