The Guardian 2 July, 2008

Former Bolivian "Minister of Death"
granted asylum in US

Jean-Guy Allard

Carlos Sánchez Berzaín, a strongman for the murderous Sánchez de Lozada administration who ordered the 2003 massacre of workers in Bolivia and who George W Bush is now allowing to relax on the beaches of Miami, calls himself Chulupi, the Guaraní word for cockroach.

If being a collaborator of the Central Intelligence Agency gave off any kind of odour, Carlos Sánchez Berzaín would be smelled a mile away.

His entire past shows him to be a faithful servant of the United States, exactly as the deceased CIA agent Philip Agee described in his book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary.

So nobody was surprised when, on October 5, 2003, Sánchez Berzaín announced to the media that the Movement for Socialism (MAS), led at that time by current president Evo Morales, received "economic resources" from the Venezuelan government to support the social conflicts of the so-called "gas war". The massacres in September and October of 2003 left 74 dead and more than 400 wounded.

After the horrendous events, Sánchez, then Minister of Defence, was dubbed the "Minister of Death".

In 2005, after the re-election of Carlos Mesa, Sánchez Berzaín appeared among the leaders of a campaign in the mainstream media to demonise Evo Morales.

Last March, the Sánchez de Lozada government strongman flew to the United States with a group of Santa Cruz politicians, for a closed-door meeting with the State Department’s Office of Hemispheric Affairs.

During the meeting, he informed his imperial friends of the most recent events in Bolivia and got his orders as to the strategy against the government of Carlos Mesa, Evo and the MAS, with the central idea of accusing them of conspiring with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

At the same time, the autonomy referendum in Santa Cruz was planned, the strategy of obstructing the Constituent Assembly was outlined and the necessity of approving a law guaranteeing profits to transnational oil companies, leaving very little for Bolivia, was emphasised.

Like many former Latin American murderous politicians, Sánchez Berzaín lives in Miami, where he joined the law firm of the former US Ambassador to Bolivia, Manuel Rocha.

Rocha maintains a close relationship with the local Cuban-American mafia.

Those on Miami’s 8th Street reported his brilliant career as a lawyer in Bolivia, where, they said, he defended well-known drug traffickers, among them Techo de Paja and Barbas Chocas".

It was no surprise that the George W Bush administration was quick to provide asylum for the former minister of defence. As the news spread, Rogelio Mayta, lawyer for the leadership committee of the Bolivian accountability court trying former government officials, emphasised that the granting of asylum by the current occupant of the White House would freeze Bolivia’s request for the extradition of Sánchez Berzaín and former president Sánchez de Lozada himself.

Sánchez Berzaín received the White House’s blessing during the height of the dirty war against Latin America, enjoying the same impunity Luis Posada Carriles and his anti-Cuban mafia do, as well as various opponents of the Bolivarian government in Venezuela who have found sanctuary in Miami.


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