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December 29, 2001

Narco News 2001

A Narco News Global Alert


Bolivia's Banzer

General Cancels

Washington Trip

Argentina Presses Charges

Italy Has Collected Evidence

Mrs. Banzer Accused in Spain

Narco News Commentary: The complicity of United States media correspondents in Latin America in the silence that protects those war criminals supported by Washington has never been clearer than this week.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, is crawling with U.S. correspondents, due to the recent upheavals caused by the failure of the dollarization of the Argentine economy that had been imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and led Argentine president Fernando de la Rua to resign and flee.

This week, right under the noses of this overpopulation of North American reporters, a Federal Judge in Argentina ordered the arrest and capture of former Bolivian dictator-turned-"president" Hugo Banzer, for his participation in the brutal alliance of South American dictators in the 1970s known as Operation Condor.

But has a single United States newspaper or North American wire service reported this inconvenient news in English?

No, and through its silence, the North American media -- and its inauthentic journalists, as individuals -- make themselves complicit in crimes against humanity.

For example, how proud can the Washington Post's Marcela Sanchez be, today, of her November 30th puff piece on Banzer's hand-picked successor, Jorge Quiroga, now that Quiroga impedes INTERPOL's extradition warrant against his former boss?

Or, at the New York Times Buenos Aires bureau, where are the official hitmen who pose as "journalists," Larry Rohter and Clifford Krauss, who purportedly are assigned to report the news from this region?

It is as if the arrest warrant comes for them too: they are in hiding from this story.

The Bolivian government, headed by Banzer's former Vice President and protege Jorge Quiroga, continues to give haven to this war criminal, who, according to the evidence collected in Argentina, Italy and Spain, participated in an international plot to detain, torture, disappear and assassinate opposition leaders, and, in those cases where the leaders were young mothers, conspired to kidnap their infant children and sell them on the black market.

This story is hard news, and not only because an arrest warrant has been issued for a former head of State.

The element of this story that gives it currency is how today's regime in Bolivia, and its presiding Viceroy -- US Ambassador Manuel Rocha -- are committing the crime of obstruction of justice.

To Washington, Banzer must be protected at all costs, lest he spill the secrets of the Narco-State and those who protected him as he built it. As a military general, a dictator and a president, Banzer presided over the development of the South American model for the modern Narco-State: the denial of democracy and civil liberties in the name of the "war on drugs," while allowing military and government operatives to control and profit off the illicit cocaine trade; a model that Quiroga and his Viceroy Rocha preside over today.

The international arrest warrant and prosecution of Banzer opens a window to the darkest secrets of the US-imposed "war on drugs": a "war" that requires brutal repression and the prevention of democracy in our hemisphere. Today, Narco News publishes a new translation of various stories from the national daily La Razón in Bolivia's capital of La Paz. To which we add and declare: Those "journalists" who cover-up the hard news about war crimes will be remembered by humanity as war criminals, too.

From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano


The Narco News Bulletin

From the daily La Razón, La Paz, Bolivia

Banzer Cancels Washington Trip

Interpol Issues Arrest Warrant

The ex-president has decided to cancel his trip to Washington DC and will receive his next chemotherapy session in the Foianini Clinic of Santa Cruz. Attorney Ivan Aleman will be in charge of the General's legal defense.

At 2:30 p.m. yesterday, Interpol Bolivia received the arrest warrant against General Hugo Banzer. Interpol Argentina made the request:

"Solicitation for preventive detention. Goal of extradition of citizen Banzer Suarez, Hugo. Born in the state of Santa Cruz. Birthdate, May 10, 1926. Son of Cesar Banzer and Griselda Suarez. Military official. Argentine Identity Card # 10729834 DNI. Argentine # 92392607. Ex president of Bolivia. Required by Federal Criminal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral."

That is the text of the communication sent from Buenos Aires to the National Interpol Office in La Paz.

Banzer has an Argentine National Identity Card, that he obtained when the Military College gave him a scholarship to study in that country's military institution.

After receiving this warrant, the director of Interpol, Colonel Alberto Arroyo, sent it to the Foreign Minister's office that, for its part, must send it to the Supreme Court and the General Command of the Bolivian Police.

In spite of the arrest warrant, Interpol can not execute the warrant because it is for an ex President, according to Colonel Arroyo, who said that the decision is in the hands of the Supreme Court of Justice.

Upon learning of the situation, the leaders of the ADN (Nationalist Democratic Action party), Guillermo Fortun, Jorge Landivar, Ramon Prada and Banzer's youngest daughter met to study the current situation.

"The General is not alone. We will defend him as required," said Fortun, Executive Secretary of the AND, who said that the warrant is not an order, but a request for capture, that cannot be executive because it lacks various legal requirements, among them an additional request to the Foreign Minister…

Extradition to Argentina Has Legal Basis

An international crime treaty from 1889 is still in effect

The former Bolivian justice minister and United Nations advisor in Guatemala, Rene Blattman, said yesterday that Argentina has standing to ask Bolivia to capture and extradite ex president Hugo Banzer because there is an international crime treaty that both countries signed in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1889.

"The Supreme court can only approve or reject the conditions of extradition, but cannot issue a judgment against it, because there are no pressing in Bolivia against Hugo Banzer," he said. Blattman said that the treaty between the two countries carries obligations in the judicial arena, and thus "one State can not deny petitions of the other."

He added that this treaty allows international capture, and establishes penalties of up to two years in prison for those charged. To not comply with it would bring international sanctions upon the country. The Argentine Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corrall asked for Banzer's capture on Wednesday and for his extradition to Argentina for alleged participation in Operation Condor.

This is the same accusation that led to the incarceration of ex president Rafael Videla of Argentina and the extradition warrant against Augusto Pinochet of Chile and Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay.

There is evidence against the General in Italy

Witnesses: The Bolivian Permanent Assembly of Human Rights has information, although it did not specify, about testimony collected in Italy against ex president Hugo Banzer Suarez.

Non-Prosecutable Crimes: The documents and verbal testimony in Italy involve the ex president in crimes against humanity that don't correspond to international law, the Human Rights office said.

Without Cause: The evidence that was presented against the ex President still has not been processed by any Italian judicial agency. No case has been opened, but charges have not been ruled out.

Vice: The family members of those detained, persecuted and tortured during the 1970s want to avoid that Banzer could use an argument that he can't be judged in two different countries for the same crime.

Banzer's Wife Is Accused in Spain

Repression: Carla Rutilo Artes has filed a complaint against the former First Lady, who in 1976 was responsible for the kidnapping of newborn children.

The pain that was born in 1976 has now become a prosecution. Carla Rutilo Artes accuses, 25 years later, her captors and Operation Condor.

She has filed charges before the justice system of Spain against different Bolivian authorities, among them Hugo Banzer and Yolanda Prada de Banzer.

The ex First Lady of the Nation was accused before Judge Baltasar Garzon of being involved in the delivery of Carla to the Argentina dictatorship, that in 1976 murdered her mother, Graciela Rutilo.

The charges were filed four years ago before the same judge that ordered the capture and extradition of ex Chilean president Augusto Pinochet…

"Banzer is accused of the illegal delivery of my mother to Argentina, the kidnapping of my mother, crimes against humanity such as torture, assassination and disappearance," said Carla Rutilo Artes, interviewed in Madrid, Spain.

She gave testimony to Judge Garzon, who has just concluded the instruction phase of the legal process, after receiving hundreds of statements from witnesses and plaintiffs in Argentina, Brasil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.

"Mrs. Yolanda Prada de Banzer was accused. Her direct and indirect participation is abundantly clear. We know that Mrs. Prada, like Banzer, was involved in what happened. For example, I was kidnapped as an orphan upon orders of the Interior Minister."

Carla, when she was just a few months old, was pulled from the arms of her mother and placed in a State home for minors. Her name was changed to Nora Nemtala. There she lived until she was returned to her mother in 1976. Both were delivered to the Argentina dictatorship. Later, Carla's mother disappeared. Months before, her father was killed….

The orphan kidnappings in this country were headed by the National Social Action Board of the Presidency, an agency headed by Yolanda Prada de Banzer.

"She allowed that a child went unprotected by the law. My case is the best documented that there is, and is proof that, yes, Operation Condor did exist in the 1970s."

Now 26 years old, Carla Rutilo doesn't cry as she did when an orphan two decades and a half a go. Now she can laugh and "thanks God" that a judge has ordered the international capture of Hugo Banzer.

For More Narco News Click Here

War Criminals with Press Passes Exposed Here