Bolivian General Arrested And Accused Of Coup After Presidential Break-In Attempt

Bolivian General Arrested And Accused Of Coup After Presidential Break-In Attempt

A Bolivian general has been arrested and accused of planning a coup against the current government after trying to break into the presidential palace on Wednesday.

Military units led by Gen. Juan Jose Zúñiga – dismissed as commander of the Bolivian army just a day earlier – occupied the main square in the capital, La Paz, as armored vehicles were forced against the Palace door

Hours later, Zúñiga was handcuffed and forced into a police car. Huge crowds had gathered round the palace and President Luis Arce raise his clenched fist to the crowd to signal his victory.

His defense minister Edmundo Novillo later told a news conference the government had regained “total and absolute control” over its military. 

“We urge the population that everything goes back to normal,” he said.

As he was being arrested Zúñiga insinuated that he was only acting on the President’s orders. 

“On Sunday I met with the president and the president told me, ‘The situation was very f*****, that this week would be critical. And so, it’s necessary to prepare something to bring up my popularity.’ And so he told me, he asked me, ‘Shall we take out the armored (vehicles)?’” Zúñiga told reporters.

Justice Minister Ivan Lima denied Zúñiga’s claims, saying he “lies and tries to justify himself about a decision he took and over which he will have to answer to justice.”

The attempted coup was widely condemned by the Bolivian government and international leaders.

Bolivia has had a long history of political assassination. There have been almost 40 attempted or successful coups since 1946. The South American country has recently been thrown into a fit of economic crisis that has sparked street protests in recent months.