This is not a new story, and in the context of repressive oligarchy it’s frankly a really old one. What is new, is that this may be the only readable English translation of the report that originally appeared at Bolpress on April 5, 2008. Democratic Underground was all over the story, but had to rely on a Google translation.
There are several interesting aspects to the story. One is that in the version that appeared in the mainstream press, Ronald Larsen claimed that Bolivia’s Vice Minister for agrarian reform showed up at his ranch at 3 in the morning, drunk, and because Larsen didn’t know who he was, he shot out the tire on the Vice Minister’s car to “shut him up.” Of course this fanciful version leaves out a few details, such as the 24 foot trailer he parked on the road (among other things) to block the Vice Minister’s entrance, and the brazen attack on the 80 or so people who accompanied the Vice Minister. Larsen may have to go back to Montana and see if he can figure out how to make a living when he has to pay his “employees” a living wage.
Which brings us to the second interesting aspect. There are reportedly 12 Bolivian families living on Larsen’s pleasure ranch. Depending on the source, they are either indentured servants with no hope of escape, or happy little Bolivian campers. Judging by the nature of a boss who settles arguments at gunpoint, Machetera will leave you to draw your own conclusions. Certainly one has to wonder about what Larsen didn’t want the Vice Minister to see.