Probe: Bolivian Peasant Killings an Anti-Gov. Massacre

Source: Democracy Now!

In Bolivia, a regional investigative panel has labeled the killings of at least twenty people in anti-government protests in September a “massacre.” The victims were peasant supporters of Bolivian President Evo Morales. They died in what Morales called an attempted coup against his government in Pando province. The head of the South American bloc UNASUR’s investigation, Rodolfo Mattarollo, said the murderers acted in consort with Morales’s right-wing opponents.

Rodolfo Matarollo: “On September 11, 2008, in the village of Porvenir and in other places in the province of Pando, a massacre occurred, in the sense that term is employed by the United Nations. Although some people acted upon self-interest, those who attacked the peasants did it in an organized manner and responded, according to some witnesses, to authorities with the help of government staff and goods belonging to the province’s government, which served the criminals.”

Morales said the UNSASUR findings backed his concerns political opponents are trying to derail his government and avoid a January referendum on advancing his social programs.

Bolivian President Evo Morales: “This investigation confirms what the Bolivian people have been experiencing from August, September until October. This was an attempt of a civilian state coup, and now that we are better informed, we know that some opposition members have proposed to end with Evo Morales’s government from August to next year’s January referendum.”