Bolivia’s army chief arrested for Coup attempt


La Paz: 27 June 2024: Bolivia’s army chief was taken into custody on Wednesday after deploying soldiers and tanks to surround government buildings, an action President Luis Arce condemned as an attempted coup.

The troops and tanks entered Plaza Murillo, a historic square housing the presidency and Congress, prompting widespread international condemnation for its assault on democracy.

One tank attempted to breach the metal doors of the presidential palace.

Surrounded by soldiers and eight tanks, General Juan Jose Zuniga, now dismissed, stated that the “armed forces aim to reform democracy, ensuring it becomes genuine and not controlled by a few individuals for decades.”

Shortly afterward,  reporters observed soldiers and tanks withdrawing from the square. The uprising lasted approximately five hours.

Later on Wednesday, Zuniga was apprehended and escorted into a police vehicle while addressing reporters outside a military barracks, as shown on state television.

You are under arrest, General,” Deputy Interior Minister Jhonny Aguilera informed Zuniga.

“No one can take away the democracy we have achieved,” Arce declared before hundreds of supporters from a balcony of the government palace.

Earlier, he had called on “the Bolivian people to unite and mobilize against the coup in defense of democracy,” in a televised address alongside his ministers from the presidential palace.

Arce also swore in new military leaders, dismissing Zuniga.

Moments before his arrest, Zuniga alleged to reporters that it was actually the president who instructed him to orchestrate the uprising, aiming to portray strength and boost his declining approval ratings.

During a meeting last Sunday, the general claimed, he asked Arce, “Shall we deploy armored vehicles?” and the president allegedly replied, “Go ahead.”

Arce’s directive, according to Zuniga, was to “stage an event to raise his popularity.”

Former president Evo Morales warned of “a brewing coup d’etat” and called for “national mobilization to defend democracy.”



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