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Bolivia has announced the arrest of 17 people, including former top military officials, following an unsuccessful coup attempt aimed at overthrowing President Luis Arce yesterday.

On Thursday morning, Bolivian Minister of Government Eduardo Del Castillo accused Gen Juan José Zúñiga Macías and Rear Adm Juan Arnez Salvador of orchestrating the coup to destabilize the democratically elected government. Speaking to local media, Del Castillo assured that those involved would face severe legal consequences, with potential prison sentences ranging from 15 to 30 years. He disclosed that the conspirators had been plotting for weeks.


During a televised interview, Del Castillo recounted an interaction between President Arce and Gen Zúñiga the night before the coup. Arce reportedly dismissed Zúñiga for actions inconsistent with the constitution, to which Zúñiga outwardly agreed, only to lead the failed coup the next day. The fleeting insurrection resulted in 12 injuries and further added to Bolivia’s history of political volatility, having experienced numerous coups and revolutions since its independence in 1825.

In a dramatic twist, Zúñiga claimed that President Arce had orchestrated the coup to gain political leverage amid an ongoing economic crisis and internal party conflicts. Bolivia is currently grappling with declining gas exports and social unrest, compounded by a power struggle between Arce and former president Evo Morales, both vying for the Movimiento al Socialismo (Mas) party’s presidential nomination in the upcoming election.


The failed coup has sparked widespread speculation and conspiracy theories, with some opposition figures suggesting it was a self-coup by Arce. Opposition congressman Alejandro Reyes called for a parliamentary investigation into these allegations. However, presidential minister María Nela Prada dismissed such claims as baseless, while Mas lawmaker Deisy Choque praised Arce for his resilience and commitment to democracy.

The attempted coup drew condemnation from across Latin America, with both conservative and leftist governments decrying the insurrection.


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