The battle between Evo Morales and Luis Arce enters the field of accusations against the son of the president of Bolivia

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Marcelo Arce Mosqueira, son of the president of Bolivia, in an image spread on social networks.

The tough battle between Evo Morales and Luis Arce for control of the Movement towards Socialism (MAS), Bolivia's main party, continues to escalate. The target is now Marcelo Arce Mosqueira, the son of the Bolivian president, who was accused by Morales of negotiating the country's lithium and gas concessions with foreign companies. Morales relied on an audio in which the young man is heard saying "When I spoke with Luis, he told me: son, son, I don't have time now... you take charge of the lithium and the gas also to see the plans, see the support of the campaign, seeing the issue of projects, all that.”

Morales presented two other audios. In one of them, the president's son is heard asking to speak with someone unknown so that he "has much more interest in Bolivia", taking into account the great possibilities of this country to "be a reliable supply", supposedly of lithium, to a certain “technology”. In that audio there is an unclear allusion to an international financial investment company.

Based on this material, the Prosecutor's Office began an investigation, which had also been requested by Arce Mosqueira. The president's son, a 31-year-old industrial engineer specializing in petroleum, rejected all misconduct and demanded that justice be involved. “Once again Mr. Evo M. has launched an unfounded attack against me. I clarify to the population that family businesses do not exist and will not exist. [como acusó Morales]”, he wrote on a social network. The former Bolivian president accepted the challenge and sent his lawyers to deliver the complaint, which the Prosecutor's Office quickly accepted. According to Morales' followers, the diligence of this institution is due to the fact that the intention of its owners is to discard the alleged evidence and "wash the image" of the president's son. This political group has complained several times that justice is controlled by the ruling party. Despite this, he has not stopped trying to use it against him.

The Arce Government asked that Morales not “lie” or “mess with the family” of the president. The former president responded that “they should rather take care that the family does not interfere with the heritage of the Bolivian people, in a matter of State” and has compared Arce with previous presidents who had political problems due to the activities of their relatives. An explanation of the audios that were known is that they are recordings made in 2020, when Arce was a candidate and his son supported him in the electoral campaign; hence the allusion to "campaign support" that exists in one of them.

It is not the only accusation that Marcelo Arce Mosqueira has received of intervening, without right, in the country's agreements with extractive companies. In June 2022, EL PAÍS reported the existence of a photograph in which the president's son posed with two executives of the Russian state company Uranium One, Alexander Kochnev and Andrey Shutov. At that time, this company was one of the eight selected in a pilot program for the direct extraction of lithium, the technology on which the Bolivian Government has opted to exploit its enormous reserves of the mineral. Subsequently, Uranium One was chosen, along with several of Chinese origin, to make immediate investments in the Bolivian lithium industry, which, despite its great potential, is far behind the other two countries that form the “lithium triangle.” ” South American, Chile and Argentina. On that occasion, Arce Mosqueira told this newspaper that he had “nothing to do with the hiring” and added that these were being carried out “in accordance with the law and are being supervised by the competent authority.” He did not clarify the context in which the photograph was taken.

Previously, the opposition had described the fact that the president's son worked in the main state company, Yacimientos Petrolófilos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), as nepotism. The oil company authorities explained that Arce Mosqueira had held a “non-managerial” position until September 2021, when he resigned so as not to harm his father. He started at YPFB when he was very young, as one of the company's warehousemen, a modest position. At that time, his father was Minister of Economy in the Government of Evo Morales. He then received a state scholarship for outstanding students and was able to study a master's degree in petroleum at the University of Genoa.

When his father became president, theories circulated about Marcelo Arce's role at YPFB. To the point that, according to Evo Morales later, in one of his last meetings with Arce, when both still considered themselves members of the same party, he told her to be careful with his son. He cut him off by asking him not to touch his family. It has been commented that this intervention by Morales marked a turning point in the relationship between the two leaders. Until now, President Arce has not referred to the issue.

There have also been proven wrong accusations against Arce Mosqueira. In 2022, a journalist had to recant when a press court determined that it was false that the son of the Bolivian president had traveled to Caracas to hand over the administration of the state urea plant to the Venezuelan Government, as she had published.

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