Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bolivia terror plot: The Argentine connection, revisited and confirmed


This is what they fear, kiddies...indigenous Bolivians fighting back against fascism.

Via ABI, I came across this report in Argentina's Página/12. It's shocking, explosive, highly relevant to what I've written about in here previously--and worth translating in its entirety, which I did:

"I was present in Beni (northern Bolivia) with an Argentine cell of eleven ex-carapintadas ("painted faces", notorious paramilitaries), along with ex-militaries who had been on missions in the Balkans. The above-mentioned 'Argentine cell' maintained contacts with sectors of the 'far right', opposed to the current Bolivian government, in Santa Cruz and Cobija, department of Pando."

The information, dated May 4, received by the Argentine Chancellery from the embassy in Bolivia and which was received by Página/12, indicated that "business owners and landowners of Santa Cruz de la Sierra requested the presence of the ex-militaries with the objective of training them in self-defence in case of their eventual imprisonment by the Bolivian authorities."

The pieces of the puzzle are beginning to fall into place following an investigation into a group of suspected terrorists, led by Eduardo Rózsa Flores, "Hero of the Balkan War", which was dismantled by the Bolivian National Police last April 16. President Evo Morales denounced the group for planning his assassination.

Last April 21, we reported that the vice-president of Bolivia, Alvaro García Linera, had communicated with the Argentine ambassador in La Paz, Horacio Macedo, to ask him to collaborate in the control of the border regions "due to the presence of Argentine activists in certain regions of Bolivia". At that time, there was mention of the travels to Bolivia of retired major Jorge Mones Ruiz, one of the "carapintadas" who between 1987 and 1991 took part in armed uprisings to demand impunity for repressors [active during the time of the Argentine military junta, 1976-83].

The new report states that "Mones Ruiz had been in contact with the late suspected terrorist/mercenary Rózsa Flores and with [Luis Enrique] Baraldini", another comrade-in-arms and fugitive-from-justice for his actions during the illegal repressions in La Pampa, and currently based in Santa Cruz under a false name. Mones Ruiz was assigned to Bolivia as an intelligence official of the Argentine army during the last dictatorship, and liked to boast of the recognition of his Bolivian comrades.

The ex-carapintada was seduced by his links to the ultra-right in Latin America. In '87, the Military Circle published his book, in which he outlined his expertise on the formation of commando groups against the revolutionary processes in Central America. This year, Mones Ruiz found anchorage in the so-called UnAmérica, an NGO claiming to be a counterweight to Unasur, the organization to which all the South American heads of state belong. Leftist governments, particularly those of Bolivia and Venezuela, were the focus of the efforts of the committee, led by the anti-Chavista Venezuelan, Alejandro Peña Esclusa.

Mones Ruiz showed his notions in various formats, but with the same obsession. With another of his carapintada comrades, Breide Obeid, he formed the "Conjunto Patria" (Homeland Alliance) and began to sing his own lyrics in all kinds of encounters. More academically, he published various books, among them "Argentina--without a future?". He studied the "new dangers" and broadcast himself on Web pages on subjects such as "misrule and institutional bankruptcy, attacks on businessses, price controls, energy crises, the 'Papeleros' case, citizen insecurity, corruption, 'twisted' justice, widening of the gap between rich and poor, 'crooked' legislators, social violence, forgotten military commanders, police forces with fewer rights than delinquents, etc., which are generating the conditions for structural changes that society demands." A hyperactive man, last year he began to show up during rural meetings and stir up conflict.

The violent entry of the police into the fourth floor of the Hotel Las Américas, which ended in the deaths of Rózsa Flores (Bolivian-Hungarian-Croatian), Arpád Magyarosi (Romanian of Hungarian origins) and Michael Dwyer (Irish), and the arrests of Mario Francisco Tadic Astorga (Bolivian with Croatian passport) and Elöd Tóásó (Romanian-Hungarian) exacerbated the virulence of the Bolivian opposition. President Evo Morales is looking for re-election next December 6, and read the actions of these transnational commandos as proof of a cabal with plans to assassinate him. Throughout this minefield, there are footprints of the same personages.

Five days after the sting in the hotel, the Hungarian Television Network broadcast an interview by journalist Andras Kepes on September 8, 2008, in which Rózsa confirmed that he was bound for Santa Cruz de la Sierra at the request of persons who asked him to form a "self-defence group" in the region and that if there was no peaceful coexistence with the rest of the country, they would seek independence. The newspaper El Deber, of Santa Cruz, stated that "the 49-year-old assured that his mission 'had legal backing' because the decision to organize his militia had the authorization of the Council of Santa Cruz. The president of the Departmental Assembly, Juan Carlos Parada, assured that he knew nothing about it and that he did not know which of the councils or assemblies of Santa Cruz had sought permission. According to Rózsa, a group of political opposition members contacted him about a year and a half earlier, from Santa Cruz. His principal mission was to defend the region against supposed armed indigenous groups and militias. "We were convinced after a few months that there was no peaceful coexistence and, in the name of autonomy, decided to proclaim the independence of Santa Cruz and create a new country," said Rózsa.

Rózsa recorded the interview as a kind of last will and testament, to be distributed only in the event of his death. The strange personage who had been a militant of Opus Dei, converted to Islam and was hailed as a "Hero of the Balkan War", ended up recruiting mercenaries to defend the Bolivian ultra-right. His participation in the Croatian war established ties with Latin American soldiers who found in these militias a sought-after niche in which to develop their competence as armed commandos.

The detailed report before the Argentine chancellery tells that businessmen and landowners in Santa Cruz de la Sierra appealed to the ex-militaries "with the objective of being instructed in self-defence in case of possible imprisonment by official organisms and various affiliates, including the taking of private lands by social entities such as the MAS"--alluding to the Movement Toward Socialism party led by President Evo Morales.

The "model" of Brazilian landlords who installed virtual death squads to counteract the landless peasant movements demonstrates what the reactionary secessionists of the rich regions of Bolivia had in mind. The "Human Rights Foundation of Bolivia", under the offices of Victor Hugo Achá, was a school in the strategies and objectives of UnAmérica, according to the report.

On April 30, prosecutor Marcelo Sosa announced that Achá would be called upon to testify, in order to corroborate the testimonies of various detainees in the case. The president of the HRF had gone to the United States one week earlier and announced that he would no return until he received legal guarantees that he would be able to defend himself against the accusations. However, in a telephone conversation with a local channel, he admitted that he had conversed on more than three occasions with Rózsa but, obviously, denied any ties with the militia organized by the Bolivian-Hungarian-Croat.

According to the daily La Prensa, of La Paz, Juan Carlos Gueder, recently arrested, declared: "There was another person with ties to the political field, to be assassinated in Bolivia, but I don't know his name either, because there are other people who should be coming forward here. Mr. Hugo Achá should show his face." Gueder assured that he HRF director had met with the suspected terrorist group. Gueder was given house arrest in exchange for collaborating with the judicial authorities.

On May 1, the Bolivian president said that if the organization had not clarified its links with "the terrorists, it would be expelled from Bolivia, as had already occurred in Venezuela. The Comité Pro Santa Cruz, a leading light in the opposition which repeatedly tried to destabilize the Morales administration, called an assembly to decide what to do against the advances of the investigation into ties between its businessmen and the suspected terrorists killed in the Hotel Las Américas.

This is how the sectors of UnAmérica act--an organization in which the Argentine paramilitary Mones Ruiz preens himself as secretary, and which says it will present a denunciation before the Inter-American Human Rights Court, accusing the Morales government of being responsible for the massacre of Pando. The objective is to counteract the report approved by Unasur which landed in prison, among others, the prefect of Pando, for racial persecution and racist murders committed by the ultra-right.

Links added.

So, another piece of the puzzle is indeed falling into place, and it's a large one. This Argentine fascist, a self-styled defender and apologist of repressors from the junta, is not surprisingly a big wheel in the fascist plot against Evo. He has ample experience in fascism in Bolivia, too, as he was a liaison between the Argentine junta and its counterpart, the Bolivian military dictatorship of the era. (Recall that Bolivia was the victim of several military coups beginning in 1964, and did not regain democracy until 1982, one year before the Argentine junta fell.) It seems natural that Mones Ruiz would therefore have abiding sympathies for fascists in Bolivia, and possibly even ties stretching back to his time in country the first time around. It would not be at all hard for him--whom Página/12 also characterizes as being "nostalgic for other times" and "frankly putschist"--to cheerfully become part of an antidemocratic plot to pull Santa Cruz out of Bolivia and install an authoritarian para-government, however illegally. To him, it would be just like the "good old days" of impunity and repression both there and in Argentina!

The name of Luis Enrique Baraldini has also come up here before. According to this report, Baraldini is currently in Bolivia. (He's also wanted by Interpol for human rights violations in Argentina, so if you've seen him, you know who to call.) Baraldini is of the Santa Cruz horsey set; he's a judge in equestrian events, and also currently runs a "school of equine therapy", presumably catering to disabled children, which may well be a front for something less pleasant--or at the very least, a way of covering his multitudinous sins. He may be using his mother's surname, Pellegri, as an alias (how macho, hiding behind Mama's skirts). He also was decorated by the Bolivian military for his "services"--a major WTF? until you consider that he, too, was operative during the days of military dictatorship, and undoubtedly, like Mones Ruiz, was sent by the higher-ups in Buenos Aires to "help" the poor, beleaguered unpopular generals maintain their death grip on that impoverished but still fractious country! Alas, it was an epic fail. Bolivia is now democratic and ruled by an uppity Injun. How lucky for him, then, that there has been mostly impunity for Argentine repressors since the return of democracy to Bolivia in '82 and Argentina in '83, otherwise he'd be in a world of hurt. (Well, it's still not too late to call Interpol if you've seen him. Or the Bolivian federal authorities, who I'm sure are more than a little interested in him again, though in a markedly different light, by now.)

And of course, there's that weaselly little UnAmérica thing again, too. Too bad it's totally illegitimate, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is likely to throw out its charges with a loud belly-laugh. Unasur, not UnAmérica, holds the legal cards. The declarations of this right-wing astroturf group are therefore no more legitimate than the "autonomy" declarations of the Media Lunatics (which were so preposterous that no respectable international observer wanted to be caught dead at their illegal referendum, much less dignify it with the stamp of approval.) I don't imagine that the smarmy Twat From Caracas and his little astroturf-roll will fare any better either; no one's about to grant them immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony since they're clearly in this plot up to their collective, beady eyeballs.

I've lost count of how many points this makes for Evo's side, but I know for sure that the oppo count is still 0. Apologists for fascism, the ball's in your court now...but I doubt you can return THIS serve convincingly. You haven't done all that well with any of the previous ones.