Latin America Advisor

Latin America Advisor

A Publication of The Dialogue

Has An Apparent Coup Attempt Weakened Bolivia?

A Bolivian general is accused of leading a coup attempt against the country’s government on June 26. Authorities are pictured clashing with demonstrators outside the presidential palace during the incident. // Photo: Agencia Boliviana de Información.

Bolivian Army General Juan José Zúñiga is accused of leading a coup attempt against the government of President Luis Arce on June 26. In the episode, a small tank rammed the gates of the presidential palace, a contingent of troops rushed in and a shouting match ensued between Zúñiga and Arce before Zúñiga finally exited the palace and sped away in a bulletproof military vehicle. Zúñiga is now in jail and accuses Arce of staging a sham coup in an effort to bolster his own popularity, which the president denies. What effects does the incident have on Arce’s government? How firm is the government’s control of the military? What will be the impact of the event in the run-up to next year’s presidential election?

V. Ximena Velasco-Guachalla, lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of Essex: “Whether it was an actual coup attempt or an orchestrated one, the outcome was a weakened administration and a more uncertain future for the country. Deeply worrying is the fact that there are two versions of the events as it adds political uncertainty to an already fragile economic and political environment. Divisions in the MAS are profound, and the recent events have only exacerbated them. If these divisions are not resolved before election time (which is unlikely), the MAS will enter the race divided. It risks not only losing the election, but also a permanent fractionalization of the MAS as a political party, which will have an impact on its electoral performance in the long term. Even now, conflict inside the MAS has escalated to the point that crucial concerns for the country’s present and future cannot be addressed, including…”

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The Inter-American Dialogue publishes the Latin America Advisor every business day for a distinguished membership of informed corporate leaders, scholars, and government officials invested in Latin America’s development and future. The Advisor‘s highly regarded Q&A section covers questions submitted by subscribers themselves. Commentators regularly include heads of state, business leaders, diplomats, economists, analysts, and thought leaders from around the world. Many of the world’s largest and fastest-growing companies subscribe to the Advisor. To subscribe, click here. For terms and conditions, click here. For more information, contact Gene Kuleta, editor of the Advisor, at

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