Bolivia: repression against dictatorship survivors

Elements of the Special Operations Tactical Unit (UTOP), Bolivia’s elite anti-riot force, used tear-gas Nov. 19 against survivors of the country’s military dictatorship who protested in front of the Government Palace in La Paz to demand indemnification for torture they suffered in the 1970s. “Here they repressed us just as in the time of the dictatorship,” said the group’s leader, Victoria López. The survivors had maintained a vigil outside the Justice Ministry for over a year, but decided to move to the Government Palace, on the city’s central Plaza Murillo, after receiving no response. Communications Minister Amanda Dávila told the press that the protesters were not on the registered list of victims who are entitled to restitution. The government is recognizing a list compiled by the Association of Families of the Detained and Disappeared of the Dictatorships (ASOFAM), which the protesters charge is incomplete. (Erbol, Nov. 19) Survivors of the military dictatorships have long pressed the government of President Evo Morales on a full accounting for the abuses of the “dirty war” era.

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  1. Bolivia: daughter of guerilla martyr abducted
    Martha Montiel—daughter of guerilla fighter Tirso Montiel, who she claims was extrajudicially executed by Bolivia’s dictatorship in 1970—told reporters that she was abducted as she was leaving an Internet cafe in the Sopocachi district of La Paz, knocked unconscious, and held in a car pakred in a seculded area where she was beaten further and threatened with death before finally being released. She says she was warned to stop talking to the media about her father’s death and demandeding that the government provide a full accounting of the circumstances.

    Tirso Montiel was among a small group of guerillas who took up arms in Teoponte, La Paz department, in an attempt to continue the insurgency launched by Che Guevara in Santa Cruz after the death of the iconic revolutionary. (Página Siete, La Paz, Sept. 22)