How Tensions in Bolivia Fueled an Attempt to Oust President Arce from Power

By David Biller and Eléonore Hughes

"It's a dynamic situation and there is a long history of military coups in Bolivia," said AS/COA's Brian Winter to AP. 

Armored vehicles rammed into the doors of Bolivia’s government palace on Wednesday as President Luis Arce said his country faced an apparent attempted coup. 

In a sense, the uprising was the culmination of tensions that have been brewing in Bolivia for months, with protesters streaming into the nation’s capital amid a severe economic crisis and as two political titans battle for control of the ruling party. 

At the same time, the attempt to take over the palace appeared to have lacked any meaningful support, and even Arce’s rivals quickly closed ranks to defend democracy and repudiate the uprising.

What appears to have triggered this?

Wednesday’s uprising appeared to be led by general commander of the army Juan José Zúñiga, who told journalists gathered at the plaza outside the palace that “Surely soon there will be a new Cabinet of ministers; our country, our state cannot go on like this.” But he added that he recognizes Arce as commander in chief “for now.” Zúñiga did not explicitly say whether he was the uprising’s leader, but in the palace, with bangs echoing behind him, he said the army was trying to “restore democracy and free our political prisoners.” [...]

“It’s a dynamic situation and there is a long history of military coups in Bolivia, but a lot of domestic and global power brokers are lining up behind Arce,” said Brian Winter, vice president of the New York-based Council of the Americas.

Read the full article