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Mon Apr 30, 2018, 06:10 PM

Bolivia's 'Cocaine Coup' dictator Luis Garcia Meza dies at 88

Bolivia's 'Cocaine Coup' dictator Luis Garcia Meza dies at 88

Luis Garcia Meza's regime was characterized by mass human rights violations, including genocide and extrajudicial killings. He rose to power in the early 1980s in what was largely described as the "Cocaine Coup."

. . .

Although Garcia Meza ruled for only 13 months after his "Cocaine Coup" — backed by drug traffickers — his regime was characterized by brutal repression and mass human rights violations, including genocide, extrajudicial killings and systematic use of torture.

. . .

The decision was hailed at the time by human rights groups, with Human Rights Watch (HRW) saying it marked a "milestone in the struggle for truth and justice in a hemisphere where powerful military actors are almost never brought to account for leading coups."

. . .

Last year, a tribunal in Rome convicted Garcia Meza and seven other former South American political and military leaders for the deaths of 23 Italians who were killed in the brutal crackdown launched under the former dictator.


Garcia Meza, left

Notice the difference in the treatment given by Associated Press:

Former military dictator of Bolivia dies
Updated 10:31 am, Sunday, April 29, 2018

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Former Bolivian military dictator Luis Garcia Meza, who was serving a 30-year prison sentence, died Sunday. He was 88.

Garcia Meza was admitted to a military hospital in La Paz after suffering a heart attack and could not be resuscitated. A medical report said he died "from possible respiratory failure." The Cossmil military hospital told The Associated Press that the death occurred at 3 a.m.

The former army general was imprisoned for crimes including murder and economic damage to the state during his 13 months in office from 1980-1981. He was convicted in absentia and extradited to Bolivia from Brazil in March 1995, but he completed much of his sentence at the hospital where he died.

. . .

Garcia Meza's former interior minister, Luis Arce Gomez, was also sentenced to 30 years in prison for political killings and extradited to Bolivia from the United States.


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The second life of a Nazi war criminal: German documentary reveals how 'butcher of Lyon' Klaus Barbie became a fixer for drug lords when he went on the run in South America

Barbie became known as Klaus Altmann when he went on the run in 1945
He worked as a druglord fixer in Latin America and met with Pablo Escobar
General Luis García Meza was helped into power in Bolivia by drug money
Barbie tortured top French resistance operatives and is estimated to have been directly involved in the deaths of 14,000 people


PUBLISHED: 10:59 EDT, 28 July 2015 | UPDATED: 03:41 EDT, 29 July 2015

A notorious Nazi war criminal, dubbed the 'Butcher of Lyon' during World War II, worked as a druglord fixer while on the run in Latin America and helped bring a right-wing dictator into power.

Klaus Barbie, one of the Gestapo's most brutal criminals, reinvented himself with the help of western intelligence agencies after the fall of the Third Reich.

Using the money generated from the cocaine trade, Barbie helped put General Luis García Meza into power in Bolivia, a new documentary has revealed.

~ ~ ~

Murderer: Barbie was known as 'the butcher of Lyon' after he tortured top French resistance
operatives and is estimated to have been directly involved in the deaths of 14,000 people

. . .

Barbie, who adopted the name Klaus Altmann when he went on the run in 1945, was used by both the CIA and Germany's BND intelligence agency.


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Wikipedia Luis Garcia Meza:

. . .

Prelude to dictatorship
García Meza graduated from the military academy in 1952, and served as its commander from 1963 to 1964. He then rose to division commander in the late 1970s.

He became leader of the right-wing faction of the military of Bolivia most disenchanted with the return to civilian rule. Many of the officers involved had been part of the Banzer dictatorship and disliked the investigation of economic and human right abuses by the new Bolivian Congress. Moreover, they tended to regard the decline in popularity of the Carter administration in the United States as an indicator that soon a Republican administration would replace it—one more amenable to the kind of pro-US, more hardline anti-communist dictatorship they wanted to reinstall in Bolivia. Many allegedly had ties to cocaine traffickers and made sure portions of the military acted as their enforcers/protectors in exchange for extensive bribes, which in turn were used to fund the upcoming coup. In this manner, the narcotraffickers were in essence purchasing for themselves the upcoming Bolivian government.

. . .

Coup d'état

This group pressured President Lidia Gueiler (his cousin) to install General García Meza as Commander of the Army. Within months, the Junta of Commanders headed by García Meza forced a violent coup d'état, sometimes referred to as the Cocaine Coup, of 17 July 1980, when several Bolivian intellectuals such as Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz were killed. When portions of the citizenry resisted, as they had done in the failed putsch of November 1979, it resulted in dozens of deaths. Many were tortured. Allegedly, the Argentine Army unit Batallón de Inteligencia 601 participated in the coup. Former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Michael Levine had arrested the two most prominent leaders of the Roberto Suarez cartel (the primary cartel linked to the coup), and he claims that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) intervened to drop charges against one of them and reduce bail for another, allowing both to escape their US trial in 1979; subsequently they returned to Bolivia and participated in the coup, along with the aid of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie. Levine has alleged CIA cooperation with the coup.[1] These allegations were the basis for the dismissal of the DEA from Bolivia by current President Evo Morales in 2007.

Dictatorship, 1980-81

Of rightwing ultra-conservative anti-communist persuasion, García Meza endeavored to bring a Pinochet-style dictatorship that was intended to last 20 years. He immediately outlawed all political parties, exiled opposition leaders, repressed trade unions and muzzled the press. He was backed by former SS officer and Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie and Italian neofascist Stefano Delle Chiaie. Further collaboration came from other European neofascists, most notoriously Ernesto Milá Rodríguez (accused of the 1980 Paris synagogue bombing).[2] Among other foreign collaborators were professional torturers allegedly imported from the notoriously repressive Argentine dictatorship of General Jorge Videla.

The García Meza regime, while brief (its original form ended in 1981), became internationally known for its extreme brutality. The population was repressed in the same ways as under the Banzer dictatorship. In January 1981, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs named the García Meza regime, "Latin America's most errant violator of human rights after Guatemala and El Salvador."[3] Some 1,000 people are estimated to have been killed by the Bolivian Army and security forces in only 13 months.[citation needed] The administration's chief repressor was the Minister of Interior, Colonel Luis Arce, who cautioned that all Bolivians who opposed to the new order should "walk around with their written will under their arms."


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Reply Bolivia's 'Cocaine Coup' dictator Luis Garcia Meza dies at 88 (Original post)
Judi Lynn Apr 2018 OP
Judi Lynn Apr 2018 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 30, 2018, 06:15 PM



04 Nov, 2012 | Laetitia Grevers

History & Politics

After WWII, the infamous Nazi Klaus Barbie found sanctuary in Bolivia, where he influenced national politics, helped overthrow a democratic government, and profited from the drug trade

Again, the topic of the Nazis’, says Nicolas Bauer, the president of Club Aleman, in an impatient voice. He lights another cigarette. ‘Well, what else could I have expected from someone who wants to write about German immigrants?’ For Bauer, it is difficult to say which of the Germans was not a Nazi before the end of World War II. Many Germans who immigrated before 1945 came to spread the Nazi way of life in Bolivia discreetly – several also came after 1945. In particular, many German teachers immigrated during the 1930s and 1940s and spread the National Socialist ideology. Ironically, many German Jews also immigrated to Bolivia during and after the war.

After the war, several ex-Nazis escaped to South America and Bolivia via ‘ratlines’, the notorious escape routes for Axis war criminals that were organized by members of the Catholic Church. US intelligence agencies also assisted, using the fugitives as assets during the Cold War. Among the most notorious was Klaus Barbie, the former chief of the Gestapo in Lyon. Barbie, the ‘Butcher of Lyon’, tortured French Resistance leader Jean Moulin to death during the war, and was the man responsible for the deportation of 44 Jewish orphans to Auschwitz and their subsequent deaths. ‘I came to kill’ was the first thing he said upon reaching France. In Bolivia, Barbie became a tireless hustler and eccentric, wheeling and dealing with the German business community, politicians, and arms and drug traffickers. He held court in the Club La Paz near Plaza San Francisco, where former Nazis would meet with him to discuss old times.

During his stay in Bolivia, Barbie (who went by the name of Altmann) worked for the Department of the Interior as a lieutenant colonel and as an instructor for the Bolivian security forces, teaching them the finer points of torture and ‘disappearance’ of political dissidents. Together with Hans Stellfeld, another ex-Nazi officer, Barbie was instrumental in the ascendance of General Luis Garcia Meza Tejada, who took over the country as a dictator after a coup d’état in 1980. Called the ‘Cocaine Coup’, this takeover was financed through deals with wealthy cocaine producers in Santa Cruz, who gave kickbacks to Garcia Meza; Barbie was responsible for eliminating rival drug lords through his paramilitary group ‘the Fiancés of Death’.

In 1983, after the restoration of the civilian government in Bolivia, Barbie was finally arrested and extradited to France. He was condemned to life in jail and died there in 1991. His surviving family lives in Germany still. His Nazi comrades do not. They are still at home in Bolivian society. And they do not want to hear about the past.


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