General Juan Pereda Asbun, president of the tin-rich landlocked South American state of Bolivia, has been overthrown in a military coup, four months after he himself seized power in another military coup.
General Juan Pereda Asbun, president of the tin-rich landlocked South American state of Bolivia, has been overthrown in a military coup, four months after he himself seized power in another military coup. The coup which ousted General Pereda took place on Friday (24 November) and there were no reports of any violence.
SYNOPSIS: July the 24th this year. Three days after tasking power came the swearing-in of General Pereda's 15-man cabinet, made up of military officers and right-wing supporters.
President Pereda, an air force general, had, at the age of 46, brought to an end one of the longest presidencies in Bolivia's history - that of General Hugo Banzer, who seized power seven years earlier. The coup which saw General Pereda take control came less than two weeks after the results of Bolivia's first elections in 12 years had made him victor. After widespread allegations of fraud, the results of the poll were officially annulled.
There had been over 50 different groups contesting the elections, a number swelled when General Banzer was forced by politically motivated hunger strikes to call a total amnesty for political detainees and exiles. General Pereda was the armed forces candidate. His only previous political experience had been two years service as Interior Minister. During the election campaign he was virtually the only candidate to get television time and his posters monopolised the hoardings.
His opponents claimed that the government has spent vast sums of money on the campaign to get him elected.
Even before polling took place, left-wing opposition parties claimed there was fraud. The allegations were later given weight by international observers who witnessed the elections. They produced evidence of stolen ballot boxes and of others containing false votes for General Pereda.
On polling day General Pereda was said to have been confident of victory, but early returns surprised some by returns surprised some by showing solid support for a left-wing coalition. The short-lived election victory went to General Pereda when he gained more than 50 percent of the votes.
Now, with General Pereda himself the victim of a coup, there has already been an announcement from the armed forces who led the revolt that there is going to be a general election and a return to democratic rule within a year. In the meantime Bolivia will be run by a military junta.