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The Accountability Report for Judicial Corruption in Bolivia

nueva justicia boliviana

On September 13, 2013, at the Bolivian Embassy in Washington, DC, I was part of a public meeting that will remain etched forever in my memory as the vivid expression of the many-sided process of change that Bolivia is undergoing. The historic event included the presence of Nardy Suxo, Bolivia’s Minister of Institutional Transparency and of the Fight Against Corruption.

The meeting was opened by the chargé d’affaires, Gen. Freddy Bersatti, who explained that following the principle of governing by listening to the people, the administration of President Evo Morales had instituted the mandatory character of accountability, whereby the government explains its work and citizens exercise social control in the name of the people in general. Bersatti stated: “In this part where we take questions, I ask of you the sovereign to express your concerns about the work being done by the Embassy and Consulate, but also about aspects to which you consider that the Plurinational State of Bolivia is obliged to pay attention in order to complement the fundamental rights of you the citizens. This is your right.  All of your concerns will be written into a record, and, at the Final Public Hearing of Accountability, which will take place possibly in January, we shall answer those questions, communicating the decisions that the State has adopted to address your problems.”

After congratulating Minister Suxo for her excellent work in Bolivia, I raised my question, which, I underline, has to do with a personal case, while representative of what many fellow citizens face.

“The concrete question is whether it is a function of your Office, and, if not, of which Ministry, to investigate the cases of corruption of which the victims are Bolivian citizens residing in the United States and who are totally unable to defend themselves from corruption in Bolivia. For example, in a specific case which I previously denounced, my name was used, documents were falsified as legal instruments for committing an offense, and, when the Ostreicher case exploded and Minister of the Interior Carlos Romero asked the people to denounce similar cases, I again denounced the case in which I was the victim, presenting proof that the fraudulent trial arose from the falsification of legal instruments for committing an offense, and that it involves two well-known attorneys from Santa Cruz: a notary and former President of the Supreme Court of Justice, and a judge who was appointed during the government  of President Evo Morales. A judge who acted without a precedent in history, as he ruled at the level of a lower court, and later, after being promoted to the Constitutional Tribunal, ruled again, ratifying his own original ruling. A spectacular case, in which the government –the judicial system– could have shined by jailing a great number of (corrupt) people, but I have not received an answer as of today. My question, therefore, is this: what can be done for the victims of this corruption in Bolivia, who are unable to defend ourselves there?”

My inquiry was supported by other citizens, and the revealing answer of the anti-corruption Minister became the element that I needed to continue with my analysis of Bolivia’s plebeian justice:

“Our greatest problem in Bolivia is the issue of justice. Regrettably, we must recognize that, albeit it has been a proposal that President Evo Morales has made every effort to change justice with the election of officials, it has been a failure. We have to recognize that. Just as we recognize that we have advanced in some areas, we must recognize our failures. One of the gravest failures has been the issue of justice. We have not solved the issue of justice!

“The issue of the corruption of justice. The issue of justice delayed. The issue that people cannot appear with trust before a judge, cannot appear with trust in a magistrate. An opportunity was given for men and women without lineage, because previously only those with lineage ascended as magistrates to the tribunals. The opportunity has been given to them, but they have not known how to make use of that opportunity that the people have given them by voting, electing them and so on. And they have shown that they have failed. We have said that. I, who have to do with legal processes, say that. Regrettably, the Public Ministry and the entire Judicial Organ are no good. “

It happens that the restructuring of the Bolivian legal system is a painful process in which much have been done, it is true , but there is still much more to do, and now Bolivians look forward to the next step , as could be, for example, promulgation of the new Code of Criminal Procedure and of rules preventing the granting and use of the baleful false Powers of Attorney that enable the monstrous aberration of swindling and framing , in absentia, by fraudulent lawsuits, innocent and defenseless people who live overseas, and ignore the atrocities that are perpetrate in Bolivia on their names. It’s only logical that, if the Bolivian justice has become a danger to people outside the country, the people outside Bolivia care about justice in Bolivia.

While the long-awaited restructuration of the judicial system finally materializes, there are thousands of Bolivians and maybe some foreigners who wait in legal limbo for that miracle to happen. My case becomes a symbolic case, because the saga does not end with the judgment of the first trial or with the unbelievable ruling of the Constitutional Court on such a crude and obviously false and fraudulent case.

On December 2, 2012, the Ministry of the Interior made public my claim before that office, in which I cited a spelling error made by criminals in writing my name.

A month later, on January 7, 2013, there appeared before the General Service of Personal Identification of the city of Santa Cruz a young lawyer, whom I have never seen or contacted, to “fix” in my name a “little matter” referring to my identity card, presumably to ask for a copy of my personal data, including the correct name, number of identification card, signature, photo, and even fingerprints.

On October 8, 2013, there appeared in the Santa Cruz newspaper La Estrella del Oriente an edict in which my name showed up in another fraudulent case, this time for a purported debt for non-compliance with a purported contract for preparing a study of the social, political, and commercial reality of the country and of trade with the United States. It is plainly nonsense, as it asks for the seizure of material goods that I do not possess and of bank accounts that I also do not have, all with the hidden purpose of planting false judicial records against me, to disparage my work as an independent writer and researcher, and to attempt to muzzle me. Most alarmingly, this time my name was written correctly and my identity card number was included.

Ten days later, on October 18, 2013, by express mail from Washington DC, I sent my complaint for PUNISHABLE FLAGRANT JUDICIAL CORRUPTION, asking for the corresponding PUBLIC CRIMINAL ACTION, directly to the Attorney General of the Multinational State of Bolivia, in the city of Sucre, with attention to Dr. José Ramiro Guerrero, Attorney General of the new Judicial Organ elected by the people, but silence remained my only answer.

The year 2013 came to an end, and January 2014 went by without the promised Final Accountability report having been held at the Bolivian Embassy in Washington, at which time an accountability report on the “State decisions taken to solve the problems” reported in September 2013 was to be presented. I have no knowledge of what the Bolivian justice might have done  or may be doing about it, but I do know that the horde of criminals embedded in the Bolivian judiciary have continued to commit forgery  in full view of everyone. Having planted the false criminal records against me, they went on to use the Internet to try to tarnish my name and dignity as an honest person who has never cheated anyone of a cent, and incidentally to harm by association the cause I advocate.

It is obvious that this organized criminal group continues to operate with impunity, and that it shamelessly continues to improve its modus operandi, taking advantage of not only the uselessness of the Bolivian Judicial system but also the involuntary help of the Ministry of Government by making public part of my evidence. 

This case exposes the alarming impunity with which corruption operates embedded in the Bolivian judicial system, and, because it symbolizes the suffering of my compatriots, creates great expectations concerning the announced “resolutions of State” to be adopted by the government of President Evo Morales to solve this problem, and of which the anti-corruption Minister will inform us on her next visit to Washington.

Hoping that the new principle of government listening to the people is fulfilled, I look forward to a decisive victory of Bolivian justice against the criminality of judicial corruption and its impunity. The Bolivian people deserve it, and I believe that the authorities will find a way to overcome this ordeal.


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About Juan Carlos Zambrana Marchetti