Latin America News

Bolivia: We condemn the failed coup attempt

Declaration of the International Socialist League

On Monday, June 24, the general commander of the Bolivian Armed Forces, Juan José Zúñiga, in a public interview, threatened to arrest former president Evo Morales, whose candidacy for the 2025 elections he rejects. The following day there were rumors about the dismissal of the head of the Army, and indeed it did happen. But on Wednesday 26, Zúñiga reappeared publicly in an event as commander and demanded “a change of cabinet”, while the high command ordered the self-quartering and military provisioning.

Around 3 pm on the 26th, military movements began in the Plaza Murillo in La Paz, the Bolivian capital. Zúñiga entered the central square in a tankette followed by several vehicles of the Challapata Regiment with snipers and announced that he would occupy the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Shortly after, the Palacio Quemado, the seat of the national government, was occupied. The Plurinational Assembly was also besieged.

Both the current president Luis Arce and Morales, called on the population to resist the coup attempt. The latter, for example, tweeted: “We call for a national mobilization to defend democracy against the coup d’état that is being carried out under the leadership of General Zuñiga. We declare an indefinite general strike and road blockades. We will not allow the Armed Forces to violate democracy and terrorize the people”. Meanwhile, and after some beating around the bush, the leadership of the COB (Bolivian Workers Central) called for a general strike for an indefinite period of time and called for a mobilization in La Paz. Other social, women’s and peasant movements also did so.

Faced with the strong popular unrest with the previous Morales government, in November 2019 Zúñiga carried out an operation with the support of imperialism. Evo resigned without resistance and then the right-wing Jeanine Áñez seized power. But, due to the economic crisis and the austerity measures applied against the people, in the presidential elections of October 2020, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) won again, with more than 80% of participation and achieving 55% of the votes. The internal rift between Morales and Arce, the latter more to the right, reappears in the face of the upcoming elections.

This coup attempt in Bolivia is part of the complex international situation of growing polarization, in which imperialism and its complicit bourgeoisies seek authoritarian forms of government to be able to impose their harsh plans of austerity and plundering.

Zúñiga’s coup project did not have the support of the majority of the Armed Forces and the police. And the rancid Bolivian right wing, including the Pro Santa Cruz Committee and Áñez, Camacho and several former presidents, distanced itself from the adventure. The Catholic Church, through the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, also condemned this attempt. Everything seems to indicate that the coup provocation failed.

From the International Socialist League (ISL) we utterly condemn this attempt of a reactionary coup and we support the call for the broadest popular mobilization to bury it once and for all, with the imprisonment and punishment of these army officials and their possible supporters.

At the same time, we work to build a revolutionary political alternative that overcomes the failed experience with the false progressivism of the MAS and fights for the fundamental anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist changes that the working class and the people of Bolivia need.

June 26, 2024