The new Bolivian President, General David Padilla Arancibia, who seized power in bloodless coup on Friday (24 November), has appointed a new Commander-In-Chief of the country's armed forces.
The new Bolivian President, General David Padilla Arancibia, who seized power in bloodless coup on Friday (24 November), has appointed a new Commander-In-Chief of the country's armed forces. He is General Victor Castillo Suarez. The new Air Force Commander is General Gaston Lupe. The deposed President, General Juan Pareda Asbun, who is now under house arrest, has claimed, in a press statement, to have stood down from the Presidency to avoid what he called a sterile conflict" in the armed forces.
SYNOPSIS: In the Bolivian capital, La Paz, security surrounding General Padilla and the ruling junta is tight. Heavily armed guards shield the junta as they move in public outside protected buildings. There has, however, been little reported public opposition to the new junta. Bolivia's civilian opposition coalition, the Popular Democratic Unity (UDP), have welcomed the overthrow of General Pareda. And the new government has promised that a democratic election will be held on the first July next year.
General Padilla addressed the assembled officers at the Swearing in Ceremony. He and the young officers now in power are reported to have been pushing for a return to democracy in Bolivia since the early 1970's. Their first attempt tin 1974 to overthrow the government was crushed by troops loyal to the then President, Hugo Banzer.
Political observers say continuing military support is vital if General Padilla's junta is to survive long enough for democratic elections to be held. The military dominates his cabinet, with thirteen ministers. Only two civilians were appointed to the cabinet.
Three days after the coup, General Castillo, on the left was sworn in as Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces.
And General Gaston Lupe was appointed Air Force Commander.
For General Lupe, it is something of a comeback. He was last in government in 1971 as the Minister for Information of the left-wing government led by Juan Jose Torres.
That was another government thrown out by a coup. In the crowded streets of La Paz, life goes on: another coup, another leader. Bolivians have endured two hundred coups in the one hundred and fifty eight years since independence. Their new President has promised them democracy by next August and so they wait.