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Bolivia: foreign hands in coup plot

After the failed military attempt on 26 June and the intention of the traditional right and radical sectors of the left to position the narrative of a “self-coup”, a new threat emerged last week from Washington.


“We continue to monitor the situation in Bolivia. We understand and note the number of views that have emerged in recent days and welcome independent analysis of the events of 26 June,” State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told a press conference.

The government representative who speaks of the 23 million tonnes of Bolivian lithium (the world’s largest certified reserve) with the verb “we have”, argued that what is clear from what has happened is that “democracy remains fragile’ in some parts of Latin America. Patel added that the US, in line with the self-interested Charter of the Organisation of American States, plans to “continue to work to protect democratic institutions”.

Like the sword of Damocles, the presence of the United States in coup plans against the government of President Luis Arce is now a reality after confessions by a Bolivian general who has been arrested and interrogated.

The idea of such a threat was repositioned after the failed military coup of 26 June in Bolivia, according to revelations by former Air Force chief Marcelo Zegarra.

Luis Arce Catacora. Photo: Casa De America /Flickr.  Creative Commons License.

According to the DTV channel, the general declared that the leader of the coup, former army chief Juan José Zúñiga, informed him that the operation had the full support of the US, Libyan and European Union (EU) embassies.

“What I want to expand on in my statement is the meeting to which I was summoned by General Zúñiga (…) at 12.00 (Bolivian time) he called me and told me to go to his office in the General Staff (…), described Zegarra.

He indicated in his statement that Zúñiga, the former head of the navy, Vice Admiral Juan Arnez, and he sat down afterwards, and the three of them talked in low tones, when Zúñiga asked them to accompany him to have a conversation with the president, Luis Arce. According to the interrogator, Zúñiga said that “enough of the humiliation of the Armed Forces”, that it is time to take power, that everything is already planned.

Zegarra said that Zúñiga pointed to a blackboard on his left hand side and said “that there is already all the support of the American Embassy, the Libyan Embassy, the European Community, the Bolivian Police, the military, retirees (…)”.

According to Zegarra, the main leader of the attempt said that all these factors would support “once we consolidate the seizure of power (…)”.

According to the Bolivian Information Agency (ABI) that highlighted the review entitled The United States and its involvement in coups d’état in Bolivia (based on data from the University of Illinois Cline Center for Advanced Social Research’s Coup d’état Project), since 1946 there have been 39 such actions, 17 successful, 17 unsuccessful including the most recent one, and four foiled conspiracies.

In this context, the Bolivian Foreign Ministry warned US Chargé d’Affaires Debra Hevia on 24 June of statements and actions made by US embassy personnel that are considered to be interference in internal affairs. “The Plurinational State of Bolivia promotes a foreign policy based on the principles of equality, non-interference and respect for sovereignty, within the framework of the norms of international law that regulate diplomatic relations,” the statement said.

(Translated by Cristina Popa – Email: Pixabay

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