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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:
Years of consideration preceding the inclusion of the word “phat” in Random House’s 1996 Compact Unabridged Dictionary:
Scientists created crash helmets that stink when cracked and fruit flies to whom blue light smells delicious.
In Belize, a construction company bulldozed a 2,300-year-old Mayan temple to make road fill.
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