Bolivia: coup attempt collapses, top general arrested

Bolivia coup

In an apparent coup attempt against Bolivia’s President Luis Arce, military vehicles surrounded the presidential palace in La Paz June 26—with one ramming open the building’s front doors. Arce took to Twitter to denounce the “irregular mobilization of some units of the Bolivian Army,” and called for democracy to be respected. As La Paz residents converged on Plaza Murillo to confront the troops outside the palace, Arce officially dismissed armed forces commander Gen. Juan JosĂ© ZĂșñiga, replacing him with Gen. JosĂ© SĂĄnchez—who promptly issued orders for all troops to return to barracks. This caused the occupying troops to retreatfrom the plaza. Later, the Government Ministry announced that ZĂșñiga had been arrested.

The coup attempt drew harsh criticism from across Bolivian society, from the courts to the ombudsman to the general public—who have continued to show up in Plaza Murillo in huge numbers to support the government. Leaders of neighboring nations, including Brazillian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Chilean President Gabriel Boric, also condemned the attempt.

Last week, ZĂșñiga said that he would arrest former president Evo Morales if he ran for president again. Morales had previously accused ZĂșñiga of leading a secret group within the army, called the Pachajchos, that monitors peasant leaders and political opponents.

From Jurist, June 27. Used with permission.

Photo via Twitter

  1. Bolivia: ousted general charges false flag

    Upon his arrest, Gen. ZĂșñiga claimed that the apparent coup attempt had been requested by Arce himself to “rehabilitate his popularity.” ZĂșñiga told cameras moments before he was formally taken into custody that Arce had instructed him to “bring out the armored vehicles.” The opposition has since been floating theories that the affair was an auto-golpe staged by Arce. (AgenziaNova, Radio Australia) 

  2. Bolivia: Evo embraces false-flag conspiracy theory

    Ex-president Evo Morales has accused his ally-turned-rival President Luis Arce of deceiving Bolivians by staging a “self-coup” last week.

    Morales was initially among the country’s most powerful voices to say the approximately 200 members of the military who marched on the government palace alongside armored vehicles June 26 had attempted a :”coup d’Ă©tat,” and called for “all those involved in this riot to be arrested and tried.”

    But on June 30, Morales joined others who contend Arce himself orchestrated the incident in an attempt to win the sympathy of Bolivians at a time when his popularity is extremely low.

    Arce “disrespected the truth, deceived us, lied, not only to the Bolivian people but to the whole world,” Morales told local media. He also called for an independent investigation into the military action in a post on Twitter. (AP)

  3. Evo, Lucho supporters clash in La Paz

    The mayor of  La Paz, Ivån Arias, was injured July 10 whie trying to mediate between protesters marching in support of Evo Morales and those rallying in favor of President Luis Arce. (CNN)

    This was a brief reprise of the more than 10 days of street protests seen in February, when Morales supporters mobilized to oppose his being barred from running for further presidential terms by the Plurinational Constitutional Court. Arce, once hailed by Moraes supporters as “Brother Lucho,” is now considered a “traitor” for acquiescing in the decision. (El PaĂ­s)