COHA: Bolivia’s Military: It’s a Difficult Life, but Certainly There Is No Sign of a Pending Military Coup

  • As Morales accuses DEA agents of spying, Bolivia approaches Russia and Venezuela for military aid
  • Admiral named interim governor of Pando amidst peasant massacre
  • Is Bolivia’s military being increasingly used for internal peacekeeping/enforcement?
  • The good news: no apparent interest by Bolivia’s military for another coup

Last September, Rear Admiral Landelino Bandeiras was sworn in as interim governor of the Bolivian province of Pando. His election came after its civilian governor was arrested by the military, and charged with orchestrating the murder of more than 18 Bolivian peasant supporters of President Morales, in the town of Porvenir. The designation of Admiral Bandeiras as Pando’s new ranking authority brings up issues surrounding the current role of Bolivia’s military vis-à-vis the country’s persistent internal security problems.

The protests and continuous tensions involving the autonomy issue have gained the attention of regional officials as well as the international media. Many local and national political figures have thrown themselves in the battle of whether Bolivia will remain one unified nation or break up into separate states. The recently created Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), called for an emergency meeting which resulted in all of South America rallying behind President Morales and the unity of Bolivia.

However, there is one factor in the ongoing confrontation, whose presence is not immediately apparent: the Bolivian military.

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