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For nearly four decades, there’s been an open question about the 1971 coup that brought dictator Hugo Banzer Suárez to power in Bolivia: was the U.S. government involved? Thanks to newly declassified documents, we now have an answer…
Banzer was a dictator of Bolivia from 1971-8 and a democratically elected president from 1997-2001. His three-?day coup in August 1971 was significant not only for the fighting that accompanied it, which left 110 dead and 600 wounded, but for the seven-?year regime that followed, one of the most repressive in Bolivia’s history. Under Banzer’s rule, more than 14,000 Bolivians were arrested without a judicial order, more than 8,000 were tortured—with electricity, water, beatings—and more than 200 were executed or disappeared…
A collection of declassified documents recently released by the same State Department proves that…the Nixon Administration, acting with the full knowledge of the State Department, authorized nearly half a million dollars—”coup money,” according to the ambassador in La Paz—for the politicians and military officers plotting against Torres. The CIA handed at least some of this money over to the coup’s leaders in the days leading up to Banzer’s seizure of power.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Estimated cost of the environmental damage caused each year by the world’s 3,000 largest companies:
Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.
Beekeepers began extracting 1 million honeybees living beneath the siding of a house in New York State.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”