Cerdo Fascista = ”Fascist pig”!
A member of the Swedish section of REVOLUTION is currently travelling Bolivia. This dispatch from Cochabamba is the second in a series of reports on the Swedish REVOLUTION website. Part one, from Sucre, is here.
Since 1993, the inhabitants of Cochabamba have had to put up with the right-wing politician Manfred Reyes Villa – first as their mayor, and now as state governor. infamous for his contempt of the workers and social movements of Bolivia, Reyes Villa held part of the responsibility for the massacre of protesters during the Water Wars of 2000. Over the next couple of days, REVOLUTION will post a series of articles on this despised governor. This article deals with Manred Reyes Villa’s connections with the U.S. operated military centre La Escuela de las Americas.
After graduating from Colegio Israelita of La Paz in 1973, Manfred continued his studies at Colegio Militar. Three years later, he completed his education by taking a course at La Escuela de Las Americas. Manfred graduated from La Escuela de Las Americas in April, 1976 after completing the course Combat Arms Basic C-2.
Founded in Panama by the United States back in 1946, La Escuela de las Americas played a major part in the formation of the élite group of generals who were to rule a number of Latin American countries by coup d’états and Fascist dictatorships during the 1970’s. Graduates include Pinochet (dictator of Chile 1974-90), Videla (dictator of Argentina 1976-81), Hugo Banzer (dictator of Bolivia 1971-78), Luìs Arce Gòmez, Mario Escobari Guerra and Avelino Rivero Parada (who were all ministers in the administration of the Bolivian dictator Luis Garcia Meza – see below), Vladimiro Montesinos (former head Peru’s intelligence service, now charged with a wide number of illegal activities, including corruption, murder and drug trafficking), Tito Montaño and Freddy Quiroga (murdered thousands of Bolivian during the dictatorship of Garcia Meza – now sentenced to, respectively, 50 and 20 years in jail), and many more of the same wretched kind.
More than two thirds of the people involved in the massacres in El Salvador had a diploma from La Escuela de las Americas – including 10 of 12 charged with the bloodbath in the village of El Mozote, where over 900 men, women and children were executed.
The school curriculum includes sophisticated torture techniques. A leaked manual used by the school details – complete with pictures – how to keep a suspect alive while administrating electric shock torture.
Because of its shady courses, and considering the students it has trained, the school is commonly nicknamed ”escuela de los asesinos”, the school of murderers. The nickname is no exaggeration. Many of the people with blood on their hands from the torture and ”disappearances” of thousands of Latin Americans graduated from there. And it’s not only true for the abhorring dictatorships of the 1970’s and ’80s. In the aftermath of the Water Wars, videos and witnesses surfaced, revealing how Robinson Iriarte, a captain in the military dressed in civilian clothes, fired his gun against a group of unarmed protesters. 17 year old Victor Hugo Daza was killed. Robinson Iriarte was a graduate from La Escuela de las Americas.
La Escuela de las Americas, or SOA – School of the Americas, as it is called in English, has now changed its name to WHINSEC – Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in an attempt to make people forget their rotten past. Not impressively, eight hours of mandatory studies in ”democracy” and ”human rights” have been added to the curriculum. Fortunately, this hasn’t stopped a big number of Latin American countries from critisising WHINSEC; in 2004, Venezuela ceased sending soldiers there for training, Argentina followed suit in 2006 on the initiative of president Kirchner; also in 2006, Uruguay stated they’d continue their boycott of the school; in 2007 Costa Rica (which doesn’t have an army) ceased sending policemen; and in 2008, Morales announced that no Bolivian soldiers or policemen will be sent to WHINSEC.
The purpose of La Escuela de las Americas is and has always been to teach the methods of U.S. imperialism. Their motto is ”Libertad, Paz y Fraternidad” — Peace, freedom and fraternity (brotherhood). Manfred Reyes Villa is one of these La Escuela de Americas brothers!
Next article will report on Manfred’s cooperation with the dictator Luis Garcia Meza.