After a 10-year trial, on Dec. 12 Bolivian judge Angel Arias sentenced three former officers to 30 years for their involvement in the 1980 military coup in which Luis Garcia Meza overthrew President Lidia Gueiler. Socialist leader Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz and legislative deputy Carlos Flores Bedregal were murdered soon after the coup in an assault on the offices of the Bolivian Workers Central (COB). Judge Arias convicted Felipe Froilan Molina Bustamante, Franz Pizarro Solano and Javier Hinojosa Valdez of armed uprising and the organization of irregular groups. The judge did not find them guilty of murder, leading to shouts of “murderers” and “neither forgetting nor forgiving” from friends and relatives of Flores Bedregal and Quiroga Santa Cruz in the courtroom. Another 14 defendants were found guilty of coverup and false testimony; they received sentences of two to four years. Former dictator Garcia Meza began serving a 30-year sentence in 1995; charges against him included sedition, genocide and the theft of the diaries of Argentine-born guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara. (La Jornada, Mexico, Dec. 13)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 16
See our last posts on Bolivia.