Five years ago this month, Bolivian President Gonalo Sánchez de Lozada [everyone calls him "Goni"] ordered his military to suppress civilian protesters. They killed 67 and injured hundreds. Goni fled Bolivia, receiving asylum in the USA. The families of the victims of Black October, 2003 continue to fight for justice, despite numerous setbacks and obstacles.
The U.S. Embassy in Bolivia received this week official letters petitioning extradition of Goni (and two accomplices)--an important step toward ending the impunity they've enjoyed. The documents should arrive in Washington by the end of this week. The US State Department then will determine the fates of Goni and his two helpers.
Your help in the United States, and in other countries, is crucial. Public pressure must be strong on the State Department to respect the Bolivian judicial process and the nonpolitical, multi-party decision on the part of the Bolivian Congress to try Goni and his accomplices for the Black October massacres.
Help spread the word. Inform your organizations, networks, and other contacts. Blog, write letters to the editor, publicize the issue. Here's a useful summary by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs on the case for extradition and its context:
Public actions of solidarity with Bolivia joined to the request for extradition are especially vital to draw attention to Black October, the families of the victims that continue to fight for justice, and the U.S. protection of accused authors of state violence.
Don't take my word for it. Listen to Eva Isabel Carvajal, an investigator with the Center of Superior University Studies in Cochabamba, Boliva, for just one minute: