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Bolivia Army Chief Arrested After Coup Attempt

The coup attempt began with hundreds of soldiers and armored vehicles occupying Murillo Square in La Paz, where Bolivia’s government buildings including the presidential palace are located. An armored vehicle attempted to smash down the entrance to the presidential palace.

Bolivia Army Chief Arrested After Coup Attempt

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General Zúñiga declared his intention to restructure democracy and initially stated his respect for President Arce.

President Arce confronted Zúñiga demanding he stand down and vacate his role. Shortly after, Zúñiga was arrested while alleging that he acted on the president’s orders.

President Arce condemned the coup attempt urging the public to mobilize in defense of democracy. He appointed new military commanders.

In response, pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets to support the government reinforcing the public’s opposition to the coup.

Evo Morales, the former president and ally-turned-rival of Arce also condemned the coup attempt and called for criminal charges against Zúñiga and his accomplices.

The general’s exact motivations remain unclear, but he accused an elite group of destroying the country and suggested that the coup was in response to President Arce’s request to improve his popularity.

Bolivia is experiencing economic pressures including a US dollar shortage, which has exacerbated political tensions between Arce and Morales over control of their ruling party.

Regional leaders and international bodies condemned the coup attempt. Venezuela, Colombia, the United States and Paraguay all called for democracy to prevail in Bolivia.

Bolivia faced similar situations in 2019 when Morales was forced to resign amid allegations of election manipulation.

The internal feud between President Arce and Evo Morales has been a source of political instability. Morales, barred from running for office again has openly criticized Arce and hinted at the possibility of seeking another term.

The ruling party, MAS is fractured with factions loyal to either Arce or Morales. This internal conflict has paralyzed governmental efforts to address the economic crisis.

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Some opposition figures like Senator Andrea Barrientos have suggested that President Arce may have orchestrated the coup attempt to consolidate power and distract from the country’s economic woes.

Defense Minister Edmundo Novillo declared the situation under control and labeled it a “failed coup,” dismissing claims of any orchestrated self-coup.

General Zuniga dismissed as army commander led troops to occupy Murillo Plaza in La Paz and attempted to storm the presidential palace.

President Arce confronted Zuniga ordering him to withdraw forces, which led to the general’s arrest and the restoration of government control.

Tensions increased with former President Evo Morales planning to challenge Arce in the upcoming 2025 elections further dividing the ruling MAS party.

General Zuniga claimed he acted on President Arce’s orders to stage the coup as a political maneuver to boost popularity, which the government denied.

The Bolivian Attorney General initiated criminal investigations against Zuniga and other participants for their roles in the coup attempt.

President Arce appointed new military commanders following the coup attempt to stabilize the situation and assert government authority.

Human rights activist Jhanisse Vaca Daza expressed concerns that the coup attempt could be used by President Arce to justify a crackdown on political opponents and possibly close down the Legislative Assembly.

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