Bolivian President Luis Arce
Miners' Protest In Bolivia Becomes Deadly Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

As protests in Bolivia continue due to demands of a census to be done in 2023, President Luis Arce removed officials in the country’s military on Tuesday as he put five new officials together to replace the military high command.

During the ceremony, Arce pointed out that the responsibility of the military is to uphold democracy and the elected government, and that the reshuffle was due to the fact that there was an attempted coup d’etat in the country, according to Nation World News.

“It is their duty to protect peace and order with strict adherence to the Constitution. Today Bolivia is once again threatened by those who are unable to contribute to democracy, committed to confrontation and violence,” Arce said. “This is called an attack on national integrity. The task of the armed forces is to protect the independence and unity of our territory,”

The new appointees in the government are Hugo Arandia López as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Gonzalo Vigabriel Sanchez as the Chief of the General Staff, Marcelo Zegarra Gutierrez as Chief of the Air Force, Juan Arnez Salvador as the Chief of the Navy, and Juan José Ziga for the Army. All of them promised to uphold the integrity of the state and “act in accordance with constitutional duties.”

Many Bolivians are currently protesting for an earlier census in 2023 instead of 2024, with the Department of Santa Cruz pushing for the earlier census because it believed it would result in an increase in budget allocations and representation quotas across the country, TASS reported.

Many of the proponents of moving the census are conservative and far-right politicians, some of whom have been promoting the idea of a regional strike as a way of getting what they want. Presidential spokesman Jorge Richter said that the government is currently in the middle of talks to potentially find a middle ground on the demands, TeleSur reported.

A military coup has happened in the recent past, with incumbent Bolivian President Evo Morales being removed from his position in 2019 due to protests about him potentially seeking elections. Arce was elected in 2020 in the aftermath of the coup.

Bolivia Military Shuffle Rep. Pic
This is a representational image. Milos Hajder/Unsplash.

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