Leftist Bolivian President Overcomes Apparent ‘Military Coup’

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Angel Thuy Jaskulosk, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
American Liberty News
- July 23, 2024
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ANALYSIS – Or was the entire thing staged by the president himself? In what appears to have been an extremely brief, and badly bungled coup attempt, armored vehicles and troops from the Bolivian army tried to break down the doors to the Bolivian government headquarters in La Paz Wednesday.

This after the troops had encircled the building in the early morning hours.

The troops, led by General , the then-head of the Army finally succeeded in entering the presidential palace.

The general quickly backed down under pressure from the presidential security forces and a leftist mob of supporters of President .

Zúñiga said he intended to “restore democracy” after months of government paralysis and dysfunction and added that while he respected the president Arce for now, the government would be changed.

“We are listening to the cry of the people because for many years an elite has taken control of the country,” Zúñiga said, adding that politicians are “destroying the country: look at what situation we are in, what crisis they have left us in.”

“The armed forces intend to restore democracy, to make it a true democracy,” he said.

In a dramatic and theatrical moment conveniently caught on camera Arce confronted the general in the palace hallway and proclaimed: “I am your captain, and I order you to withdraw your soldiers, and I will not allow this insubordination.”

While speaking to reporters the general was then dramatically arrested on live television.

As CBS News reported: “Within hours, the nation of 12 million people saw a rapidly moving scenario in which the troops seemed to take control of the government of President Luis Arce. He vowed to stand firm and named a new army commander, who immediately ordered the troops to stand down.”

A government minister then said that in addition to Zúñiga, former navy Vice Adm. Juan Arnez Salvador had also been arrested.

Less than an hour later, Arce announced new heads of the army, navy and air force.

The dangerous drama comes as the country has faced a severe economic crisis and months of infighting and tensions between the leftist Arce and his one-time ally, the leftist former president Evo Morales, over control of the ruling party ahead of the 2025 elections.

The party, Movement for Socialism, is known by its Spanish acronym MAS.

Morales was ousted as president in 2019 following an earlier political crisis.

But was this entire coup faked? Was it a false flag by its far-left leader intended to purge the military and consolidate power?

CBS News added:

In a twist, Zúñiga claimed in comments to journalists before his arrest that Arce himself told the general to storm the palace in a political move. “The president told me: ‘The situation is very screwed up, very critical. It is necessary to prepare something to raise my popularity',” Zúñiga quoted the Bolivian leader as saying.

Zúñiga said he asked Arce if he should “take out the armored vehicles?” and Arce replied, “Take them out.”

Justice Minister Iván Lima denied Zúñiga's claims, saying the general was lying and trying to justify his actions, for which he said he will face justice.

Prosecutors will seek the maximum sentence of 15 to 20 years in prison for Zúñiga, Lima said via the social platform X, “for having attacked democracy and the Constitution.”

The weakness and incompetence of the supposed coup, and the surprisingly quick response by the president, add credence to the general's claim. 

Arce is backed by Venezuela, Cuba, Honduras and Nicaragua, all have used democratic means to impose authoritarian socialist regimes.

Zúñiga had previously held high ranks including brigadier general and chief of the general staff, but best known for his military intelligence skills. 

Zúñiga also cultivated a reputation as “the people's general” by forming close ties with social movements and unions such as mine workers.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.

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