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10/5/08

Business as usual in Santa Cruz: Hatred, Attempted Linchings, Racism, Media Bias

Salvador Ric

How would you treat an ex-Minister of your country if you saw him eating in a restaurant? If you agreed with his politics, you might say hello. If you didn't care either way or disgreed with him, you'd probably just let him be. If you hated him and all he stood for, you might even mumble something in his direction.

In Santa Cruz, fascist capital of South America, they call in the heavy mob and try to linch them. Here comes Otto's translation of this report from Spain's respected "El Economista".

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Radical right wing groups from the Unión Juvenil Cruceñista (UJC), the attack arm of the Civil Committee of the Bolivia region of Santa Cruz, attacked an ex-minister of the gov't of President Evo Morales, who this Sunday reported his agressors' intention to kill him.

"What they wanted was to kill me; the reason they gave was that I was carrying a gun. I have never in my life carried a weapon," said businessman Salvador Ric, who was Minister of Services and Public Works during the first year of the Morales mandate, between 2006 and 2007.

According to the ex-Minister the youth group's actions, which has in the past sacked and set fire to public offices, taken over toll booths, airports and attacked indigenous rural dwellers, was supported by the Civil Committee of Santa Cruz, the region whose elite are opposed to Morales.

The moment I left (the restaurant), Carlos Soruco, who was Viceminister of the Interior during the gov't of Hugo Banzer (ex-dictator and later constitutional President) physically attacked me and I defended myself", then later was punched and kicked by members of the UJC.

The attack on Ric Friday night was later reported by local TV stations.

This violent episode follows on from another, also in Santa Cruz, in which the commander of the Armed Forces was insulted and booed in a public place.

"I have serious doubts that Santa Cruz will accept the changes (for equality proposed by Morales), I don't know how they will ever come to accept that dark-skinned people are just as Bolivian as the whites..... There is so much hate and racism, and the media ignores it all."