Bolivia to Declassify Operation Condor and Che Murder Files

The day after his execution on Oct. 10, 1967, Guevara’s corpse was displayed to the world press in Vallegrande hospital/Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The declassified documents will include files on the diplomatic acts by Bolivian dictatorships against leftist opponents as part of Operation Condor.

The Bolivian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it will declassify diplomatic documents from the 1966 to 1979 dictatorships so that relatives of the dead and disappeared can obtain new information about these crimes.

The declassified archives mainly cover the diplomatic actions of the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer Suarez and its role in Operation Condor, a multinational program launched in the 1970s, led by the United States, designed to eliminate all opposition to right-wing dictatorships in South America.

The declassification includes the diplomatic files of the Bolivian military regime of Rene Barrientos, who was appointed by the U.S. to kill Argentine revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, who was executed in Bolivia on Oct. 9, 1967.

Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said he made that decision to “heal the historical memory of the events that occurred in the period of the dictatorship” and to show how the diplomats of that time acted.

He added that the new generations must learn about the times of the dictatorship and that it is necessary to set history straight and reveal “the method of massacre that was systematically used to impose and dominate the peoples of our region.”

“For us, this declassification is very important because with the struggle of the organizations of families across the continent, the right to the truth has already been established and that means access to the archives,” human rights activist Ruth Llanos, a member of the Bolivian Association of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared, told Prensa Latina.

She also recalled how during those 18 years of the dictatorship hundreds of people were tortured and persecuted while others were killed or disappeared. Her organization Asofam will ask for the formation of a multidisciplinary committee to analyze the released documents.

The association will also demand the creation of a truth commission to investigate past crimes and to find the whereabouts of the victims’ relatives.

The Foreign Ministry said relatives of the victims, government officials and representatives of diplomatic missions in Bolivia will attend the declassification of the documents.