Country Listing

Bolivia Table of Contents


Subversive Groups

As of 1989, Bolivia had not been confronted with a significant subversive threat since the Cuban-supported guerrilla campaign led by "Che" Guevara in 1966-67 (see The Counterinsurgency Decade , this ch.). Other guerrilla bands, such as those operating in the area near Teoponte in the Yungas in 1969-70, were even shorter lived. A small group tried to set up a guerrilla unit in the Luribay Valley south of La Paz in 1983, but seven of its members were captured.

Several international terrorist meetings were reported to have been held in Bolivia in the 1980s, including three in 1985 and 1986 that were attended by terrorist representatives from other South American countries. Two meetings between Bolivian left-wing extremists and representatives of other South American terrorist organizations allegedly were held in Cobija, Pando Department, and in La Paz in 1985. According to the deputy minister of interior, migration, and justice, representatives of terrorist organizations from eight countries held another meeting in Santa Cruz in February 1986.

In early 1987, Peru's Sendero Luminoso (Shinning Path) began to concern Bolivian civilian and military authorities after they learned that its strategic plan called for expanding terrorist actions into Bolivia and Ecuador. Various press reports in 1987 and 1988 suggested that Sendero Luminoso guerrillas were using Bolivian territory, especially La Paz, to obtain medical assistance, medicine, food, weapons, and other supplies to support their revolutionary activities in Peru.

A total of six international terrorist incidents took place in Bolivia in 1988, compared with three in 1987. A previously unknown group called the Revolutionary Labor Movement (Movimiento Obrero Revolucionario--MOR) claimed responsibility for assassinating the Peruvian military attaché in La Paz in December 1988, an act that the Bolivian police commander attributed to Sendero Luminoso. A number of politically oriented terrorist incidents took place in the months leading up to the May 1989 elections. A terrorist group called the Zárate Willka Armed Forces of Liberation (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Zárate Willka--FALZW), presumably another name for the FIPZW, took responsibility for a bombing in December 1988 that caused much damage to the offices of the president of the Chamber of Deputies and for machine gunning to death two young Mormon missionaries from Utah in a La Paz barrio in May 1989. Pre-election terrorism by unknown perpetrators in March 1989 included bombings at various political party offices in the La Paz area that caused considerable property damage and a bomb attempt at the United States embassy.

Data as of December 1989