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Cablegate: Bolivia: Freedom Defender Nominee

VZCZCXYZ0023
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLP #3037 3202125
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 162125Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5650
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 7279
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4647
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 8555
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5779
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2999
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 3199
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 4990
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 5634
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0244
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0674
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS LA PAZ 003037

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR DRL ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY JONATHAN FARRAR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: APER KPAO PHUM BL
SUBJECT: BOLIVIA: FREEDOM DEFENDER NOMINEE

REF: STATE 147749

1. (SBU) Embassy La Paz is pleased to nominate Ana Maria
Romero de Campero as our 2007 Freedom Defenders Award
Nominee. From 1998-2003, Ms. Campero served as Bolivia's
first Human Rights Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo), the
independent government agency charged with defending and
promoting constitutional guarantees of human rights. Ms.
Campero was selected by the Bolivian Congress for her

tireless fighting in defense of human rights and democracy
both during Bolivia's dictatorial regimes and after. While
serving as Bolivia's Human Rights Ombudsman she was elected
President of the Andean Council of Human Rights Defenders
(Presidenta del Consejo Andino de Defensores del Pueblo).
During her tenure as Human Rights Ombudsman, Ms. Campero was
instrumental at mediating numerous civil conflicts and
promoting legal cases where the Bolivian government infringed
on human rights. She continues her human rights work today
as director of the UNIR Foundation.

2. (SBU) A journalist by profession, during the
dictatorships of the 1960's and 1970's, Ms Campero was an
outspoken critic of the so called "defacto governments" and a
strong promoter of human rights and freedom of expression.
She helped found the newspaper "Apertura" (Opening), which
was later closed under General Garcia Meza's dictatorship in
1980. She has served as President of three prestigious
journalism societies: the La Paz Journalists Association, the
Circle of Women Journalists and the National Press
Association.

3. (SBU) Comment: Ms. Campero has not always supported U.S.
policies, specifically our anti-narcotics efforts. She has
argued that the policies led to human rights violations,
primarily during the forced eradication period of the Banzer
administration. As Human Rights Ombudsman she promoted the
civil rights of coca-growers, some of which may have injured
and killed anti-narcotics forces. That said, as the Human
Rights Ombudsman her role was to defend civil society from
government perpetrated abuses, abuses committed by civil
society against government agents is/was the role of
Bolivia's Public Ministry (equivalent of the Attorney
General's Office). Ms. Campero also vocally supported and
participated in a hunger-strike which led to the resignation
of President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. End Comment.
GOLDBERG

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