Bolivia Coup Attempt: Two Senior Officials Arrested


By John

The Bolivian Minister of Defense, Edmund Novilloassured that “the situation is already under control within the Armed Forces”, after the coup attempt, inviting the population to “resume their activities”.

In statements to the media, Novillo said that after the installation of the new military leaders, President Luis Arce met with them and gave them the task of assuming full control of the armed forces.

“I want to reassure you,” the minister finally told reporters, “that everything is under control. There is no need to worry, we are taking the necessary safety measures. The military units have been instructed to return to all their normal activities immediately.” Novillo then referred to reports of long lines at gas stations to refuel, urging citizens “not to worry.” Probably, he finally said, “there are those who are afraid, thinking that the situation will last a long time, but we want to tell them that this is not the case. Everything is under control now.”

The soldiers deployed in Murillo square, where the main buildings of Bolivian democracy overlook, demobilized after the appointment of the new army commander, who asked everyone to return to the barracks. “We salute the military who wear the uniform with pride” as different from those “who repeat history by trying to carry out a coup when the Bolivian people have always been democratic,” said Bolivian President Luis Arce. “The new appointment should appease unconstitutional appetites”, he highlighted, inviting the population to remain calm”.

At least 12 people were injured following the attempted coup, some by shots fired by rioting soldiers in and around the Plaza Murillo. The toll of the injured was provided last night by both the Minister of the Presidency, Maria Nela Prada, and the Minister of Health, María Renée Castro. The latter stated that “our medical brigades quickly went into action and took the injured to the competent city health facilities”.

The former commanders of the Army and Navy, Juan José Zúñiga and Juan Arnez Salvador, were identified as the main architects of the attempted coup, and arrested. In a press conference, Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo said the two officers would be tried for crimes related to internal security.

Del Castillo underlined that “there is another group of people who will be investigated for having contributed to the implementation of the attempted coup. “Once they are convicted – he concluded – we will ensure that this does not happen again”. In the wake of the As happened, yesterday President Luis Arce appointed the new leaders of the armed forces in a ceremony: General José Wilson Sánchez Velásquez, as commander of the army, General Gerardo Zabala, as head of the Air Force, and Vice Admiral Renán Guard, leading the Navy.

The vice president of Bolivia, David Choquehuancahad denounced that a “coup d’état” was underway against the government of Luis Arce: “We denounce to the international community that a coup d’état is underway in Bolivia against our democratically elected government,” Choquehuanca said. This was reported by Efe.

Former President of Bolivia, Evo Moraleshad reported on X that “a group of the Challapata Special Regiment occupied the Murillo Square (in front of the government palace) and stationed snipers””This means that the coup was prepared in advance”, continued Morales’ post, which concludes with an appeal to the people to “defend the Homeland from some military groups that act against democracy”.

Zuniga – dismissed after publicly threatening former President Evo Morales – had declared that a new government would soon be appointed because “the country cannot continue like this”. The general was interviewed by the Bolivian press after a hundred soldiers led by him stormed the government headquarters in Murillo Square, in La Paz. The action of the armed forces had shortly before been described as ‘irregular’ by President Luis Alberto Arce. Former head of state Morales called on citizens and political movements to take to the streets. After leaving the square, he was arrested by the police.

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS)condemns in the most forceful form the action of the Bolivian army” which must immediately “submit to the civil authority as foreseen by the inter-American democratic charter”. This was said by the president of the OAS, Luis Almagro, speaking during the General Assembly of the organization, underway in Assuncion in Paraguay. Almagro spoke immediately after being informed of the complaint by President Luis Alberto Arce Catacora who on X reported the ‘irregular’ presence of army units in Piazza Murillo, in front of the headquarters. of the government. “We express our solidarity with President Arce. The international community, the OAS and the OAS General Secretariat will not tolerate any form of disruption of the legitimate constitutional order in Bolivia or anywhere else,” Almagro concluded.