Monday, June 09, 2008


More than 7000 Bolivian workers, farmers and others demanded justice in front of the US Embassy in La Paz today. They are outraged over the US granting political asylum last week to former Defense Minister Carlos Sánchez Berzaín who has been accused of crimes against humanity relating to a massacre in October 2003. Berzain fled the country during the wave of government directed violence against protesters.

The protest at the embassy also demanded punishment for former Bolivian President Sánchez de Lozada for his involvement in the action.

Luis Ramos, an official of the Federation of Neighboring Boards, told Prensa Latina that protesters were upset with the decision of Washington to shelter criminals that supported the police massacre five years ago where 68 people died and more than 400 were injured.

Below is a partial list of those killed on the orders of Berzaín and the former Bolivian Presdient.

Constancio Quispe M. (43) Puente Rio Seco bullet impact (abdomen)
Felix Javier Quispe (23) Rio Seco bullet impact(abdomen)
Teodocia Morales M. (38) Rio Seco (ex – tranca) bullet impact(abdomen)
Carmelo Mamani P. (47) Senkata bullet impact(back)
Nicolas Morales C. (24) Av. Bolivia bullet impact(chest)
Luis F. Quelca (16) Av. Julian Apaza bullet impact(chest)
Juan Cosme A. (44) Warisata bullet impact (chest)
Marlene Nancy Rojas Ramos (7) Warisata bullet impact (chest)
Sergio Vargas C. (19) Warisata bullet impact (chest)
Efrain Mita Q. (22) Extranca Senkata bullet impact(face)
Narciso Colque M. (26) Rosaspampa bullet impact(face)
German Carvajal V. (36) bullet impact (head)
Marcelo H. Cusi V. (21) Apaña bullet impact (head)
Ramiro Vargas A. (22) Av. 6 de Marzo (El Alto) bullet impact (head)
Luis R. Cusi. Q. (22) Av. Julian Apaza bullet impact(head)
Victor Arcani Ticona (36) Ballivian (El Alto) bullet impact (head)
Roxana Apaza Cutipa (19) Final Los Andes bullet impact(head)
Alex Llusco M (5) Rosas Pampa bullet impact (head)
Juan C. Barrientos (32) San Julian (Santa Cruz) bullet impact (head)
Marcelo Chambi M. (NS) Rio Seco bullet impact(hip)
Arturo Mamani V. (48) Apaña bullet impact (leg)
Maximo Vallejos M. (21) Puente Rio Seco bullet impact(leg)
Damian Luna P. (30) Villa Ingenio bullet impact( neck )
Roberto Huanca P. (34) Villa Ingenio bullet impact(neck)
Filomena Leon M. (36) Patacamaya bullet impact (spinal column)
Jaime V. Quispe Z. (30) Chasquipampa bullet impact(stomach)
Wilson H. Chuquimia D. (32) Puente Elizardo Perez bullet impact(stomach)
Lucio S. Gandarillas A. (33) Senkata bullet impact(stomach)
David Salinas M. (29) Senkata (El Alto) bullet impact(stomach)
Marcelino Cuti M. (NS) Ventilla bullet impact(stomach)
Diego Mamani M. (32) Apaña bullet impact(thorax)
Francisco Ajllahuanca (43) Av. Julian Apaza bullet impact(thorax)
Manuel Yanarico J. (35) Ballivian bullet impact(thorax)
Marcelino Carvajal L. (59) Final Los Andes bullet impact(thorax)
Jose Miguel Perez C. (40) Plaza Ballivian bullet impact(thorax)
Feliz Bautista Paco (26) Puente Elizardo Perez bullet impact(thorax)
Jose Macias Quispe (30) Puente Elizardo Perez bullet impact (thorax)
Richard Charca C. (23) Puente Elizardo Perez bullet impact(thorax)
Damian Larico M. (22) Puente Rio Seco bullet impact(thorax)
Juan Ticona M. (68) Puente Rio Seco bullet impact(thorax)
Enrique H. Marin L. (40) Rio Seco bullet impact(thorax)
Jhonny Suñavi Q. (28) Rio Seco (ex – tranca) bullet impact(thorax)
Demetro Coraca C. (62) Sorata- Ilabaya bullet impact(thorax)
Simael Marcos Quispe (22) Warisata bullet impact (thorax)
Vidal Pinto Blanco (21) Zona Panoramica bullet impact(thorax)
Rosendo Riolobos A. (43) San Francisco (La Paz) bullet impact (heart)
Eduardo Hino P. (35) Senkata bullet impacts (heart)
Augusto Hilari P. (50) Puente Rio Seco bullet impact(body)
Jacinto bernabe R. (61) Apaña bullet impacts (legs)
Benita Ticona (38) gas station Rio Seco burned in gas station explosion
Braulio Callisaya D. (38) gas station Rio Seco burned in gas station explosion
Florentino Poma M. (34) gas station Rio Seco burned in gas station explosion
Jose L. Atahuichi (41) Ventilla grenade explosion
Walter Huanca C. (25) Ballivian (El Alto) impact by tear gas
Serapio Arnada C (40) Ceja (El Alto) impact by tear gas
Edmundo Charcas C. (41) Final Los Andes suffocation by tear gas
Wiler Ortiz Cordova (35) Munaypata bonebreak by militar car
Edgar Lecoña A. (20) Apaña

In the US, the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, along with other human rights lawyers, has filed two lawsuits charging former Bolivian President Gonzalo Daniel Sánchez de Lozada Sánchez Bustamante and former Bolivian Minister of Defense Jose Carlos Sánchez Berzaín for their roles in the killing of civilians during popular protests against the Bolivian government in September and October 2003. The case will be heard in Miami.

The suits, which seek compensatory and punitive damages under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) charge Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín with extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity for their roles in the massacre of unarmed civilians, including children. In particular it charges the two with ordering Bolivian security forces to use deadly force, including the use of high-powered rifles and machine guns, to suppress popular civilian protests against government policies.

Legal experts say the case, filed by a group of 10 victims' family members, marks the most notable civil suit against a foreign former head of state residing in the United States since legal action was brought against former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980s

Each of the ten plaintiffs, who are Aymara natives of Bolivia, are survivors of individuals who were killed by forces under Sánchez de Lozada’s and Sánchez Berzaín’s command. The ten plaintiffs include among them: Eloy Rojas Mamani and Etelvina Ramos Mamani, whose 8-year-old daughter was killed in her mother’s bedroom when a single shot was fired through the window; Teofilo Baltazar Cerro, whose pregnant wife was killed after a bullet was fired through the wall of a house, killing her and her unborn child; Felicidad Rosa Huanca Quispe, whose 69-year-old father was shot and killed along a roadside; and Gonzalo Mamani Aguilar, whose father was shot and killed.

“We would prefer to see Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín sent back to Bolivia to stand trial, but if that does not happen, the U.S. courts are the best alternative. We hope that the judiciary in the United States will give a fair trial for the victims and defendants. We are asking for justice,” said Plaintiff Juan Patricio Quispe Mamani.

"Violators of human rights no longer have any refuge. They will be judged and held accountable. This is the case for Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín, who will answer to a court of law, either in the United States or Bolivia," said Harvard Law School Clinical Professor and Executive Director of the Human Rights Program James Cavallaro

The Bolivian Supreme Court has approved a formal extradition request for Sanchez de Lozada and two of his ministers to face trial in their home country on similar charges.

One of Sanchéz Berzain's US lawyers is Gregory B. Craig. Craig is a senior foreign policy advisor to presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama

The following article is from Reuters News Service.

Thousands of Bolivians protest at U.S. embassy

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Thousands of supporters of leftist president Evo Morales protested outside the U.S. Embassy in La Paz on Monday, demanding the United States send home for trial two right-wing Bolivian politicians.

The protest followed comments by former Defense Minister Carlos Sanchez Berzain, who told a local radio station last week that a U.S. court had granted him political asylum.

The protesters blame Sanchez Berzain and former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, who also lives in the United States, for the deaths of 60 people and wounding of hundreds more in an army clampdown on anti-government protests in 2003.

"We want Bolivia to be free, not a Yankee colony," shouted the irate protesters, most of whom were Bolivian Indians.

Hundreds of policemen in riot gear struggled to keep rock-throwing demonstrators away from the fortress-like embassy building and ended up firing tear gas to disperse them.

Morales, a leftist, often criticizes Sanchez de Lozada for his pro-business policies when in office and for being too close to the U.S. government.

Sanchez de Lozada stepped down as president during the political upheaval of 2003 and fled to the United States 13 months into his second term as president of the poor South American country.

"The government of George Bush has decided to give refuge to the butcher Sanchez Berzain, and also I suspect to the genocidal Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada ... we cannot tolerate (that)," protest leader Roberto de la Cruz told a local radio station.

The U.S. Embassy in La Paz has neither confirmed nor denied if Sanchez Berzain has been granted political asylum, saying that his immigration status is his private matter.

In September Bolivia's top court asked the government to start extradition proceedings against Sanchez de Lozada. But U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg was quoted as saying by Bolivian daily La Razon on Monday that Bolivia has not made a formal extradition request.

Like his ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Morales is a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy, which he often describes as "imperialistic."

(Writing by Eduardo Garcia; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Eric Walsh)

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