‘It won’t be romantic, it will be merciless’
Deaglán de Bréadún
Naturally one feels enormous sympathy for the family of the late Michael Dwyer who was shot dead by police in Bolivia last week. Complete and accurate information about the incident is not yet available and we may never know the full facts.
Michael Dwyer (1984-2009)
It was a thoughtful and humane gesture by Minister of State Dick Roche to state publicly that there was no Garda record of any misbehaviour of any kind by the young Tipperaryman.
Insofar as we can judge from the information that has emerged at this stage, Mr Dwyer met his death, not in a gunbattle, but in what was effectively an execution by an armed police squad, as he lay sleeping in his hotel bedroom.
He was not the first young Irishman to head off, looking for adventure, and Latin America was the obvious place to go. Dwyer was very young – 25 next June apparently – and just out of college. There are many other young Irish people currently travelling around the world seeking out fun and excitement.
Usually the fun is going to all-night parties on the beach and the excitement, taking a trek to some ancient Aztec city. Dwyer appears to have become involved with a rather more colourful crowd than normal, to put it mildly.
Eduardo Rósza Flores (49), shot dead in a hotel room two doors away from Dwyer’s, was a well-known international adventurer who comes across as a type of right-wing Ché Guevara (the latter also died in an execution-style shooting in Bolivia). For more on his background, click here.
It is understood that Dwyer was working for Flores as a bodyguard. The Irishman had been on a three-month weapons training course for security guards in Bolivia and was offered a job there by Flores, we are told.
If it weren’t so tragic and sad, one could see it as the script of a Hollywood movie. Clearly young Dwyer was not cut out to be a clerk in a county council office: he wanted more out of life than that.
One mustn’t rush to judgment but it would appear that he got in with the wrong crowd and may not have been fully aware of the full implications of his involvement. The Bolivian authorities say the Flores group was planning to kill several public figures, including President Evo Morales.
Even if that proved to be the case, one would still have to ask why they could not have been arrested? We are told that photographs of Dwyer’s body show him in his underwear, suggesting that he was asleep when the police arrived. It is strange that no member of the group appears to have been on guard duty, but this is a murky affair and we need to know a lot more.
Although lacking any coherent ideology and willing to throw in his lot with left or right for the sake of adventure, Flores sounds like a charismatic character who would be likely to impress the young and naive. His doings even became the subject of a film: click here. There is a point in the YouTube clip where Flores applies to join the right-wing Croation Ustashe and is told the facts of life about war: “It won’t be romantic, it will be merciless.” Once again those words have been proved true.