During the recent events in the Pando department, the most violent ultra right attacks on pro- government peasants took place. Twenty-eight murders have already been proved and forty-five people are missing, about whom nobody knows whether they have also been killed or if they managed to escape from the fascist bands.
A video is circulating in the Internet, originally broadcast by the state-owned Channel 7, showing paramilitary bands and hired killers in the service of the prefect of Pando, Leopoldo Fernandez who, according to declarations made by some survivors, carried out the slaughter of powerless peasants.
We are reproducing the following material received from BoliviaEnVideos.com (16/09/08):
“Images show how peasants dived into the river trying to save their lives and how they try to swim across the tributary, but the armed men shot just the same. “There are some more Indians here” could be heard on at least two opportunities. The speaker is one of the people sited on the banks of Tahuamano, while bursts of machinegun fire could be heard. (.) Another person, presumably a medical doctor, can also be heard saying, “Listen, this is terrible, this is shotgun, we are aiding the people, this is the last straw! We have no security”. As images go by, someone whose hand pointing out can be seen, presumably he is one of the hired killers, says ironically “they are scared!” while his buddies continue firing. “Plenty of Indians hiding here,” another paramilitary assures while his victims swim desperately in quest of the other bank of the river Tuhuamanu so as to escape from the gunfire. Machinegun rattling can be heard all over the place and when the bullets hit the water, they make waves that certify the killing. The video also shows some of the victims, such as the lifeless body of Alfonso Cruz; we can also see the coffins transported by a van. One of the witnesses indicates that some hour after that a body was found down the river of somebody who had died when a bullet penetrated through the back of his head and went out through his mouth, destroying it completely.”