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Torture in Bolivia

The Permanent Assembly for Human Rights in Bolivia (APDHB) presented a report on August 3, 2000, documenting the occurrence of state terrorism during the period of martial law in April of this year.

In the barracks at Viacha alone, 55 campesinos were subjected to physical and psychological abuses. Those abducted by the military groups were deprived of food and clothing and kept in manacles for many days. They were also subjected to electric shocks or submerged, head down, in filthy toilet water. Their families were threatened with violence. The people who were being held had shots fired near their ears. They were insulted and forced to confess to crimes and implicate their leaders. They were forced to sign affidavits declaring that they had received good treatment.

During the period of martial law children were also the target of violent acts. Two minors were killed. Two received gun shot wounds. Nine were tortured and 15 detained. Among them was Eddy Lobo, age 12, whose right arm has been disabled as the result of a bullet wound. The shot came from the rifle of one of the many snipers the government placed in fields and cities to put an end to the popular protests.

During the month of April the government of president Banzer, former genocidal dictator of the 1970s, declared a state of siege, to quell the popular protests in several cities and rural areas which had erupted against the government's privatization of public services [water services in particular]. This policy has made Bolivia the poorest and most corrupt country in South America.

Correcaminos, is the name the murderers have given their campaign to suppress the rebellion throughout the country. As part of this campaign they have arrested 44 unionists, murdered 5 demonstrators, and shot and wounded more than 35 people. They have instituted military terror throughout the country; police have occupied the University of Sucre, and there have been an endless succession of military actions, all for the purpose of smashing the working-class resistance to the corrupt narco-fascistic administration of the murderous General Banzer. Now he has taken off his democratic disguise and shown his bloody claws, just like his "leftist" social-democratic accomplices, and his bosses at the U.S. Embassy and the representatives from the IMF, who are really governing this country.

Despite the arrests and the martial law, the popular mobilizations have continued. Amid the hunger strikes and protests the government strew the cities and highways with corpses, first dictating media coverage and then silencing the media for 3 days.

The tranquility that the bourgeois state desires is far away. Not a week passes in Bolivia without a major strike or highway blockage.

The mass murderer Banzer assumed the presidency in 1997 through fraudulent elections, in which he wore the false mask of an innocent and democratic little grandfather. But, he has never stopped using manipulation, aggression and intimidation against anyone who resists his sleaze and abuses.

Juventudes Libertarias (Libertarian Youth), Bolivia August 6, 2000 Contact: juventudes_libertarias@latinmail.com


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