Eduardo del Castillo, Bolivia’s interior minister, says the government knew about the possibility of an uprising

Bolivia’s Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo told the broadcaster this Thursday (June 27, 2024) Unitel that the government had been warned of evidence of “destabilization attempts” before the coup attempt against President Luis Arce on Wednesday (May 26). The specific details of the plan were unknown.

Del Castillo said 17 people were arrested for their role in the coup attempt, including former commander Juan José Zúñiga and former Navy commander Juan Arnez Salvador. It is estimated that around 200 military personnel took part in the action.

Zúñiga, the main figure behind the coup attempt, had been dismissed from his post on Tuesday (June 26) after criticizing former president Evo Morales. During an interview, he stated that Morales could no longer hold office, declaring that he would not allow “the Constitution was trampled on, that it disobeyed the mandate of the people”.

Despite the threat culminating in the dismissal of the former commander, the government did not expect that Zúñiga would mobilize the army against Arce. “No one could have imagined that the next day, before the official transfer of positions, there would be a failed coup in our country“, said del Castillo.


At 3:57 pm (Brasília time) on Wednesday (June 26), the president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, announced the coup attempt after armored vehicles and military personnel parked on the corners of Plaza Murillo, where the Quemado Palace, seat of the Bolivian Presidency, and the Plurinational Legislative Assembly are located, in the city of La Paz.

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The movement was led by General Juan Jose Zuniga, former commander of the Bolivian Army dismissed on Tuesday (June 25) after criticizing former Bolivian president Evo Morales. To journalists, Zúñiga these that the military sought “restore democracy” and called for the immediate release of political prisoners.

Images shared on social media showed the moment a tank hit the entrance to the presidential palace in La Paz.

In another record, the Bolivian president appeared facing General Zúñiga outside the palace.

Arce changed the army command because of the coup attempt. Standing next to the president in the Quemado Palace, the new commander, José Wilson Sánchez, ordered the troops to retreat. “I ask, I order that all personnel who are mobilized must return to their units”he declared.

Around 7pm (Brasília time) this Wednesday (June 26), the soldiers began to leave Murillo Square.


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