The ‘Self-Coup Hypothesis’ in Bolivia Does Not Hold Up: Moldiz

Coup Attempt in La Paz, Bolivia, June 26, 2024. Photo: X/ @PresidenciaCuba

June 27, 2024 Hour: 2:48 pm

‘Yesterday we experienced an episode of a chapter that has not yet concluded,’ the former Interior Minister pointed out.

In an interview with teleSUR journalist Marcela Heredia on Thursday, Bolivian economist Hugo Moldiz analyzed the failed coup d’état in his country. Below are the main aspects addressed by the former Bolivian Interior Minister.


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In what sense could it be said that the defense of democracy in Bolivia was successful?

HUGO MOLDIZ: Various factors converged to prevent the Bolivian democracy and legally constituted government from suffering a coup by some military personnel. Firstly, President Luis Arce’s attitude was crucial. He did not leave; instead, he stayed to confront the coup-plotting general and ordered him to stand down. Although the general refused his request, Arce did not back down and remained firm in facing the situation.

Secondly, the rapid response of thousands of people who mobilized towards the government headquarters, the Big House. In Murillo Square, there were some confrontations between civilians and military, fortunately without any casualties on either side. However, there were no significant clashes.

Thirdly, the quick reaction of the international community, which included progressive governments, the Organization of American States (OAS), and even some right-wing presidents.

Fourthly, General Zuñiga’s inability to get other units and regiments to join the attempt. At 12:30, he ordered the troops to barracks, and they complied without knowing the reason. However, when Gen. Zuñiga took Murillo Square, the 8th Division stationed in Santa Cruz and the 7th Division stationed in Cochabamba decided not to join the coup adventure.

The same happened with the soldiers in Challapata, where there are heavy assault vehicles. Practically, Zuñiga was left alone. Additionally, even some opposition sectors rejected the coup, although this later changed.

What was the treatment of the mass media regarding the coup attempt? Did this treatment contribute to the Bolivian people coming out to defend their democracy?

HUGO MOLDIZ: Many media outlets maintained an apparent neutrality. Nevertheless, this operated as a mechanism in favor of President Luis Arce. However, there is still much to analyze and find out if this apparent neutrality was real or not. Initially, the government was somewhat imprecise in indicating that there was an “unusual movement of troops.” A few minutes later, the government quickly corrected itself and denounced the existence of a coup attempt.

There are a set of facts that debunk the hypothesis of a self-coup. And this deserves to be remembered especially in Venezuela because when the coup against President Hugo Chavez failed, when the attempt to overthrow the Bolivarian revolution failed, opposition sectors tried to install narratives claiming it was a self-coup.

Despite the spatial and temporal distances, we are in a similar scenario. The project to shorten President Arce’s mandate has not concluded. The ways to achieve it will be different. Yesterday we saw one of them, but that does not mean that other ways to achieve an early general election will not appear.

People in Murillo Square were shouting, “Lucho is not alone, damn it!” This expression is very important because, ultimately, the Bolivian people took charge of safeguarding the institutionality.

HUGO MOLDIZ: Yes, the people’s quick reaction was fundamental. I would say that even citizens who did not vote for Arce, although they were not in Murillo Square, showed signs of being against a coup due to its potential consequences. In 2019, the people already suffered the coup against President Evo Morales, which the elites disguised using the mechanism of resignation.

Yesterday, there was also a coup attempt against Luis Arce, which some supporters of the former president are unfortunately questioning. They are not making an objective reading because much remains to be investigated. I do not believe that General Zuñiga attempted a coup just because he was told he would be relieved of his post 24 hours before.

No, a coup is not organized overnight. The fortunately aborted coup attempt began to take shape about 48 hours earlier when Zuñiga threatened Bolivian democracy, saying he would arrest former President Morales, which the armed forces cannot do unless under exceptional regimes.

Vice President David Choquehuanca said, “Democracy has prevailed in Bolivia, but we must remain vigilant for the good of our country and future generations. We request that ordinary and military justice judge General Zuñiga and all responsible with the full rigor of the law to prevent any future coup attempts. We thank the entire population, social organizations, mayors, and the international community for defending the democracy that cost us so much to recover.” What can you tell us about his statements?

HUGO MOLDIZ: We must see the whole board and not just what happened yesterday. President Arce is facing a blockade from the legislative function and an incipient articulation of social forces that are closing in on him so that he has no other alternative but to call early elections.

Unfortunately, among those forces are some sectors related to farmers, heavy transporters, and businessmen. I fully agree with what the Vice President said. Yesterday we experienced an episode of a chapter that has not yet concluded.

Disrupting the danger that still threatens Bolivian democracy depends on how the Arce government reacts, what adjustments it quickly makes in its management, and how it consolidates broad political relations within the popular field.

Autor: teleSUR/ JF

Fuente: teleSUR

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