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December 27, 2001

Narco News 2001

A Narco News Global Alert

Argentina Seeks

Banzer's Extradition

Judge Orders Bolivian General:

Defend "Plan Condor" Crimes

Court Seeks Testimony by

Kissinger on U.S. Complicity

Assassination of Opposition Leaders,

Kidnapping of Babies, the Charge

Bolivian General Hugo Banzer Has
January 3rd Appointment in DC Hospital

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

By Reuters News Agency (original in Spanish)

December 27, 2001

Argentina Judge Seeks Capture of

General Banzer for "Plan Condor"


An Argentine federal judge, on Wednesday, sought the capture with the goal of extraditing ex Bolivian president Hugo Banzer, in a case that investigates the existence of a joint plan by the military regimes of the Southern Cone in the 1970s to eliminate opposition leaders.

"It's the right thing to do. We seek it because of Plan Condor… The charge is racketeering, the same charges that have been made against the ex repressor of Argentina, Jorge Rafael Videla and for the ex Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet," Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral told Reuters.

Plan Condor, an alleged conspiracy between the de facto regimes of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brasil and Paraguay, supposedly coordinated the actions by military, police and intelligence forces by their different countries inside the national territories of their own to kidnap and eventually disappear opposition leaders.

General Banzer, a military official who governed as dictator between 1971 and 1978, and who returned to power by democratic means in 1997, resigned on August 6th from the Bolivian presidency due to advanced lung cancer. "I think that the conditions exist," said the Judge, asked about the real possibility that Banzer could be arrested and extradited to the country. The last military dictatorship that governed Argentina between 1976 and 1983 left between 15,000 and 30,000 people disappeared. But the military officials benefited from the amnesty laws of 1986 and 1987 and were later pardoned in 1990 by then-president Carlos Menem.

The only crime that is not covered by the pardon law is that of the kidnapping of children of pregnant women who were kidnapped and tortured in clandestine detention centers, where they gave birth.

According to judicial sources, the amnesty can not impede the advance of the case against Plan Condor, because the pardon only applies to the dictators in their role as military officials and the case by Judge Canicoba Corral investigates the political responsibility of the officials in their positions as presidents.

The ex Argentina dictator Videla, who is facing charges for racketeering and as author of 72 disappearances is under hous arrest because of Plan Condor and the theft of babies during the military dictatorship.

Canicoba solicited the detention with goals of extradition against Pinochet and retired Uruguay general Julio Vadora on August 20th. He also sent a judicial order to the United States to solicit the testimony of ex secretary of state Henry Kissinger under the suspicion that the United States government, between 1973 and 1977, knew of the existence of the Plan.

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

From the ANF News Agency, Bolivia

The Government Has No Opinion

The Bolivian Government will not respond in any way to the international arrest warrant against Hugo Banzer Suarez, by the Argentina Federal Justice Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, until the request is formally made.

The Government Information Minister Mauro Bertero said that he has only seen press reports, and awaits the legal paperwork from Canicoba Corral through the Foreign Ministry.

"The government doesn't express any opinion about this issue until it can see the official request of the judge who has the case," said Bertero.

However, on repeated occasions, President Jorge Quiroga Ramirez said that there is a "profound" respect to the former presidents for their bringing democracy to the country, in spite of the charges filed by members of Congress. In the case of the order against Banzer, Bertero said that hypothetical statements should not be made and he awaits a reading of the order…

From the EFE News Service, Spain

Banzer claims legal action

against him is unfounded

Former Bolivian President Hugo Banzer on Wednesday dismissed as unfounded an Argentine judge's attempt to prosecute him for the disappearance of opponents to his military regime. Banzer, de facto president of Bolivia from 1971-1978, allegedly repressed political opponents under the so-called Condor Plan - the coordinated actions of the military governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay to repress suspected leftists.

Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral has issued an arrest warrant for the purpose of extraditing Banzer to help investigate and clarify the Condor Plan. According to Nationalist Action Party (ADN) Executive Secretary Guillermo Fortun, Banzer will wait until he receives official notice of the charges through the Bolivian foreign ministry before commenting further on the allegations. Banzer, elected president in 1997 following his de facto rule, resigned in August with lung and liver cancer for which he is being treated at a Washington military hospital.

Fortun labeled the arrest warrant a "strange move" by the Argentine judge, adding that the ruling will not alter Banzer's plans to travel to Washington on Jan. 3 to receive additional medical treatment.

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