La Paz/Bolivia – 06/26/2024 – At the doors of the Presidential Palace, Bolivian President Luis Arce met face to face with the leader of the attempted military coup in Bolivia, Army Commander General Juan José Zuñiga. Photo: Reproduction of TV via Fotos Publicas

The President of Bolivia, Luis Arce, announced the appointment of three new chiefs of the Armed Forces after an attempted coup d’état that shook the country this Wednesday (26). The change in military leadership was followed by the withdrawal of the military who had invaded the Quemado Palace, government headquarters, in La Paz. Surrounded by soldiers loyal to the government, the president defeated the attempted coup d’état, after personally confronting the Army commander .

There were four hours of tension, in which Army tanks and armed soldiers invaded the presidential palace in La Paz, the former government headquarters that still functions for protocol acts. Previously, they were seen grouped together in squares and streets in the capital.

The coup attempt was allegedly masterminded by General Juan José Zuñiga, removed from his position as Army commander after making threats to former president Evo Morales. He stated on Monday (24) that he would arrest Morales if the former president returns to power. The Bolivian Attorney General’s Office announced that it has opened a criminal investigation against Zuñiga and the military personnel who participated in the coup attempt.

Bolivia’s Supreme Court also condemned the coup attempt and called on the international community to remain “vigilant in support of democracy in Bolivia”.

The new military leaders appointed by Arce are:

  • José Wilson Sánchez Velasquezin the army
  • Gerardo Zabala Alvarezin the Air Force
  • Renan Guardia Ramirezin the Navy

The situation in Bolivia remains tense, but the appointment of new heads of the Armed Forces and the withdrawal of troops from the Quemado Palace mark an important step in the restoration of order and democracy in the country.

Withdrawal of the military

La Paz/Bolivia – 06/26/2024 – Military personnel with armored vehicles invade the Presidential Palace during an attempted coup against the Government of President Luis Arce. Photo: RS via Public Photos

The news reported that the military, who had positioned themselves with tanks in front of the presidential headquarters and tried to invade the building, retreated after the announcement of the new appointments. The troops, under the command of former Army chief Juan José Zúñiga, left the Plaza de Armas after several hours of mobilization, which was classified by President Luis Arce as an attempted coup d’état.

“We salute the police who have stood firm with the Constitution,” Arce said. Bolivian Vice President David Choquehuanca also spoke out: “We want to salute the courage of all those who stood up against this attempted coup.”

Abnormal movements

Since Wednesday morning, Bolivian military personnel have carried out movements considered abnormal. Tanks and troops were placed in front of the government headquarters in La Paz, and members of the Army entered the Quemado Palace. Videos from the scene show uniformed military police using shields to close the place and prevent other people from entering Murillo square, where the government building is located. An armored vehicle was used to break down the doors, and stun bombs were used against protesters.

Juan José Zúñiga, removed from his position as Army commander on Tuesday (25), told the press in front of the Quemado Palace that “he is going to change ministers” and that “the country cannot continue like this”. Zúñiga also promised to release all those he called “political prisoners” and criticized longtime figures in Bolivian politics, such as former president Evo Morales.

La Paz/Bolivia – 06/26/2024 – Military personnel with armored vehicles invade the Presidential Palace during an attempted coup against the Government of President Luis Arce. Photo: RS via Public Photos

Reactions to movements

Luis Arce used his social media to denounce the irregular movements of Bolivian Army units: “We denounce irregular mobilizations of some Bolivian Army units. Democracy must be respected,” wrote the president.

Former president Evo Morales called for a national mobilization to defend democracy: “We call for a National Mobilization to defend Democracy in the face of the coup d’état that is being created and led by General Juan José Zúñiga, commander of the Army”, stated Morales on his networks social.

Turmoil in Bolivia

Over the past five years, Bolivia has faced several political turbulences:

  • 2019: Evo Morales’ third term was interrupted by a coup d’état following protests from sectors of the middle class and business. Morales had been elected to a fourth term, but resigned and left the country.
  • After 2019: Jeanine Áñez Chávez proclaimed herself interim president. In 2021, she and supporters of the coup, including former Army commander Jorge Pastor Mendieta Ferrufino, were arrested.
  • Arce and Morales relationship: Arce and Morales, once allies, became adversaries due to the 2025 presidential elections, with Morales being the MAS candidate. Arce was removed from the party for not participating in the party congress.
  • 2008: There was an attempted coup, but it failed. The government denounced a “civil coup” by the conservative opposition in the Department of Santa Cruz, but did not declare a state of siege.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *