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Carlos Quispe Quispe
March 29, 2008

Carlos Quispe Quispe, Bolivia

Quispe died from a beating by unknown thugs who stormed the studios of Radio Pucarani, 50 kilometers from La Paz, Bolivia. While delinquents destroyed the radio station’s equipment (sound mixer, the broadcast computer and the sound room), Carlos Quispe was beaten and hammered with poles and whips. The university Communications major, a senior in the radio’s internship program, died two days later.


It all started in the street as a protest against the mayor, Alejandro Mamani. About 300 people had gathered near Town Hall. Amidst shouts and chants the mood became heated, angry…anonymous voices shouted their fury in a rising crescendo…until the frenzied group invaded the building. The radio station was on the ground floor.


Chaos reigned as the horde entered -- destroying everything before them. One of the  leaders of the Pucarani Security Committee spotted the young reporter and signaled the go-ahead: “this is the mouthpiece!” he accused loudly. And they all jumped him. Afterwards Julio Quisberth denied he was involved, ignored the subpoena from El Alto’s criminal court that accused him of being the ringleader, and disappeared from the community. Other defendants (including some council members) were accused of causing the damage, but not for the death of Quispe, and they confessed to "fearing for their lives."


The homicide investigation was described as a "delayed procedure" due to "jurisdictional conflicts" --  the crime occurred in Pucarani, the court of El Alto took over, and then transferred it to Achachi. Five prosecutors have been in charge of the investigation, but the crime remains unpunished.


The IAPA, in addition to holding a timely investigation of the facts through its Rapid Response Unit, presented the case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in the hope that a decision by the organization would influence the government of Bolivia to see that justice is done.

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