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Friday 20 September 2019

Dying diabetes patient 'taped Bolivia plotters'

Shane Phelan, Barry Duggan and  Gerard Couzens

A DYING man has been identified as the figure who implicated Michael Dwyer in the alleged plot to murder Bolivian President Evo Morales.

The terminally ill taxi driver secretly filmed the conversation between Dwyer and alleged co-conspirators which triggered the fatal police raid that claimed the Irishman's life.

Although the audio from the mobile phone footage is muffled and mostly inaudible, Bolivian prosecutors claim it showed the men discussing explosives and a plot to blow up a boat carrying Mr Morales and government ministers.

Mr Dwyer, alleged plot leader Eduardo Rozsa Flores (49), and another man were shot dead at a hotel in the eastern Bolivian city of Santa Cruz on April 16 in what police described as a shootout.

Marcelo Sosa, the state prosecutor investigating the alleged murder plot, claims Mr Dwyer was a paid mercenary linked to right-wing separatists.

The footage obtained from the taxi driver forms one of the main planks of evidence Bolivian authorities have put forward to justify the SWAT-style attack. The unnamed cab driver is said to be suffering from an advanced stage of terminal diabetes. He is reported to have been hired by Mr Flores to drive him and his entourage around the Santa Cruz area.

Hospitalised

According to reports, he was due to give evidence to a judge on Thursday only for the testimony to be postponed.

Although he was well enough to work in early April, he has since been hospitalised and is said to be in an intensive care unit in the city of Cochabamba.

Mr Sosa also released photographs showing a bare-chested Mr Dwyer, who said he was working in Bolivia as a bodyguard for Mr Flores, brandishing semi-automatic pistols and others in which he is seen holding a Sten submachine gun.

Another photo shows him sitting at a table on which lies Brazilian Magtech ammunition and 9mm rounds for Glock 19 and Beretta 92 handguns.

Mr Dwyer, a former engineering student, was buried following an emotional funeral ceremony in Terryglass, Co Tipperary, on Thursday. Both his family and the woman he was dating in Bolivia, Brazilian medical student Rafaella Cotrin, have disputed claims he was a mercenary or a terrorist.

Weapons

There have also been contradictory claims about the evidence of Juan Carlos Gueder Bruno, a man who admitted at a police press conference this week that he had supplied weapons to Mr Flores to kill two Bolivian state governors.

Mr Bruno's wife Martha has insisted her husband is innocent and claims he told her on the phone he had been beaten by police. Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin has said he does not anticipate the involvement of garda personnel in the investigation in Bolivia. "We wrote formally about our concerns in relation to the circumstances surrounding the violent death of Michael Dwyer," he said.

"The Bolivian authorities have promised us full access to all police reports and to all outcomes of the investigations. Our officials in Buenos Aires are continuing to maintain contact with them." Mr Martin said co-operation with the Bolivian authorities has been good to date.

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