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Florida Jury Finds Former Bolivian President Responsible for 2003 Massacre

HeadlineApr 04, 2018

And in Florida, a jury at a federal court in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday found former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada—and his ex-minister Carlos Sánchez Berzaín—responsible for extrajudicial killings carried out by the Bolivian military in 2003. The massacre left at least 64 civilians dead and more than 400 wounded. The victims were killed as the military cracked down on protests that sparked an uprising against then-President de Lozada. In La Paz, Bolivia, on Tuesday, family members of the victims gathered for a press conference to welcome the ruling, calling it a victory against impunity. This is Juan Patricio Quispe, who lost his brother in the massacre.

Juan Patricio Quispe: “Well, it’s a great satisfaction for us, and we hope this sentence is ratified. For us, it’s something unexpected, that will not change, that will be written into the history of our country: that Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada has been found guilty for the events of October and September 2003.”

The Florida jury awarded $10 million in compensation to family members of victims of the 2003 massacre. The Center for Constitutional Rights, which spent 10 years pursuing the case, said it was the first time in U.S. history a former head of state has sat before his or her accusers in a U.S. human rights trial.

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