1. On December 5,
1977, the Commission received the following denunciation:
Burgoa, professor, was arrested in La Paz, and was imprisoned for two
years, during which time, she was physically and mentally tortured. She
was first in the Department of Political Order (DOP), and was then sent
to the ‘Achocalla’ torture center, where she was tortured repeatedly
because she had refused to deceive the Commissioners of Amnesty
International and tell them that the cell where she was, was in fact the
place where she was imprisoned. The real cells were inside in the
‘stone house’; where the other women prisoners were being held. Her
attitude led them to discover the real cells and the inhumane conditions
in which the prisoners were being held. And this was the reason why she
was severely tortured.
agents Luciano Vargas, Víctor Balbian, Mayor Mena, and agents Lourdes,
María Luisa and Charo committed the most indescribable attacks on this
prisoner. In addition to this, she was taken for three months to the
Viacha prison, along with Amalia Rada (who appealed to Amnesty
International for her husband’s corpse) and Aída Pedrañaz who
Burgoa was tortured in the office of the DOP, before she was taken to
‘Achocalla’, in the torture room called the ‘little blue room’.
does still not have complete freedom, but is under ‘house arrest’
(residenciada) in La Paz under the illegal Security of the State Law.
of the prisoners reported her case because they were held entirely
incommunicado; because, it was physically impossible for them to do so;
and because no relative dared do so (for fear of being imprisoned in
turn), and also because the press pays no attention to any
2. In a note dated
April 5, 1978, the Commission transmitted the pertinent parts of the
denunciation to the Government of Bolivia, and asked it to provide the
3. In a
communication of June 5, 1978, the Government of Bolivia, without
referring to torture, replied to the Commission’s request in the
Elsa Burgoa, an active militant in the National Liberation Army (ELN),
detained on April 20, 1972, was recruited to that Organization by
‘Irma’, and was a member of the cell of Danitza Alba del Castillo,
alias ‘Teresa’. She worked with Elmo Catalán alias ‘Ricardo’ in
making uniforms and packs for the guerrilla wars in the Teoponte zone.
She worked with Hilda Artéz ‘Pilar’, and was responsible for
receiving the mail for the ELN. She was also the ELN liaison inside the
country and abroad, during these guerrilla activities.
February 1973, she was released, pledging to undertake no political
activity against the Nationalist Government. She has presently been
granted amnesty under the General Amnesty of January 1978.
4. The pertinent
parts of the Government’s reply were transmitted to the complainant in
a letter dated 28 June 1978, and he was invited to make observations on
the reply. To date, the complainant has made no observations to the
1. The Government
of Bolivia replied to the Commission’s request for information
regarding the events denounced, but without referring to torture;
2. Article 51.1 of
the Regulations of the Commission provides as follows:
The occurrence of the events on which information has been
requested will be presumed to be confirmed if the Government referred to
has not supplied such information within 180 days after the request,
provided always, that the invalidity of the events denounced is not
shown by other elements of proof.
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, RESOLVES:
1. On the basis of
Article 51.1 of the Regulations to presume the material events of the
denunciation related to torture to have been confirmed.
2. To declare that
the Government of Bolivia violated (Article I) right to life, liberty
and personal security of the American Declaration of the Rights and
Duties of Man.
3. To recommend to
the Government of Bolivia: a) to order a complete impartial
investigation to determine responsibility for the events denounced, and
to sanction those responsible for these events, in accordance with
Bolivian law, and b) to inform the Commission within a maximum of 60
days as to the measures taken to put into practice the recommendations
listed in the present Resolution.
4. To communicate
this decision to the Government of Bolivia and to the person filing the
5. To include this
Resolution in the Annual Report of the Commission to the General
Assembly to the Organization of American States, pursuant to Article 9
(bis), paragraph c. iii of the Statute of the Commission, without
prejudice to the fact that the Commission may, at its next session,
reconsider the case in the light of such measures as the Government may
at the 619th meeting of March 7, 1979 (46th
Session) and transmitted to the Government of Bolivia).