Friday, July 10, 2009

Luis Arce Gomez, the "Minister of Cocaine," Sent to Bolivia to Serve Jail Time for Human Rights Violations

Bolivian Colonel Luis Arce Gomez, a military officer who helped bring about right-wing dictator Luis García Meza Tejada's 13-month repressive regime, has been deported to Bolivia, where he will face jail for human rights abuses after serving a jail-term for drug crimes in the U.S. Although barely lasting more than a year, the military killed more than 1000 Bolivians during García Meza's brief reign. Arce Gomez, now 71, can look forward to spending the rest of his life in jail as he begins a 30-year sentence for "human rights violations including genocide, armed uprising, constitutional violations, and murder." Gomez was so in favor of repressive measures and state-sponsored killings as the Secretary of the Interior during García Meza's regime that he notoriously claimed that Bolivians should "walk around with their written will under their arms." In addition to his human rights abuses, Arce Gomez was closely tied to drug cartels, ties that earned him the nickname "Minister of Cocaine," as well as the 17-year jail sentence he served in the United States. To understand just how repugnant the García Meza government was, one simply needs to know that even Ronald Reagan distanced himself from the Bolivian dictator, even while he cozied up to repressive regimes in Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Lillie has more.