The president of Bolivia makes the attempted military coup fail

The president of Bolivia, Luis Arcehas managed to make the attempted coup d’état fail this Wednesday with the appointment of a new military leadership. “Here the military must respect our Constitution.” With these words, the president of Bolivia closed a public statement with which he appointed a new Military High Command after the Army uprising that began this Wednesday afternoon in La Paz.

Arce, who denounced an attempted coup d’état, decided to replace all the country’s military commanders. “We denounce irregular mobilizations of some units of the Bolivian Army. Democracy must be respected,” he wrote in X as soon as the first mobilizations of armored vehicles were known. Later, he called on the people to organize and mobilize against this “coup d’état” and “in favor of democracy.”

The until then Commander of the Army, General Juan José Zúñiga had expressed his disagreement with the intention of Evo Morales to run again in a presidential election. On Monday he said that the former president “can no longer be president of this country” and warned that “if necessary” he would not allow him to “trample the Constitution, disobey the mandate of the people” and added, in that sense, that the Armed Forces “They are the armed arm of the people, the armed arm of the country.”

On Tuesday, Zúñiga was reportedly removed from office, but he ignored the presidential order. On Wednesday, the military man attended an official event and when the activity ended he led the mobilization of armored vehicles in Plaza Murillo, in the Bolivian capital, where the government headquarters is located. There, the commander threatened to “take over” the headquarters of the Executive. Hours later, he announced that he would leave the place, “for now.”

There was tear gas and pellet shots at civilian groups that mobilized to “defend” the Arce Government against the military movements.

“They want the Armed Forces to not exist, they want freedom in this country to do whatever they want (…) they use needy people so that in their name they aim to come to power and loot. Today, the Army is mobilized, in emergency, garrisoned… we respond to the clamor of the people. The people are asking for enough of the looting, enough of the outrage (…) Here are the Armed Forces for their people,” Zúñiga said as he left the government building and announced that “surely there will be a new cabinet soon.”

He also maintained that the country’s political prisoners should be released, including the former interim president. Jeanine Anezwho has been in prison for three years for having been convicted in the “Coup d’état II” case (against Morales) and the governor of the province of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camachoalso investigated for the events of 2019 that led to the resignation of the presidency of Evo Morales, accused of electoral fraud.

With a crowd of civilians supporting him, President Luis Arce led an act at the government headquarters to formally remove Zúñiga from office in absentia. He appointed José Wilson Sánchez Velásquez in his place. “We deplore the attitudes of bad military men who, unfortunately, repeat history, trying to carry out a coup d’état when the Bolivian people have always been a democratic people,” said Arce, who assured that he stands firm alongside his cabinet, the people and “the good military men, who know how to respect the Constitution.”

Arce wished the new commanders the greatest success and reiterated that discipline is a legal mandate. “The chain of command cannot be broken, as it is constitutionally prohibited. The military must respect our political Constitution.” He said he will enforce democracy “through votes.”

The new commander of the Army, Sanchez Velasquez, thanked “the brother president” for his appointment. “I ask, I order, I order, that all personnel who are mobilized in the streets must return to their units,” he declared from the same act in which he spoke of the “defeat” of the “coup” attempt. In parallel, it was learned that Zúñiga withdrew from Plaza Murillo.

Luis Arce’s appointments also included the other armed components. There has been great political tension between the Bolivian president and his politician’s godfather Evo Morales. Publicly everything has been said, and the confrontation has deepened since the Constitutional Court ruled that Morales cannot run for president in 2025. The former president governed for three terms and in 2019 he ran for a new re-election, violating the text of the Constitution reformed under his government.

Although Luis Arce came to power with his blessing, three years of quarrels have passed because he does not want to “return” power to his predecessor. The current Bolivian president intends to seek re-election next year, while Morales pulls strings to ensure that he is allowed to compete while the economy falters, parliament is experiencing an internal crisis and protests in the streets for social demands are increasing in number.