Bolivian 'Minister of death' gets US asylum — Why they let the cockroach in

Issue 

The article below, by Jean-Guy Allard, is reprinted from Cuban newspaper Granma on June 16. According to a June 18 Xinhuanet.com article, thousands of people protested outside the US embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, against the decision and demanding Carlos Sanchez Berzain's extradition — prompting the US to recall its ambassador to report on the situation. Bolivian President Evo Morales defended the protests, stating that the protest "isn't any attack", but "is the reaction of the people against US government policies", which grant asylum to genocide suspects and protect criminals.

Carlos Sanchez Berzain, a strongman for the murderous Sanchez de Lozada administration who ordered the 2003 massacre of workers in Bolivia and who US President George Bush is now allowing to relax on the beaches of Miami, calls himself chulupi, the Guarani word for cockroach.

If being a collaborator of the CIA gave off any kind of odor, Berzain would be smelled a mile away.

His entire past shows him to be a faithful servant of the US, 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, Berzain announced to the media that the Morales-led Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) received "economic resources" from the Venezuelan government to support the social conflicts of the so-called "gas war". The massacres in September and October 2003 left 74 dead and more than 400 wounded.

After the horrendous events, Sanchez, then minister of defense, was dubbed the "minister of death".

In 2005, Berzain appeared among the leaders of a campaign in the mainstream media to demonize Morales.

In March 2005, the Sanchez de Lozada government strongman flew to the US with a group of opposition politicians for a closed-door meeting with the US 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 MAS, with the central idea of accusing them of conspiring with Venezuela.

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, Berzain 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.

The big mouths on Miami's 8th Street reported his brilliant career as a lawyer in Bolivia, where, they said, he defended well-known drug traffickers. It's been reported that he performed miracles getting a relative out of jail in Chile, imprisoned for possession of narcotics.

It was no surprise that the Bush administration was quick to provide asylum for the former minister of defense.

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 US would freeze Bolivia's request for the extradition of Berzain and former president Sanchez de Lozada himself.

Berzain 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.

This scandalous support to one of the continent's most well-known murderers confirms the continuing US policy of protecting "its" criminals while presuming to lecture the world as to how to fight terrorism and drug trafficking.

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