Home Uncategorized Bolivia President Luis Arce Faces Coup Attempt Amid Political Tensions

Bolivia President Luis Arce Faces Coup Attempt Amid Political Tensions

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Bolivia President Luis Arce Faces Coup Attempt Amid Political Tensions

Luis Arce, 60, won election in 2020 after a period of deep political turmoil.

Bolivian President Luis Arce, a mild-mannered and bespectacled former economy minister, faced down a coup attempt on Wednesday, as the armed forces withdrew after occupying the central square in La Paz and entering the presidential palace.

Arce, 60, won election in 2020 after a period of deep political turmoil. A ballot the year before was marred by allegations of fraud, which sparked widespread protests and the eventual resignation of then-President Evo Morales.

Former allies and colleagues, Arce and Morales have since become political rivals. Both are eyeing a presidential run in an election next year, and each leads a faction of the dominant Movement to Socialism (MAS) political party.

A court ruling against Morales’ running again fueled protests this year that blocked the country’s main highway and hurt the economy. Shortages of dollars and fuel have also caused damage as the landlocked country’s gas output and exports fell.

Arce, a former economist known for keeping a low personal profile, was at one time Morales’ protégé and crafted the economic plan for Morales’ successful 2005 presidential run.

Morales then appointed Arce as economy minister in 2006, and he steered the Andean country’s economy for well over a decade. Supporters said he was the architect of Bolivia’s growth “miracle” in the 2000s that lifted many in one of South America’s poorest nations out of poverty. Commodities including gas, metals, and soybeans boomed.

He also angered investors by pushing for the nationalization of sectors including oil and gas.

Towards the end of Morales’ nearly 14-year rule, growth slowed and opposition grew to his seeking an unprecedented fourth term.

The voided 2019 election marked a political crisis. It was followed by Morales’ resignation, bloody violence, and the year-long interim presidency of Jeanine Anez, a right-wing congresswoman who assumed power after Morales left the country.

Arce’s election in 2020 appeared to bring political stability. Morales returned from nearly a year in exile when Arce won the presidency.

As president, Arce has struggled to manage a U.S. dollar shortage that has strained the economy and led credit-ratings agencies to downgrade Bolivia’s debt to “junk” status.

The general behind Wednesday’s coup effort, Juan Jose Zuniga, said the government was “impoverishing” the country.

Arce’s government has signed agreements with Russian and Chinese firms to develop Bolivia’s huge untapped reserves of lithium, a metal used in batteries for electric vehicles, cell phones, and laptops. However, lawmakers in the divided legislature have yet to approve any contracts.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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