Croatia: Morales murder plot suspect 'wanted to form separatist army'

Zagreb, 22 April (AKI) – A Croat allegedly involved in a plot to kill leftwing Bolivian president Evo Morales said in an interview that he travelled to Bolivia to form a secessionist army in the country's mineral-rich Santa Cruz region.

“They called me from Bolivia, from Santa Cruz, they told me to come home, because the motherland calls,” Eduardo Rosza Flores said in a Hungarian media interview.

The interview was recorded last September and excerpts from it were published on Wednesday by Croatian daily Jutarnji.

Flores, who had dual Bolivian-Croatian nationality, was killed last week in Bolivia in a gunfight with police.

“My task is to form an army in Santa Cruz as soon as possible and to be its leader,” Flores said. “I’m not a mercenary, nor will I ever be, but if motherland needs me I’m going,” said Bolivian-born Flores.

In the interview, recorded just before he travelled to Bolivia, Flores said the Santa Cruz region opposed Morales’ rule and was fighting for autonomy.

“Only if autonomy doesn’t succeed by peaceful means, will we proclaim independence,” he concluded in the interview.

Flores, 49, a Bolivian of Croatian origins, said that his trip to Bolivia was well organised, including his air tickets and illegal crossing of the border from Brazil.

Flores, nicknamed Chico, went to Croatia in 1991, to fight in the secessionist war against the former Yugoslavia.

After the war ended with Croatia's independence in 1995, he retired from the army with the rank of major and lived in the Hungarian capital, Budapest.

Apart from Flores, an Irishman, Dwyer Michael Martin, and a Romanian, Arpad Magyarosi were killed in a shootout with police in the eastern city of Santa Cruz.

Two other suspected plotters, Elot Toaso, a Hungarian, and another Bolivian of Croat descent, Mario Francisco Tadic, were arrested during the gunfight.

Morales said they were members of a gang planning to kill him and several other officials. The Bolivian press linked the plotters to an opposition leader in Santa Cruz, Branko Marinkovic, who is also of Croatian descent.

The discovery of the alleged plot raised concern in Croatia about the fate of a sizeable Croat community in Bolivia after Croats were described in the media as separatists and fascists.

Some Bolivian newspapers have made a link with the World War II fake or quisling state in Croatia that was formed by the leader of the separatist Ustashe movement, Ante Pavelic, under the auspices of Hitler and Mussolini.


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