Created: 5/8/1981

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The general continues

default than design, since the myriad of military coup plotter- has so far been unable to unite behind a- single officer or secure support from key troop commanders.



General Garcia Hezain office more bythan design. Tbe myriad of coup plotters in the military has eo far been unable either to uniteafficer or to secure the support of the key regimental commanders in La Pas. Garcia Heza'a however, ia tenuous and any shift in the present set of loyalties is likely to force him from power.

Currently, severalwithin the military are jockeying for poeition. recently, the mostwas led by General Natusch--who headed an abortive coup lnleague with former President Banzer. Late last month, however, the government briefly detained Natuach and placed Banzer under virtual houae arreat, thereby disrupting their timetable. In the interim, other factions began making serious preparationsoup, with eachin tbe attempt to garner critical military support.

The unflagging ambitions of Bolivia's inveterate military plotters has worked to Garcia Meza's advantage. All want to occupy the presidential palace and refuse to settle for anything leas, but none has enough strength touccesaful challenge alone.

In large part, the esaential element is the activeat least passive acquiescence--of key regimental commanders in La Paz. These units at present remain tenuously in Garcia Hexa's camp, largely because he haa bought their loyalty. The regimental commanders are


not personally loyal to Garcia Mora, however, and would quickly switch sides if they decide that one of the plotters has gained widespread support or that Garcia Meza'a largesse is dwindling.

Some among the regimental commanders also harbor presidential ambitions. Host notable is Colonel Doria Medina, head of the most powerful unit in the count and chief of the new antinarcotics task force.

whose willingness to tackle the drug pr:many Bolivian military leaders believe makes him more acceptable to the Unitedtranslate into backing for his presidential aspirations.

At present, Garcia Heza's best hope to improve his chances for longer tenure would be toormal!-sation of relations with the united States. Themilitary attaches immense significance to close ties with the United states and, in fact, all thespecifically claim that they are moving against Garcia Heza primarily because he cannot secure US approval. Garcia Meza must, therefore, achieve this goal before the patience of his supporters runs out or his enemiesan increasingly near thing.



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