42 votes

Military flees Bolivia government palace after coup attempt fails, general taken into custody

9 comments

  1. [5]
    ChingShih
    Link

    [President Luis] Arce confronted the general commander of the army — Juan José Zúñiga, who appeared to be leading the rebellion — in the palace hallway, as shown on video on Bolivian television. “I am your captain, and I order you to withdraw your soldiers, and I will not allow this insubordination,” Arce said.

    Bolivia, a country of 12 million people, has seen intensifying protests in recent months over the economy’s precipitous decline from one of the continent’s fastest-growing two decades ago to one of its most crisis-stricken.

    The country also has seen a high-profile rift at the highest levels of the governing party. Arce and his one-time ally, leftist icon and former President Morales, have been battling for the future of Bolivia’s splintering Movement for Socialism, known by its Spanish acronym MAS, ahead of elections in 2025.

    16 votes
    1. [4]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Is also rather interesting, if true. I doubt it, but you never know. With how quickly and easily the coup attempt seems to have ended, it's more believable than I would normally give credence to....

      Hours later, the Bolivian general who appeared to be behind the rebellion, Juan José Zúñiga, was arrested after the attorney general opened an investigation. It wasn’t immediately clear what the charges were against him.

      However, in a twist, Zúñiga claimed in comments to journalists before his arrest that Arce himself told the general to storm the palace in a political move. “The president told me: ‘The situation is very screwed up, very critical. It is necessary to prepare something to raise my popularity’,” Zúñiga quoted the Bolivian leader as saying.

      Zúñiga sajd [sic] he asked Arce if he should “take out the armored vehicles?” and Arce replied, “Take them out.”

      There was no immediate response from Arce to the allegations, and the Ministry of the Presidency did not respond to an Associated Press request for comment.

      Is also rather interesting, if true. I doubt it, but you never know. With how quickly and easily the coup attempt seems to have ended, it's more believable than I would normally give credence to. But also if true, you would think the General would have been smart enough to keep evidence of such an order though. So ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      11 votes
      1. [2]
        jess
        Link Parent
        The other story floating around is that most of the soldiers didn't know they were part of a coup, and the coup fell apart when they realised. That explanation seems slightly likelier.

        The other story floating around is that most of the soldiers didn't know they were part of a coup, and the coup fell apart when they realised.

        That explanation seems slightly likelier.

        13 votes
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          This whole thing, including some of the personnel potentially not realizing they were even participating in a coup, and the almost immediate civilian resistance, sounds remarkably similar to the...

          This whole thing, including some of the personnel potentially not realizing they were even participating in a coup, and the almost immediate civilian resistance, sounds remarkably similar to the failed Turkish coup attempt in 2016.

          18 votes
      2. Macha
        Link Parent
        It's really weird to be honest. If it was planned between the two, you'd expect the general to keep quiet and get pardoned (and presumably paid off) quietly afterwards. If it was planned but the...

        It's really weird to be honest. If it was planned between the two, you'd expect the general to keep quiet and get pardoned (and presumably paid off) quietly afterwards.

        If it was planned but the general got cold feet, why even start the attempt?

        If it was planned but the general after being made stand down suddenly felt the president wasn't going to hold up his end, I guess that could sort of make motivational sense, but it's hard to imagine the general being in this deep before he considers that possibility.

        So for me the claims from the general don't really make sense.

        On the other hand the general to president face to face confrontation in the hallway feels pretty weird also.

        3 votes
  2. R3qn65
    Link
    For those interested, there's a book called Seizing Power which explores the success of failure of a coup attempt through a game-theoretic lens. Basically, that a coup attempt succeeds if the...

    For those interested, there's a book called Seizing Power which explores the success of failure of a coup attempt through a game-theoretic lens. Basically, that a coup attempt succeeds if the plotters can rapidly convince everyone else that their success is inevitable, and fails if they can't.

    13 votes
  3. disk
    Link
    There is another excellent (short) book that goes into the practical underpinnings of a successful coup d'etat, named Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook. It helps reflect what has been the larger...

    There is another excellent (short) book that goes into the practical underpinnings of a successful coup d'etat, named Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook.

    It helps reflect what has been the larger hurdle in recent failed coups in Latin America, such as Peru's self-coup, Bolivia's 2019 failed attempt and Brazil's recent coup plottings, which seems to be the belief by sectors of the military that they can achieve the same level of success as the Operation Condor coups without significant international backing, civilian backing and organisation.

    What led to success in 1960 was strong backing by the CIA and the US in general, as well as the ability to capitalise on a moralist/anti-communist sentiment in the population, leading to public support (seen in demonstrations such as the despicably named March of the Family with God for Liberty). Although Bolsonaro attempted something similar, utilising fear propaganda tactics, the military had "firmer" ties to the democratic process (as established in post-1985 reforms), no significant international backing and little to gain from a coup. The public was disorganised, and January 8th attacks were quelled quickly enough, despite moderately successful attempts to coopt politicians and disrupt police action.

    This has all the markings of a shoddy, last-minute action with little support even from military personnel, if anything, this would almost seem like a distraction propped up by some more powerful political player, but there are no indications of that.

    8 votes
  4. lou
    (edited )
    Link
    Bolivia has a population of 12.2 million. I tend to think that smaller unstable nations are commonly targets of coups in large part because of their size and population. Taking over nations like...

    Bolivia has a population of 12.2 million. I tend to think that smaller unstable nations are commonly targets of coups in large part because of their size and population. Taking over nations like the US, Russia, or Brazil presents a more significant logistical challenge.

    3 votes
  5. cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Updated the Topic title since the article title was updated too, after the coup attempt failed. /offtopic

    Updated the Topic title since the article title was updated too, after the coup attempt failed.

    /offtopic

    5 votes