Dwyer 'lured to death in Bolivia'

 

United States diplomats suspected that Irishman Michael Dwyer may have been lured to his death in Bolivia as part of a plot by the South American country’s own intelligence services.

A diplomatic cable from the US embassy in La Paz quoted a local source as saying the group Dwyer was with had been hired by Bolivian intelligence to mount a phony terrorist campaign. This would then be used to justify the persecution of political opponents of the country’s left-wing president Evo Morales.

The source told diplomats that Dwyer and two other members of the group were shot dead by police in their hotel on April 16th, 2009, in order to “erase tracks”.

Dwyer was killed by police along with Bolivian-born Eduardo Rózsa Flores and Hungarian Árpad Magyarosi during a raid on their hotel. Two other men were arrested.

The cable, sent a month after Dwyer’s death, was provided by the WikiLeaks website to Spanish daily El Pais, which published extracts on Thursday. The cable said the embassy could not verify the claims but described the source as well placed and reliable.

The source interviewed by US officials claimed Rózsa Flores, the supposed leader of Dwyer’s group, was contracted by Col Jorge Santiesteban, head of police intelligence, and his deputy, Capt Wálter Andrade.

Three months after the cable was sent La Razon newspaper in Bolivia received photographs dated January 2007 which appeared to show Capt Andrade socialising with Rózsa Flores. The public prosecutor ruled the photos inadmissible as they had been sent anonymously.

Sacha Llorenti, Bolivia’s interior minister, dismissed the leaked cable as “gossip”. Bolivia’s government says Dwyer was part of a group of mercenaries brought to Bolivia by separatists in the eastern department of Santa Cruz to kill President Morales and foment separatist violence.

Rózsa Flores left a video in Europe in which he said he had been called back to Bolivia to defend Santa Cruz against the central government. The public prosecutor last month charged 39 people with involvement in the supposed conspiracy, including opposition leaders, several of whom have fled the country.

The Dwyer family hopes to meet with Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin this month as part of their campaign for an independent international inquiry into their son’s death.