Daily Archives: July 15, 2013

Are human rights respected in Bolivia?

Carlos Toranzo Roca writes in Pagina Siete:

Human rights are for all of us

Carlos ToranzoIt is hard to believe that in a left-wing regime, as the one that governs us, one of the issues of most concern to people is the violation of human rights.

Who had human rights during the dictatorship of Barrientos in the 1960s? No one. The issue of human rights was not internalized in the minds of the people and, obviously, the State was not at all interested in this issue.

The State with its arms of the armed forces, of the police, agents of the “order”, had the right to kill, jail, violating, and bully people. Where was justice, where was the defense of the rights of the people? They did not exist. How could the family determine the State of health of his family prisoners? They could not do so because they were also hurt and threatened by these arms of the State. And these arms are now very spineless with the power.

There were trials against prisoners, was there due process? No, absolutely nothing. There was only the will of the absolute power of the dictator, and that will induce to the repeated violations of human rights. And now is induced, under the logic of war, to eliminate the enemy.

And during Banzer, in the 1970s, how were things? Those who suffered the murder of our family could defend us from the dictatorship? No, we tried to apprehend even in the act of burial of our relatives, so it happened at the funeral of my brother, killed in military barracks, after having been wounded in that military center. Was my family entitled, my mother and my wife to find out why I was prisoner in many jails? No, they had no right. Responses were only threats of something worse. Could we be entitled to a permit to get out of the prison and attend the birth to our children? No, we had no right to anything.

And the ‘elenos’ [left-wing group] – many of them ruling today,- had any right? No, they were simply killed at close range, were shot, without the right to claim by relatives, weren’t clashes invented, when – in fact – after torturing them, killing them? Are they not going similar things in the present? And the relatives of the murdered “elenos”, which did not even have the right to claim the bodies of their relatives were not subjected to fear, terror? Currently there is some resemblance to that past.

And were there human rights during Garcia Meza? No, absolutely none. We had to go with the Bible under our arm, as Arce Gomez threatened opponents saying that they would be “prescriptive” with those who oppose the dictatorship. But be “prescriptive” did not meant to apply the law to those who contravene it, simply meant that opponents were going to be assassinated. Or were perhaps breaking the law at the meeting of the COB of those that were killed at close range, along with Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz, whose body does not appear yet? And was not the same when the leadership of the MIR in the Harrington Street was murdered at the beginning of the 80s? Did they not invent a clash? It was simply extrajudicial execution, as it has occurred in the Las Americas hotel [during this government].

We had no rights. In those times they pallidly began to work the organizations for the defence of human rights to protect us against a comprehensive State. These organizations were born with a heart on the left, for they were the left-wing that were killed and harassed. But many of those leftists do not look in the present violations of the human rights of tens of dozens of people.

Last time and thanks to democracy, we know that everyone, left and right, have human rights. Some human rights organizations, forgot that for a while as their task was only to protect those who had the same ideology of the left. [socialist and communist alone]

Today, more than ever, because it is said that there is democracy, we need to defend human rights, but everyone, absolutely everyone, whether left-wing or right-wing, since human rights are universal. It cannot be that a left-wing regime violates the human rights of people, that does not agree with the values of democracy.

Carlos Toranzo is an economist.


It is obvious that current Bolivian central government has not learned from the past. The one-time thought to be the Mandela of the Andes has turned like the regimes he demagogically said he despised. All the political persecution under this government will end up hunting him and his acolytes like the ones in the past.