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Bolivia: The Association of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared (ASOFAMD) and other associations or groups working in 1997 or 1998 on behalf of those disappeared during the regime of Colonel Banzer

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 January 1999
Citation / Document Symbol BOL30801.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Bolivia: The Association of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared (ASOFAMD) and other associations or groups working in 1997 or 1998 on behalf of those disappeared during the regime of Colonel Banzer, 1 January 1999, BOL30801.E, available at: [accessed 24 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


The information that follows adds to that provided in BOL30226.E of 22 October 1998 and BOL15399.E of 12 November 1993.

On 13 May 1997, during the presidential election campaign, the Bolivian news agency ERBOL reported that ASOFAMD was running television "spots" or advertisements denouncing abuses committed under the regime of Hugo Banzer. One of three spots was banned by an electoral tribunal, which deemed that its comparison of Banzer with former dictator Luis Garcia Meza was inaccurate, since Garcia Meza had been convicted of abuses while Banzer had not. However, two other spots were allowed to be shown freely. The same news summary reports that ASOFAMD and the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights in Oruro (APDHO) had placed posters denouncing Banzer's regime; these posters were vandalized by militants of Banzer's Nationalist Democratic Action (AND) party and threatened the leaders of the groups that posted them.

In late-1998 and under the new Banzer presidency, the leader of the opposition Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR) party followed on the arrest in Britain of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet by calling for an investigation into the past abuses committed under the 1970s regime of Hugo Banzer (The Economist 7 Nov. 1998). Although The Economist reports that the calls were motivated at least in part by an internal power struggle within the MNR, other sources report that "opposition politicians" demanded an investigation into Banzer's participation in Operation Condor (an international clandestine operation to eliminate dissidents mentioned in previous Responses), while "union and student organizations began to hold meetings in preparation for a campaign to demand an airing of the issue" (Latin American Weekly Report 3 Nov. 1998, 507; ibid. 1 Dec. 1998, 564).

After Pinochet's arrest, an Argentine journalist "reminded Banzer of cases linking Bolivia to Operation Condor" in an open October 1998 letter (Latinamerica Press 12 Nov. 1998, 3). In December 1998 a United States Maryknoll priest who worked as a missionary in Bolivia during the Banzer regime of the 1970s denounced publicly, and before Spanish judicial authorities handling the case against General Pinochet, the abuses committed in Bolivia under Banzer (Weekly News Update on the Americas 20 Dec. 1998). However, the report does not indicate whether he represents the current stand or activities of the Maryknoll order.

The Research Directorate was unable to communicate with ASOFAMD and other Bolivian sources within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see below the list of sources consulted in researching this information request.


The Economist [London]. 7 November 1998. "Bolivia. And You, General?" (NEXIS)

ERBOL [La Paz]. 13 May 1997. "Resumen matinal de la Agencia ERBOL." [Internet] [Accessed 25 Jan. 1999]

Latin American Weekly Report [London]. 1 December 1998. "Pinochet Case Fall-Out."

_____. 3 November 1998. "Banzer Hit By Pinochet Fallout."

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 12 November 1998. "Banzer Denies Knowledge of Condor."

Weekly News Update on the Americas [New York]. 20 December 1998. No. 464. "U.S. Priest Exposes SOA Link to Operation Condor." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Andean Newsletter [Lima]. 1997-98.

Latin American Regional Reports: Andean Group Report [London]. 1997-98.

News from Americas Watch [New York]. 1997-98.

Electronic sources: IRB Databases, Global NewsBank, NEXIS, Internet, Refworld, WNC.


             This list is not exhaustive. Country-specific books available in the Resource Centre are not included.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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