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Journalist Alex Contreras Detained In Bolivia

Journalist Alex Contreras Detained Illegally by Bolivian Authorities

October 15, 2003
Please Distribute Widely

Dear Colleague,

Narco News correspondent Alex Contreras Baspineiro was forcibly detained today at the Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, upon his return from covering the Indigenous-Campesino Summit in Caracas, Venezuela.

The agents were waiting for him when he arrived. Upon questioning by Contreras, they refused to identify themselves, but claimed to be anti-narcotics police. They then filmed, page by page, Contreras' documents and work materials. When Contreras tried to photograph the agents an half hour into his detention they tried to seize his camera. An altercation ensued. The agents then called their superior who then ordered Alex's release. The Narco News Andean Bureau has taken swift action to increase protection for Contreras and our other correspondents on the ground as the popular uprising against Bolivian president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada continues to grow and now paralyzes the country.

For more details, and documentation of the Bolivian government's systematic campaign of repression against the press this week, see:

For frequent updates on the fast-breaking developments out of Bolivia, see:

The Narco News Bulletin warns the United States Embassy and Ambassador David Greenlee that the U.S. government, as an institution, and Greenlee, as an individual, will be held institutionally and personally responsible for any further attacks on our journalists who are reporting on the events in Bolivia. As Pulso magazine has demonstrated, US military operatives are now commanding Bolivian military and police forces in a last-ditch effort to salvage the unpopular and disgraced regime of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. Therefore, the attack and illegal forced holding of journalist Alex Contreras Baspineiro today upon his return to his native Bolivia from reporting in Venezuela, could not have occurred, in our judgment, without the aid, consent, and intelligence operations of the Embassy.

Be advised, Ambassador, that any harm or further repression against Contreras, against Narco News Andean Bureau chief Luis Gómez, against correspondent Andrea Alípaz Arenas (the latter two have also been reporting for the Mexican daily La Jornada this week), or any other sources or correspondents, will be considered and dealt with as a direct attack on all of us and will be dealt with accordingly for as long as it takes for justice to be done.

- From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano
The Narco News Bulletin

© Scoop Media

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