- Title: BOLIVIA: Government orders declassification of dictatorship documents
- Date: 21st May 2009
- Summary: VARIOUS OF SIGNS ON WALL
- Embargoed: 9th June 2009 04:30
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVADI18QEFCUCTSX68P6G3C8IM0Y
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Bolivia passed a resolution on Wednesday (May 20) ordering the Armed Forces to declassify archives that could lead to information about people who vanished during bloody military dictatorships from 1960 to 1980.
The decision came as women whose relatives and husbands disappeared during the regimes held an ongoing hunger strike demanding the documents be released.
Three women are on the 15th day of a hunger strike, demanding information on people like Marcelo Quiroga, a socialist party member from Santa Cruz who was killed in 1980 during a coup by Luis Garcia Meza.
People also disappeared under the rule of military leader Hugo Banzer.
Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, Defense Minister Walker San Miguel said a deal had been made with the Armed Forces and the government to release any unread documents immediately.
"There's already an agreement that has been ratified by government resolution so that this procedure is immediate, so it's expedited and the archives can be accessed," San Miguel said.
Olga Flores Bedregal, one of the women on the hunger strike, said it looked like a step in the right direction.
"Right now we think it's a clear sign that the government intends to clear up this dark time in Bolivia's history and answer our questions about where our relatives are," she said.
However, Bedregal added that the women are prepared to continue their strike.
"Once we see the results and it's what we want we will lift the strike. If not, we willing to die. What we are asking for, no less or no more, is that they follow the law, that they comply with the Inter-American convention against the disappearance of people," she said.
San Miguel has said that leftist President Evo Morales is interested in clearing up the details of the disappearances, but the leader came under fire last week when he said there was nothing to declassify because the no further information existed.
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