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Article

8 Mar 2021

Author:
Declassified

Bolivia: Independent organisation says that the British Govt. allegedly supported Bolivian coup to access lithium

Colectivo Casa Bolivia

After a coup in the South American country of Bolivia in November 2019, democratically elected president Evo Morales was forced to flee. Foreign Office documents obtained by Declassified show Britain saw the new military-backed regime, which killed 18 protesters, as an opportunity to open up Bolivia’s lithium deposits to UK firms… On 10 November 2019, after the head of the army called for his resignation, Bolivia’s socialist president, Evo Morales, stepped down. It followed weeks of protests after the release of a report by the Organisation of American States (OAS) alleging irregularities in the election Morales had won the previous month… The following day, on 15 November, Bolivian military forces shot and killed eight protesters in the city of Sacaba. On 21 November, regime forces killed another 10 protesters in the neighbourhood of Senkata just outside the capital La Paz… These particular salt flats were of interest to the UK embassy…One project it co-funded from 2019-20 sought to “optimise Bolivia’s lithium exploration and production (in the Coipasa and Pastos Grandes salars) using British technology”… However, we found that on 19 December 2019 – two days after the IABD gave final approval to the project – the UK Foreign Office transferred £33,220 to Satellite Applications Catapult, in a payment listed as “programme spend”… The Foreign Office documents note: “Watchman UK and other consultancies are now in line to offer services in this important field to a number of Bolivia mining companies who wish to achieve win-win solutions to their controversies with indigenous inhabitants and towns located in the area of influence of their activities”… The quick moves of the British embassy on the lithium project followed years of trying to court Bolivia’s socialist government over the country’s reserves of the metal, the new documents show…[Refers to BP and Chevron]