Nil NIKANDROV: European Terrorists in an Attack in Bolivia

8 May, 2009 – Strategic Culture Foundation

Early in the morning April 16th an operation against five terrorists was effected in Santa-Cruz, Bolivia’s separatism epicentre. Wearing black masks, the armed to the teeth commandoes rushed into the lobby of the hotel “Las Americas” in the city’s downtown, taking their positions. Having received their signal they began storming several hotel rooms, where totally unpretentious European tourists had stayed just several days before. The doors were broken, acoustic grenades were exploded and submachine-guns were fired. The Bolivian special service groups were serious about what they did then. Small wonder: in the 1990s those “tourists” were militants of the so-called International Unit that fought against Serbs in the Balkans.

The attackers captured two live terrorists, while others died, unable to put up resistance. Bolivia’s president Evo Morales spoke about this alarming incident.

Meeting his colleagues first at the summit of the ALBA countries (The Bolivarian Initiative for the nations of Latin America) in Venezuela, and then at the 5th Summit of Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. “They planned to kill me, the vice-president and other government officials,” Morales said. “They also wanted to make short work of doing away with some opposition leaders in their provocative intentions.”

Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega and Rafael Correa all denounced the activities of the activities of terrorist groups in Bolivia. The threat of attempts on life is a steady factor accompanying their political activities. Who else can realise that the revolutionary reforms of the Indian president are rejected by the previous ruling elite: no Morales – no problems. The undisguised racism of many “while” Bolivians, especially those who came to that country after the Second World war – Germans, Italians, Croats, many of whom are to blame for the crimes of the Hitler’s Third Reich and Mussolini’s regime.

As a matter of fact Western media responded to the liquidations of the terrorist group in Santa Cruz quietly. This information had something biased in it, as the fight against terrorism still remains a priority of the world community. Bolivian officials have more than once stated that there is in their country a ramified structure of extremist organisations supported from abroad. But, as a rule, there have never been an adequate response to their activities by western media. “This is nothing more than an invention of Morales. There have never been any terrorists and there aren’t now.” The usual double standard is again here to be seen. Suppose a terrorist attack was cut short in London, Brussels, Paris, or some other European city, the events would have been covered globally, entreating people’s sympathy and empathy. Bolivia – it’s the backyard, the geopolitical periphery. What price breaking sticks over it?

The stubborn ignoring, hushing up and even ironic commenting by western media of statements made by the Bolivian leaders regarding the Santa Cruz events makes one wonder if they are about to put a final stop to it. Or reduce it by switching over to secondary issues? These are heard all the time:”Why the prevention operation disregarded the terrorists’ human rights? Why excessive violence was used against them? Why were European specialists not involved in investigations?”

This latter demand has been in the focus of attention of diplomats from Hungary, Croatia, Ireland and Romania, the countries that recruited the terrorists. These countries also said that those guys went to Bolivia of their own volition. But how it could have happened that in the conditions of a comprehensive anti-terrorist campaign launched in Europe on a permanent basis with the use of most advanced techniques and equipment to detect conspiracies of such a scale, the “imitators” created a combat unit and moved to Bolivia without a hitch?

It was evident that the organiser and head of the group destroyed in Santa Cruz was Eduardo Rozsa Flores, killed in the hotel “Las Americas.” Rozsa is regarded as a national hero in Croatia. This character with an adventurist strain had always yearned to be in the focus of attention, purposefully building up an image of a romantic selfless champion of any just cause. He was born in Santa Cruz, with his father a Hungarian and his mother – a Spaniard. Rozsa came to the Balkans in 1991 to cover armed conflicts in the region for the Spanish newspaper “La Vanguardia” and the BBC. However, the role of a passive viewer soon bored him, so he joined the Croatian National Guard, becoming its first-ever foreign volunteer. Some time later he was entrusted with formation of the First International unit in the Croatian army. He was given the rank of colonel and by the personal order of Croatian president Tujman he became a citizen of Croatia.

Rozsa wrote books, and was shot in an apotheosis film about his fight with “Serbian aggressors.” But Rozsa was silent about some of the episodes of his biography. It was known that he had something to do with the killings of two journalists – the Swiss Wurtenberg and Briton Jenks. There was serious evidence, but “war wiped it all out.”

Before leaving for Bolivia, just in case Rozsa gave an interview to a journalist of the state Hungarian MTV channel, saying: “Should something happen to me, air the news immediately!” Rozsa was not too open in his interview, but there was something of interest. In particular he said: “We are all set to declare independence of (several riotous Bolivian autonomous provinces) and the establishment of a new country.” Rozsa admitted that he had been “invited“to Santa Cruz by middlemen acting on errands of local authorities for the purpose of “organising defence” in connection with the threat of violence on the part of the central authorities. Of course Rozsa did not tell anything concrete about his contacts in Santa Cruz, the sources of funding and the channels of weapons delivery, just dropping a hint that the rioters would act using “peaceful means, but demonstrating their strength.”

By then the tensions in Bolivia were at its highest. The government’s dialogue with the regional opposition was severed. In the north of the country near the city of Pando the Peruvian and Brazilian mercenaries attacked the manifestation of the supporters of president Morales, killing 35 people and wounding at leas 100 others. The organisers of the massacre, including the Pando prefect fled to Brazil. Confrontation was also growing in other “riotous” departments.

Rozsa and his group penetrated Bolivia using secret paths from Brazil. Losing no time in the conditions of conspiracy work began to consolidate the semi-military formations made up of mainly young people connected with the “Civil Committee for the Defence of Santa Cruz.” This ultra-rightist organisation was set up by Branco Marinkovic, a major land-owner of the Croatian descent. According to the Bolivian counter-intelligence, no other than him invited the former militants of the First international unit of the Croatian army to Bolivia. He did that on the basis of the confidential recommendation of the US Ambassador to Bolivia Phillip Goldberg. The US diplomat knew what he was talking about being one of the operators of the blood-letting in the Balkans. He had to his credit the “successful” mission in Kosovo that in many respects facilitated the victory won by the Albanian separatists. Goldberg assured Marinkovic that the US secret services and their European partners would not oppose the mobilisation of militants.

As is known, Evo Morales declared Goldberg persona non grata for his subversive activities against the legally elected Bolivian government in the worst spirit of “cold” war. Several spy scandals broke out during his stint in La Paz, with all evidence showing that the US Embassy had a finger in them), the “matrimonial duo” of bombers, the US citizens was put under arrest on charges of making explosions in several Bolivian hotels. Goldberg would spend days and nights in the “riotous” departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Taiha and Pando. At times one could be under the impression that the Ambassador tried to show he ignored Morales, as if to send a signal to conspirators: “The sooner you get rid of him, the better for you and the United States.”

The Rozsa group closely watched the movements of Morales and the key ministers of the Cabinet. The shadowing was detected by his guards, who managed taping several conversations Rozsa had with his group. Once he pitied the “untimely” obtaining of information about the session Morales had with his ministers on board a naval vessel on Lake Titikaka, saying: “We could have exploded the boat and do away with their Marxist government once and for all.”

The secret services also identified the pavilion “Cooperative de Telecommunicaciones” (Cotas) at the permanent exhibition complex in Samta Cruz, that was the terrorists’ base station. Regardless of the word “Cooperative”, Cotas is a private company, and its role in the anti-government conspiracy could be compared to that of the Chilean ITT radio and TV company that was involved in the preparations of the overthrow of Salvador Allende. The Cotas warehouses stored firearms, grenades, C-4 explosives, nitroglycerine and other ordnance. One of the rooms was a shop where bombs were made. Another stored note-book computers and maps marking facilities for sabotage and lists of the pointed victims. After the operation at the hotel Las Americas the hideouts were opened to deliver the things in them to investigators. Later they were shown to journalists. Mass media was also given a video showing the bodies of the terrorists killed in the attack – Rozsa, his Irish bodyguard Michael Dwyer, and an explosives expert, Romanian Magiarosi Arpak.

The surviving terrorists, Hungarian Elod Toaso and Mario Tadic Astorga of the Bolivian-Croatian descent agreed to cooperate with investigators and are now making evidence. The search for the members of the clandestine Rozsa organisation is going on all over the country. Europeans that came to Bolivia starting 2008 are thoroughly inspected. The “Argentinean” trace is also closely investigated.

It has been discovered that Rozsa was in contact with the retired Argentinean army officers, the “carapintados” discussing potential joint armed “guerrilla operations” in Bolivia. Assistance to Rozsa in establishing contacts with Argentineans was rendered by Penia Esclusa, the head of the NGO “UnaAmerica” funded by the United States. Small wonder, as Esqlus was a mature (the best description) CIA agent whom his organisation attempted to introduce into the inner circle of Hugo Chavez at the start of his political career (“Beware of Esqlus, – ho wrote to his friends – “as he goes out of his way to wriggle into favour”).

The financiers and suppliers of arms are already under arrest. Radio and TV broadcast statements calling for those who are still hiding to surrender. The res0onse to those so far was nil, not to speak about a telephone call from the United States Hugo Acha, a Rozsa connection, made to a TV channel. Shortly before that time Aca (dubbed “Superman”)was a Human Rights Watch (HRW) representative in Bolivia, thus being able to meet US diplomats on a regular basis. Besides, he was a leading lecturer at the Bolivian Higher School for Military Investigations, being in close contact with the upper army echelon, and could visit Defence Minister Walker San Miguel. “Superman” denies his cooperation with terrorists, even admitting meeting them “illegally.” Aca has no intention of returning to Bolivia, explaining g this by his distrust of “the current Bolivian justice.” But the real reason behind his flight is he is still the connection of CIA residents who guided Rozsa. This agent was just deactivated for reasons of the threat of his disclosure.

***

The destruction of the terrorist group in Santa Cruz has helped disclose the innovative modus operandi in the subversive activities of the US special services in Latin America. Their course at the use of potential of their partners in Eastern Europe for blackmailing, destabilisation and – in the long run – an overthrow of the “populist regimes.” The “young Democrats” in Croatia, Hungary, Romania and other new members of the European Union are going out of their way to prove they are loyal and useful to Americans. (What price is their cooperation with the United States in setting up secret torture centres in their countries?) The CIA counts on them given their “distrust complex” towards the United States is non-existent towards Europe, all the more so – towards Eastern Europe. There is neither a distrust of Eastern Europeans including those who arrived to that continent after the events in the Balkans (saving themselves after their inhuman crimes). Rozsa hoped to get these people involved in his operations aimed at the break-up of Bolivia, making attempts to recruit them in sabotage and terrorist groups.

President Morales could not help rebelling against the demands of the governments of Hungary, Croatia, Romania and Ireland to “offer explanations” of the Santa Cruz incident. The tone and the contents of those demands did not fit diplomatic norms, and Morales responded correspondingly: “How can anyone defend the people who arrived here to organise the murder of the president? It is very serious. I can think that no other but them (the leaders of these countries) sent these people her to make an attempt on our democracy!”

The UN working group responded to disturbing news about the activities of terrorist groups in this southern Latin American country. It addressed the governments of Bolivia and the states whose citizens were accused of sabotage in it, asking them to thoroughly investigate the situation and render the guilty to justice. The address stressed that UN resolutions acknowledge recruiting, financing, training and use of mercenaries for the overthrow of legally elected governments as a grave crime.

The information struggle over “the Rozsa group” is gaining momentum. Some analysts are beginning to speak about parallels between Rozsa and Che Guevara, even though the retired Croatian colonel denied every conviction of the Hero Gueerilla. The theme of the “idealist romantic” Rozsa has been more and more intensively used by western media. The government of Evo Morales is portrayed as “dictatorial Castro-Communist”, and “racist with the Indian underpinning” against this background. It made barbarous short work of romantics from Eastern Europe without even trying to start negotiations about their surrender! Materials compromising Rozsa and his supporters are being removed from the internet. That was noted, in particular by visitors to the site Hungarianambiance.com: “Where is the armed Rozsa’s photo? Do you want to make him attractive?”

From all appearances, this photo was fatal for Rozsa. He posed for it at some remote Bolivian hotel at the start of his operation of “organising defence and demonstrating force”: an Uzi submachine-gun in his left hand, a Kalashnikov assault gun in his right, a manly smile and tropical sun-tan. Rozsa did not stand the temptation to place this photo on the Internet, Neither the location nor the legend under the photo were there, but of course, someone “professionally attentive” studied the pattern of the back of the metal bed on the photo, that it was made in Bolivia…

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