Bolivian People Neutralize Coup Attempt

Venezuela Fully Supports President Arce

Bolivian people came out in the thousands thwarting June 26 coup attempt
Bolivian people came out in the thousands thwarting June 26 coup attempt.

By Luigino Bracci/Orinoco Tribune

Bolivian President Luis Arce has appointed new general commanders of the Army, Aviation, and Navy, following the coup d’état that soldiers under the command of Army Commander General José Zúñiga attempted to enact, and Zúñiga’s subsequent dismissal.

Thousands of people from social movements took over Plaza Murillo to resist the coup this Wednesday, June 26, and President Arce came out to give them his support. The military, who had taken the Murillo plaza with tanks, withdrew after the new commanding general, José Wilson Sánchez Velásquez, ordered them to return to his command.

The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, expressed his solidarity with Luis Arce and the Bolivian people, condemning the attempted coup during an event in Lara state, Venezuela. “From Venezuela, we condemn the coup d’état against Bolivian democracy,” he said. “Forces that have betrayed their oath of loyalty to the state have taken the Presidential Palace in La Paz. That is the path that the fascists, the extremists want!”

“From Venezuela, we call on the people of Bolivia to defend their democracy, their Constitution, and their president, Lucho Arce,” the Venezuelan president continued. “To the people of Bolivia, all of our support is for the people of Simón Bolívar!”

He later condemned the fact that the commander of the Bolivian army, General José Zúñiga, “intended to kidnap President Lucho Arce,” which he described as “total and absolute insolence,” and stated that Zúñiga “intended to ignore the legitimate authority” of Arce, who was elected by the Bolivian people. “Who chose Zúñiga to come and set conditions for the President of a State?” President Maduro asked.

“President Lucho, call on the people. Only the people save the people! Only the people save democracy!” he added. “What we want to do, in the Bolivarian spirit, is to go to Bolivia, to El Alto, to La Paz, as Bolívar and Sucre did, to support the people in their struggles against the coup-mongering and fascist oligarchies.”

The facts
This Wednesday, soldiers from the Bolivian army under the command of their commander general, José Zúñiga, surrounded the Presidential Palace of Bolivia in Plaza Murillo, in the city of La Paz, in an unauthorized manner.

The previous day, Zúñiga had been removed from the high command of the Bolivian Army after making statements opposing the re-election bid of former president Evo Morales.

Zúñiga, in statements to the press, stated that he sought to “recover the homeland” and assured that “there will be a new cabinet,” while announcing that he would release  so-called “political prisoners,” including Jeanine Añez and Luis Fernando Camacho, involved in the coup of 2019.

Luis Arce and other popular leaders of Bolivia, including former President Evo Morales, condemned the coup d’état in progress and called on the people to go to the Presidential Palace and defend democracy. Videos posted on social media displayed how coup soldiers ran away from Plaza Trujillo, chased by the Bolivian people defending their democracy and freedom.

“We cannot allow, once again, for coup attempts to take Bolivian lives,” President Arce said. “We want to urge everyone to defend democracy. Here we are standing firm in Casa Grande, with the entire Cabinet and with our social organizations!”

The media even recorded the moment in which Zúñiga entered the Palace, and Arce confronted him face to face, having a strong discussion. There are videos of the discussion:

President Luis Arce responded by appointing a new high military command, swearing in José Wilson Sánchez Velásquez as the new general commander of the Bolivian Army, Gerardo Zabala Álvarez as the new aviation commander, and Renán Guardia Ramírez as the new commander of the Navy.

The new general commander, José Wilson Sánchez Velásquez, called on military personnel to demobilize and return to their units, according to reports on the ground from Telesur.

At six in the afternoon, Bolivian time, thousands of people had taken Murillo Square in front of the Presidential Palace and the military had withdrawn. President Luis Arce and Vice President David Choquehuanca came out before the crowd to thank the people and the social movements for their presence and their response to neutralize the coup d’état.

Some analysts consider that the coup attempt and its defeat may represent a strong boost to President Arce’s re-election plans, as he removed a top military commander opposing Evo Morales’ re-election while simultaneously uniting the Evo Morales current and his own current to defeat the coup attempt, thus solidifying his leadership.

In recent months, a split in the Bolivian revolutionary movement has seen forces pushing to oppose the re-election bid of former President Evo Morales and other forces supporting the re-election of Luis Arce in the upcoming 2025 presidential elections. Many analysts have condemned the US embassy as the main promoter and beneficiary of such a split within the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) political party.

Below are photos of the military who took the surroundings of the Presidential Palace earlier, courtesy of Kawsachun News:


(Alba Ciudad) by Luigino Bracci with Orinoco Tribune content

Translation: Orinoco Tribune

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