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Cablegate: Garcia Linera's Radical Past Resurfaces

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL PHUM BL
SUBJECT: GARCIA LINERA'S RADICAL PAST RESURFACES

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SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera's membership in
the indigenous-based terrorist group the Tupak Katari
Guerilla Army (EGTK), the armed wing of the Tupak Katari
Revolutionary Liberation Movement (MRTKL), resurfaced
recently as press reports focused on the progress of his
petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(IACHR). In March 2001, Garcia Linera and eleven other
co-defendants filed a petition with the IACHR arguing that
their rights had been violated, they had been detained
arbitrarily, tortured and suffered other abuses at the hands
of the democratically elected Bolivian government during the
1990s. The vice president, responding to claims that the
petition included a request for two million USD in
compensation, announced on November 10 that he never
requested financial reparations related to his claims. Other
members of the EGTK, notably radical indigenous leader Felipe
Quispe, refuted Garcia Linera's announcement, saying they are
indeed seeking financial compensation. Should the EGTK ever
receive compensation, Garcia Linera can avoid the appearance
of enriching himself by donating any money he receives to
charity, but he may not be able to avoid the EGTK tarnishing
his newly crafted image as a responsible politician. End
Summary.

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------------------
Background of EGTK
------------------

2. (SBU) Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera's membership in
the indigenous-based terrorist group the Tupak Katari
Guerilla Army (EGTK), the armed wing of the Tupak Katari
Revolutionary Liberation Movement (MRTKL), resurfaced
recently as press reports focused on the progress of his
petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(IACHR). The EGTK is alleged to have carried out fifty
bombing attacks from 1991-1993. The attacks centered on
power pylons, oil pipelines, missionary churches (Mormon
Churches) and government facilities. Garcia Linera and his
ex-wife Maria Raquel Guitierrez Aguilar were arrested in
connection with their membership in the EGTK in April 1992
and detained for five years during which they claim torture
by beatings, electric shock to the genitals and other abuses.
Garcia Linera and other members of the EGTK confessed to
their terrorist activities, but later recanted, stating the
admissions of guilt were the result of the torture. After
five years of pressure from many leftist groups, the GOB
released the EGTK prisoners in 1997.

------------
The Petition
------------

3. (SBU) In March 2001, Garcia Linera and eleven other
co-defendants filed a petition with the IACHR arguing that
their human rights had been violated, that they had been
detained arbitrarily, that they were tortured and suffered
other abuses at the hands of the democratically elected
Bolivian government during the 1990s. The petition claimed
that they had "exhausted all domestic remedies" trying to
resolve their case. Initially the commission ruled that all
domestic remedies had not been exhausted. However, in
October 2005 after the Bolivian authorities failed to respond
in a timely fashion the IACHR reopened the petition and
accepted the case. The October 2005 report does not discuss
monetary compensation. However, Evelio Fernandez, the
president of the IACHR, recently stated that compensation
could be a possibility for the EGTK detainees if the
defendants and the GOB could reach a settlement. If not, the
issue of compensation would be pushed to the Inter-American
Court for Human Rights.

----------------------------------
To Compensate or Not to Compensate
----------------------------------

4. (SBU) The Vice President, responding to claims that the
petition included a request for two million USD in


compensation, announced on November 10, that he never
requested financial reparations related to his claims.
Nonetheless various press outlets have reported the
defendants requested two million USD in compensation.
Furthermore, former EGTK leader Felipe Quispe has argued that
the petition did include a request for two million USD.
Quispe recently stated, "We requested that they return what
they (the GOB) stole from us, and if Garcia Linera does not
deliver compensation, he will be declared a traitor to the
sacred class of indigenous peoples."

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Comment
-------

5. (SBU) Since the compensation question remains unsettled,
Garcia Linera is in the strange situation of "negotiating"
with himself. On the one hand, he is a co-defendant in the
case; on the other hand he is the number two in the
government which may eventually offer a settlement to the
defendants. Should the EGTK ever receive compensation,
Garcia Linera can avoid the appearance of enriching himself
by donating any money he receives to charity, but he may not
be able to avoid the EGTK tarnishing his newly crafted image
as a responsible politician. End Comment.
GOLDBERG

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