In regards to General Cesar López and his implication in the massacre of 2003

Comité Impulsor, June 19, 2007

La Paz - Last Tuesday, June 19, the media publicised a “secret” report providing evidence that General Cesar López, at the time Chief of the General Staff of the Army, and current National Director of Customs, arranged for the Force Against Terrorism “Chachapuma”, FCTC, to destroy antennas belonging to specific media outlets and to arrest social leaders. We would like to clarify the following in regards to this matter:

  1. General Cesar López has not been charged as part of the trial of responsibility for the massacre of September and October, 2003; but neither has he been exonerated of responsibility. His conduct is being investigated.
  2. General Cesar López was called upon to present his declaration and he did not turn up, which should be motive to emit an order of apprehension against him wich has not been executed until this day.
  3. Still pending is the deliverance of a declaration by General Cesar López, determining the degree of his responsibility in the massacre, his possible processing or exoneration of blame.
  4. Putting aside this document that has been made public, it seems common sense to think that the Chief of the General Staff of the Army was implicated in the events of repression and the massacre of October 2003 or that at least he had knowledge of who was responsible, solely due to the attributions and responsibilities that the law established.

“The Chief of the General Staff of the Force is the principal advisor to the General Commander, and has the following attributions and responsibilities:

a. Direct, coordinate and supervise the activities of the General Staff with the aim of achieving unity in action.

b. Give instructions and orders in compliance with the decisions of the General Commander of the Force.

c. Maintain their commander informed on the development of the activities of their Force.

d. Acquire the personnel and means necessary for the General Staff to function.

e. Elaborate the General Plan of Activities of the General Staff of the Army”

Article 70 of Law 1405, Organic Law of the Armed Forces of the Nation, December 30, 1992

5. It has been asked of us whether we are requesting the resignation or exoneration of General Cesar López from his position of Director National of Customs, we want to leave it clear that it is not up to us to make declarations over this issue, it is the government who should explain to those it governs, including us, why it has amongst its high ranking directors someone who according to the law was involved in the massacre of September and October 2003.

6. Finally we reaffirm our demand for justice and our commitment, to the end, to find justice, until those responsible for the massacre of the Bolivian people are tried and sentenced.

Comité Impulsor is the coordinating committee of various Bolivian civil society groups and associations demanding that Goni be put on trial for the September and October 2003 massacres.

Translated from Ukhampacha


Luis A. Gómez said...

Evo's New General
César López and the October Insurrection
Luis A. Gómez
June 22, 2007
La Paz -

Ex-military officer and current Minister of the Presidency Juan Ramón Quintana says that César López is his very close friend and a military officer with a stainless record. Similarly, during the January 13th ceremony in which López was named “interim executive President” of the National Custom’s Office, President Evo Morales spoke of López’s transparency and honesty. It was just a few days later that the denouncements about his participation in the massacre against the Bolivian people in September and October 2003 began to surface. And it was then that the debate began.

Evo and his collaborators in the ceremony in which César López became President of Bolivian Customs.

There are of course many versions of the story. But there is one indisputable reality: ex-General López was the Chief of the Army in 2003, under the command of ex-General Juan Véliz who has charges pending in the trial against ex-President Sánchez de Lozada and his collaborators for the death of more than 60 civilians, including young children. That is to say, as the principle operating officer in his section of the Armed Forces, López had to have know what would happen when unarmed people were ordered killed during what’s known as the “Gas War”.

Or not? Minister Quintana doesn’t think so, and has stated that there is testimony that proved that “in the most difficult days of October 2003, [López] was with his people.” Where was he?, asks this correspondent who covered the mobilizations against Sánchez de Lozada from within. Accompanied by current Vice-President Alvaro García Linera at almost every moment, we never saw General López. So it would be great if the Minister of the Presidency would provide the mentioned testimonies, that is if he does really believe his close friend.
The Relatives’ Lawsuit

It would also be great if López would share what he knows about those turbulent days with the rest of us. At least that’s what the relatives of the killed in October 2003 say according to their public statement that we published a few days ago. In the text signed by the Coordinating Committee for the Trail Against Sánchez de Lozada, it is clear that the ex-General has no charges pending, but that López has refused to come forward and give sworn statements regarding the events. For this reason, Attorney General Mario Uribe put a warrant out for his arrest on December 7, 2006.

The Committee’s statement explains that the testimony César López refuses to give would serve to “determine the extent of his responsibility in the massacre, his possible processing or his exoneration.” This doesn’t seem to bother President Evo Morales, who since last Wednesday has said that naming López was his decision and that to make that decision he consulted various of people such as Vice-President and Vice-Minister Sacha Llorenti. Indeed, Llorenti was a member of the group that began the legal process on behalf of the 2003 victims in his prior role as President of Bolivia’s Permanent Assembly on Human Rights. But in the end, López is now head Custom’s agent.

To clarify the situation, we spoke with Dr. Rogelio Mayta, legal coordinator and of the Committee and the relative’s representative. Mayta explained that even though military law clearly explains César López’s functions as Army Chief in 2003, neither Mayta nor those he represents are demanding his resignation. Rather, they want explanations. “We have already said it in our statement: it’s the government that has to explain why they designated this man,” Mayta concluded.

Tired yet of the Minister of the Presidency’s declarations? Because Juan Ramón Quintana has said that he’s known this friend since he studied in Military School—during two years when César López was in charge of the institution. Quintana was even a witness at his wedding. You make the call.
Chachapumas in Conflict

“Chachapumas” is a mythic Andean nickname—and is the label given to Bolivian Army’s elite anti-terrorist group. This unit enters into the debacle as well: an official document released by the Combined Anti-Terrorist Task Force implicates César López in possible attacks on media outlets and the arrest of several social movement leaders in October 2003. The report’s author says that López gave the order. Another another official—a former Chachapumas member—denies the document’s validity and affirms that López had nothing to do with the incidents. Either way, the report remains part of the case files in the trial against Sánchez de Lozada.

Obviously, the government ratifying of César López brought on a rightwing attack. A Senator from the opposition party Podemos has been the most outspoken. Wálter Guiteras has gone near and far talking about military repressors—as if the Bolivian people didn’t know that Guiteras was Minister of Government for General Hugo Banzer Suárez and that, as such, was behind many of the repressive acts that killed coca growers in the Chapare and Aymara community members and that he was key in the repression during the 2000 Water War in Cochabamba.

“You see?,” Rogelio Mayta affirmed. “The best thing to do is not become part of the [political party] game. We maintain our demand that López come forward now more than ever. This ex-officer who says he was not involved in the October [2003] events must make a sworn statement.” Lieutenant Colonel Rory Rodríguez is the name of the anti-terrorist angel who says that César López is innocent.

Before finishing our conversation with Mayta, we pointed out to him that López’s defense attorney says that this all has to do with revenge. We still don’t know exactly what the lawyer is defending López of, but he happens to be the same lawyer (Gonzalo Valenzuela) who defended the current Armed Forces leadership against Dr. Rogelio Mayta when they refused to lift the military confidentiality classification to help in the case against Sánchez de Lozada. Curious, don’t you think? Because López is no longer an officer.

“Sure. Could be,” Mayta responded. “But as I said: if the government says that we are living in times of change, they must explain all of this to the people.” And he is right, because this correspondent has no explanation for why the Government palace is defending César López so much. Do you?

Bolivia Rising said...


Former Staff Chief is key witness against Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada

- Retired General Cesar López denounces that he is victim of a discredit campaign since he has denounced the delivery of missiles to USA. That campaign, he assures, it’s sustained by the military men that betrayed the country when allowing the deactivation of those missiles.

La Paz, July 23th (ABI).- Former Staff Chief and also former Army Commandant, Gen. Cesar López, revealed today in the Republic’s General Office that the military men that gave the only missiles of the Bolivian air defense were trying to involve him in the 2003 October massacre to weaken his image in front of the civil society that offered resistance against to Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada government.

He assured that in his condition of Staff Chief, during the gloomy events of 2003, he didn't have under his command any military unit and manifested that the case nexuses for those that he is being related with arise from a vengeance of military sectors that involved him with the presentation of fake proofs.

On the other hand, the Republic’s General Office emitted an explanatory certificate in which fiscal Mirna Arancibia affirms that "the accusatory propositions and formal imputation (of October case) don't consign the petitioner’s name (Cesar López)", consequently weakening that the now president of the National Customhouse was being processed with the military and former authorities that were responsible for civilian deaths during Sánchez de Lozada Government.

General district attorney, Mario Uribe, received in his office General López testimony about his participation in October crisis, when the retired military man worked as Staff Chiefs, without having the command under no soldier neither an operative unit as the secret Anti-terrorist Force “Chacha Puma” (F-10).

The General Office summoned López once it was known the existence of a military report sent by Colonel Nelson Flores, commander of the F-10, in which he affirms general López ordered the antennas destruction of channels that were contrary to Sánchez de Lozada Government.

After making his witnesses declaration in the General Office, López affirmed: "The report was given as a cowardly act of vengeance against me by those who betrayed the country trough the delivery of the only missiles of the Bolivian air defense to a foreign nation in order to get them destroyed".

It was known that the former army commandant explained to Fiscal Uribe that he did not presented to the first summoning due to his condition of military man of the active reservation and required the General Command authorization for his presentation in the General Office.

"Once I had that permission I just could say today (Monday) my truth in front of the discredit campaign that carried out those military men that betrayed Bolivia and wanted to avoid the social movement assent to the leadering role of the country", he said.

Gen. Cesar López is not an unknown military in the political field, at most when in Carlos Mesa government, he was General Army Comander, and also in Eduardo Rodríguez, governement he pointed at the process that maintained the stability of the first one, the legal assent of the second to Government's palace and the peaceful elections that then raised Evo Morales as President of the Republic, among accusations and suspicions of a coup d’étate on one sector of the Army.

Gen. López is being investigated for assumed attacks that suffered some sectors of the media during the gas war and whose relationship was presented by the then Army Commander, that’s why the Public Ministry included him among the witnesses in the case of Black October.

"The military man who ordered the missiles were delivered and the one who executed this order fulfilled his vengeance, at the time it was believed that I was going to be Minister of Defense in Evo Morales government and in second place, when I assumed the direction of the National Customhouse; obviously to discredit me in front of the civil society that offered resistance against Sánchez de Lozada Government", López also declared.

"I never had control under any Antiterrorist Force F-10 that depended only and exclusively of the General Captain of the Army, that’s to say the President of the Republic, and of the Staff Chief", he said.

"Colonel Flores report, in which he affirms that I had control was publicly belied by the commandant of that special unit himself, Rory Rodríguez", he said.

He admitted he worked as Staff Chief that is not equal to the position of sub-commander or commander of operative forces. "The Staff Chief doesn't order, doesn't command, doesn't define, doesn't decide, doesn't make use of the troop, but he is a functional and formal adviser", he explained.


The General District attorney of the Republic didn't emit any decision about General López and stated that he is not being imputed for the events of October but as a key witness for the accusation against the military and civil authorities that were responsible for the death of several people during the crisis of October of 2005 and now, after his witnesses declaration.

The missiles case is being handled by the National Congress waiting an authorization to begin a responsibilities trial against former President Eduardo Rodríguez, and his army commandants, among them general Marcelo Antezana, colonel Nelson Flores and other former military bosses that are waiting to be summoned in order to declare at the General Office of the Republic. ABI//