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Sat Oct 17, 2020, 10:00 PM

Defend Democracy in Bolivia

By Friends of Bolivia

MPs and Lords from the Labour Party, SNP and Sinn Féin, as well as nine trade union leaders and solidarity activists across the UK, sign a letter in support of Bolivian democracy ahead of this weekend's election.

In Bolivia last November, the elected President, Evo Morales, was removed in a military-led coup. Since then, the unelected government that seized power has governed outside the rule of law with a racist, anti-indigenous and extreme neoliberal economic agenda.

Trade unions, indigenous organisations, and left-wing political activists have faced widespread persecution, repression and violence.

Despite all of this, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) is ahead in the polls ahead of the presidential election due to be held on October 18th, after numerous delays.

There are fears that these elections will not be free or fair and that right-wing, anti-democratic forces will once again seek to deny Bolivians their wish to build a progressive and democratic country.


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Reply Defend Democracy in Bolivia (Original post)
Judi Lynn Oct 17 OP
rso Oct 17 #1
Judi Lynn Oct 18 #2
rso Oct 18 #3

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2020, 10:06 PM

1. Bolivia

Served in our diplomatic service at the US Embassy La Paz in the mid-1980s. One of the most corrupt and economically-inequitable countries I ever served in.

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Response to rso (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 18, 2020, 05:03 AM

2. Were you there when the vicious Nazi-loving Hugo Banzer was the president?

He had Nazi Gestapo monster Klaus Barbie working for him in his administration.

From the Guardian:

First person

In pursuit of Bolivia's secret Nazi

After the second world war many high-ranking Nazis fled to South America. Among them was the head of the Gestapo in the French city of Lyon, a man responsible for the deportation of Jews to the death camp at Auschwitz and the torture of members of the French Resistance. Hiding in Bolivia, Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, changed his name to Klaus Altmann and made himself helpful to drug lords and dictators alike. Bolivian journalist Gustavo Sanchez explains what happened when he tracked Barbie down in 1983

Wed 10 Sep 2008 04.00 EDT

For decades here in Bolivia we had an infamous tradition of ruthless dictators. In the early 70s General Hugo Banzer siezed power. He turned to the ex-Nazi Klaus Barbie to help him with the repression. It was not the first time that Barbie, a war criminal wanted by the French and German authorities, had mingled with hardliners. Here in Bolivia he used to do big business with the drug lords. He had his own team of assassins, some from Italy and others from Argentina, called the Grooms of Death. He also sold them weapons.

American intelligence officials helped Barbie to become established in Bolivia as part of their crusade against communism. He acted as a sort of counter-intelligence official. Under the alias of Klaus Altmann he worked primarily as an interrogator and torturer. He also helped in the same way in Peru. He did the same things here as in Germany and France. For him the word communist meant "dead". Many Bolivians died during that dictatorship; one that was prolonged for more than 10 years. Barbie was in charge of the murders of many Bolivian citizens, including priests and members of the opposition.

So some of us felt that we had to do something about it. But in 1980, after General Banzer, an even bloodier dictator, Luis García Meza, rose to power in what was called the narco, or cocaine, coup. Barbie was a key aide then. He was the main ideologue of that coup; he organised absolutely everything. He was even given the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Bolivian armed forces, and was then able to move around with total impunity. Today Bolivians know all about Barbie, but for a long time many even doubted that such a criminal could be here.


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This thumbnail review of Hugo Banzer was written before Banzer's second time as the Bolivian President, during the 1990's, so keep that in mind, since he committed vicious acts against the Bolivian people then, too:

President of Bolivia

In 1970, in Bolivia, when then-President Juan Jose Torres nationalized Gulf Oil properties and tin mines owned by US interests, and tried to establish friendly relations with Cuba and the Soviet Union, he was playing with fire. The coup to overthrow Torres, led by US-trained officer and Gulf Oil beneficiary Hugo Banzer, had direct support from Washington. When Banzer's forces had a breakdown in radio communications, US Air Force radio was placed at their disposal. Once in power, Banzer began a reign of terror. Schools were shut down as hotbeds of political subversive activity. Within two years, 2,000 people were arrested and tortured without trial. As in Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, the native Indians were ordered off their land and deprived of tribal identity. Tens-of-thousands of white South Africans were enticed to immigrate with promises of the land stolen from the Indians, with a goal of creating a white Bolivia. When Catholic clergy tried to aid the Indians, the regime, with CIA help, launched terrorist attacks against them, and this "Banzer Plan" became a model for similar anti-Catholic actions throughout Latin America.


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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #2)

Sun Oct 18, 2020, 08:56 AM

3. Banzer

No, Banzer was in the 70s. I was there during the second regime of Paz Estensoro, an oligarch who in relative terms, was considered one of the less harmful leaders.

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