Army officers at the largest garrison in Bolivia today announced an uprising against President Alfredo Ovando Candia.
Army officers at the largest garrison in Bolivia today announced an uprising against President Alfredo Ovando Candia. But loyal troops outside the capital, La Paz, immediately threatened to march in and crush the rebels.
The president was away in the mining city of Santa Cruz, 340 miles (540kms) from his capital when the one hundred officers in the La Paz garrison made their announcement over the official Army radio, that they intended to depose hi. They claimed support from garrison commanders elsewhere in the interior. On hearing the news President Ovando Candia immediately flew back to La Paz for a showdown with the rebels.
Minutes later Defence Minister, General David Lafuente announced over another radio in the loyalty of the crack 600-man Presidential guard. Statements also came from loyal divisions in the provincial city of Cochabanba, 130 miles (200kms) from La Paz, that they would put down the revolt if the rebels did not immediately give up their plans to depose the President.
La Paz was quiet tonight (sunday) with no large scale troop movements and there have ben no reports of activity from provincial cities.
President Ovando Candia, 54, seized powered himself in a bloodless coup almost exactly a year ago-- on September 27, 1969.
His government adopted a moderate left-wing and nationalist position and its first act was to nationalise the U.S. - owned Bolivian Gulf Oil Company. the President has since resisted union pressure to expropriate other foreign interests, and recently has appeared to move to the right under pressure from leaders of the armed forces.
The main left-wingers in his cabinet -- Fuel and Power Minister, Marcelo Santa Crus and Information Minister, Alberto Bailey Gutierrez-- left the government earlier this year.
In their broadcast today, the rebel officers said they had decided to depose the President "because of his demagogic position and political indecision." They said they would set up a provisional government and return the country to constitutional rule.