1. On December 5,
1977, the Commission received the following denunciation:
Antonio Guachalla Viaña, a 24 year old student is a prisoner in the
Department of Political Order in La Paz. In the early morning of April
2, 1976, the apartment belonging to Carlos Arispe Terrazas, located on
Sucre St. in La Paz, was broken into. In addition to the owner, Edwin
Guachalla and Miguel Mendoza were also in the apartment. Agents of the
DOP (Department of Political Order) rushed in, firing guns, in order to
physically eliminate the occupants of the house. As a result of this
occurrence, Edwin Guachalla received 4 gun shot wounds: 1 in his head
(slight), 2 in his abdomen (serious), and 1 on his leg (serious). Carlos
Arispe died as a result of the incident.
was transferred in serious condition to the DOP detention center to be
subjected to torture and interrogation, without regard for his
condition. Subsequently, he fell into a coma and had to be transferred
to the Police clinic, where he underwent surgery. While he was in the
clinic, agents of the Banzer government tortured him with blows from
boles (a lariat with balls) on his wounded leg.
May 1, he was taken out of the clinic to an unknown destination.
According to the nurses, Edwin was still very weak, but he walked out.
Ten days later, his mother was given authorization to see him from the
door of the cell of the DOP in La Paz, where he was stretched out on a
makeshift bed, unable to stand up. This is proof of the fact that during
the ten days during which his family was unaware of his whereabouts, he
was subjected to torture which left him totally prostrated.
the following six months, he was kept incommunicado and in
handcuffs. For sixty days, he was shackled to the wall with his arms
above his head. At the same time, he was subject to constant
interrogation under psychological and physical torture. Later, they took
off the handcuffs, which left scars on his writs.
is still in detention sharing a cell with four other people, in a very
precarious state of health, due particularly to the fact that the bullet
was never taken out of his leg; as a result he limps, and suffers
intense pain, but does not receive proper medical attention.
Furthermore, he is still not allowed to communicate with members of his
family, and the interrogations and the torture continue.”
2. In a note of
April 5, 1978, the Commission transmitted the pertinent parts of the
denunciation to the Government of Bolivia, asking 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
April 2, 1976, during an operation carried out by Security Forces on a
safe-house of extremists in Sucre Street in the city of La Paz, where he
was hiding along with the ‘Dardo’ group of the PRT-B, Edwin
Guachalla was wounded after shooting down Mario Rosales Márquez, a
detective. He fled, but was subsequently captured in the Villa San
Antonio area of La Paz . The guerrilla, Carlos Arispe Terrazas, was also
killed in the skirmish. Before he was detained, he was responsible for
distributing subversive propaganda for the PRT-B, particularly in
factories, and he was Rubén Sánchez’s contact in the city of
Cochabamba. He received military training, ran checks on import houses,
and carried out kidnappings of top industry, business and government
December 1977, he was brought before the Court to be tried for crimes
against the security of the State, in a criminal prosecution for the
death of detective Mario Rosales Márquez. He has now been released,
under the amnesty decreed by the Supreme Government.
4. The pertinent
parts of the Government’s reply were transmitted to the complainant in
a letter of June 28, 1978, and he was invited to make observations on
the reply. To date, the complainant has made no observations on the
1. The Government
of Bolivia replied to the Commission’s request that it provide
information on 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 of 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 event of the
denunciation related to torture to be 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) that it 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) that it 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 complainant.
5. To include this
Resolution in the Annual Report of the Commission to the General
Assembly of the Organization of American States, in conformity with
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 have adopted.
at the 610th meeting of March 7, 1979 (46th
Session) and transmitted to the Government of Bolivia).