Written by 04:17 World

President Luis Arce of Bolivia Confronts a Coup Attempt, and Evo Morales

At first, they heard the sirens. Then, peering out over the country’s main political plaza on Wednesday, Bolivia’s top ministers saw the armored vehicles and troops spilling out their doors. A shiver ran down the interior minister’s spine, she later said.

Within moments, the president, Luis Arce, addressed his inner circle — “We are facing a coup!” — before heading to the presidential palace to confront, face to face, the general trying to remove him from power.

The coup attempt failed, lasting a mere three hours, and ended in the arrest of the general, whose motivation for the attack appeared to be, at least in part, anger over his firing by Mr. Arce the day before.

But it was hardly the end of Mr. Arce’s problem, or the challenges facing Bolivia.

Mr. Arce, 60, a former finance minister, took office in 2020 during a democratic election that seemed to symbolize a new, more hopeful chapter in a country coming off a period of intense political tumult.

Now, beyond a dispute with the former general, Mr. Arce is facing a struggling economy, growing protests, criticism over the jailing of political opponents and division within his own party.


Last modified: 28 June 2024