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Photo via Voice of America Journal.


Costa Rica condemns coup attempt in Bolivia



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Published on Thursday, June 27, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff and wire services





Costa Rica condemned the attempted coup, as well as any attempt to undermine the lawful government of Bolivia.



On Wednesday, Bolivia's military attempted to invade the presidential palace in La Paz, allegedly led by former army chief General Juan Jose Zuniga and other soldiers.



"We firmly condemn all activities that seek to undermine public order, peace, the rule of law, and the stability of President Arce's democratically elected government," according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.



Costa Rica expresses its support and solidarity with President Luis Arce, the Bolivian Government and the people, the authorities added.



According to a report published by Voice of America Journal, the day after a foiled apparent coup attempt, a group of Bolivians gathered Thursday in the streets of the nation’s capital, La Paz, to show support for democracy and embattled President Luis Arce.



Carrying signs of condemnation, the crowd chanted outside Bolivian Special Forces headquarters, where the suspected leader of the failed coup attempt, General Zuniga, and other military officers were being held.



Security personnel also guarded the facility and damaged gates of the governmental palace in La Paz, where the night before, armored vehicles rammed the doors and witnesses said soldiers entered the building.



Zuniga, who had been stripped of his command, and his military units had gathered in Plaza Murillo, the square outside the palace, during the day Wednesday. Speaking to reporters, Zuniga cited growing popular discontent in the nation and said he was seeking to restore democracy.



Inside the palace, the president swore in Jose Wilson Sanchez as Zuniga’s replacement as military commander.



Video from inside the palace showed a moment during the events when Arce confronted Zuniga and told him if he respected military command, he would pull back his forces.




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After several hours, the soldiers in a line of military vehicles left as hundreds of Arce's supporters rushed to the square waving Bolivian flags and police took control of the area.



Bolivian Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo said Zuniga was later arrested, along with the former head of the Bolivian navy, Juan Arnez Salvador.



From the balcony of the palace, Arce addressed his supporters, who by then had filled the streets. "Thank you to the Bolivian people," he said. "Let democracy live on."



The streets of the capital were reportedly calm on Thursday.

Tensions in the Andean nation of 12 million have been high for months, with an economic downturn prompting street protests. In next year’s elections, former leftist President Evo Morales is planning to run against former ally Arce, creating a major rift in the ruling socialist party.



At one point Wednesday, Zuniga said, without providing evidence, that Arce had asked him to "raise something up" to boost the president’s popularity.



The Associated Press reported the comments fueled a frenzy of speculation about what really happened, and opposition senators and government critics echoed the accusations, calling the mutiny a “self-coup" — a claim strongly denied by Arce's government.



Through his spokesman, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep concern about the situation.



Leaders across Latin America condemned the apparent coup attempt and called for democracy to be respected.



Voice of America Journal is the state-owned news network and international radio broadcaster of the United States of America.



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Is the Bolivian government facing a social-political crisis? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com


 






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