Luigino Bracci Roa – Yvke Mundial, ABI
Monday, September 15, 2008. 8:57 a.m.
La Paz and Cobija. – This Sunday, the [Bolivian] government reported that various hired assassins who killed peasants from the Pando town of Porvenir, presumably on orders from Prefect Leopoldo Fernández, fled to Brazil. The government has asked the neighboring country to arrest them immediately.
“They (the assassins) have gone to the Brazilian side, we’re making efforts with Brazil so that people carrying weapons may be arrested there, of course this business of carrying weapons is illegal in any part of the world,” said the Defense Minister, Walker San Miguel, referring to the killers who machine-gunned a number of peasants in Pando.
In the early morning hours on Sunday, without the need to resort to lethal weapons, the Armed Forces entered the city of Cobija and later moved into other conflict zones such as Filadelfia and Porvenir, in order to re-establish order and halt the criminal violence unleashed by the paramilitaries and hired assassins sponsored by Pando’s prefect, Leopoldo Fernández.
The peaceful incursion by the Armed Forces was celebrated by Pando’s citizens who’ve lived through days of unrest, above all, after the peasants and indigenous who headed to Cobija for a voluntary gathering, were ambushed in the Tres Barracas area, close to Porvenir, machine-gunned and murdered by assassins at the service of the leader accused of genocide, Leopoldo Fernández.
The spokesman for the presidency, Iván Canelas, and the Vice Minister of Decentralization, in turn confirmed that the soldiers took the capital of Pando gradually and another large group headed for the site of the peasant massacre in order to pacify the place and lend humanitarian aid to the victims and the many wounded.
The bloodiest peasant massacre in [Bolivia’s] democratic history, carried out by hired assassins, left around 20 dead, scores of wounded and missing.
According to the Defense MInister, the military’s entrance to the city of Cobija which took place in the early morning hours on Sunday was consolidated by this afternoon, taking points considered critical such as the Civic Committee where the so-called institutional resistance groups held their meetings.
San Miguel indicated that when military forces arrived at the offices of the Civic Committee, they found them abandoned, emptied and with the doors completely locked.
According to reports, said the Minister, many of the citizens who acted as hired assassins against the peasants fled for Brazil, before the arrival of the Armed Forces to react to the state of siege declared by the President last Friday.
“We have additional information, but to act responsibly in the case, we still cannot release it until it has been evaluated by the government ministers and security organizations,” said San Miguel.
The governmental commimssion in Pando, made up of ministers from the presidency, Juan Ramón Quintana and Health, Ramiro Tapia, are giving priority to humanitarian attention to the wounded and killed in the towns of Filadelfia and Porvenir, both scenes of the peasant genocide.
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.