LA PAZ – The wife of a grassroots leader who is an ally of Bolivian President Evo Morales was seriously wounded by a letter bomb.
Arminda Colque, who was waiting with four other people for a meeting to begin, opened an envelope she had just received about 3:00 p.m. Wednesday in the waiting room of a union headquarters in La Paz, triggering the blast, eyewitnesses said.
Fidel Surco, head of the Conalcam umbrella organization of grassroots groups loyal to the government, told Erbol radio that the envelope was addressed to him.
Colque and the other four people in the room were taken to La Paz’s Arco Iris Hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery.
Police gathered evidence at the crime scene and are trying to determine if the blast was linked to an explosion that occurred around midday Wednesday at a construction company office, wounding two firefighters.
Bolivia’s deputy interior minister, Marcos Farfan, said the government was concerned about the incident and refused to rule out a link between the explosions.
Surco’s relatives and lawmakers from Morales’s socialist MAS party condemned what happened to the grassroots leader’s wife and said it was a politically motivated attack.
The attack was staged by “a new terrorism network” linked to Bolivian-born Croatian citizen Eduardo Rosza Flores, who was killed in an April 16 police operation, Sen. Felix Rojas said.
Morales said Thursday that the Bolivian right recently started hiring Peruvian mercenaries to stage attacks to destabilize his government.
The president spoke in a press conference at which he condemned Wednesday’s bombings, though he did not blame those attacks on the alleged mercenaries.
“It goes well beyond that. Obviously, it is under investigation, but I want you to know that the opposition is hiring some Peruvians to attack life, that is the most serious thing,” Morales said, adding that he could not provide more information for the time being. EFE