The Info List - UMOPAR

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The Unidad Móvil Policial para Áreas Rurales (UMOPAR) (Mobile Police Unit for Rural Areas), a subsidiary of the Special
Antinarcotics Force (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico—FELCN) of the Bolivian National Police
Bolivian National Police
(Cuerpo de Policía Nacional) was created in 1987 and is a Bolivian anti-narcotics and counterinsurgency force[1] which was founded by, and is funded, advised, equipped, and trained by the United States government
United States government
as part of its "War on Drugs".[2][3] There have been complaints that UMOPAR, which is effectively controlled by the United States
United States
Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration
and military,[4] was the most powerfully armed and best trained military force in Bolivia.[5] In 1984, UMOPAR troops kidnapped the President of Bolivia, Siles Zuazo,[6] and staged an unsuccessful coup attempt against the Bolivian government.[5][7]


1 U.S. involvement 2 Human rights
Human rights
abuses 3 See also 4 References 5 Further reading

U.S. involvement[edit] Although UMOPAR is technically headed by Defensa Social, a branch of the Bolivian Interior Ministry, they are in practice controlled by DEA and U.S. military
U.S. military
officials based at the U.S. Embassy
U.S. Embassy
in La Paz, who plan their operations, provide intelligence, and lead the drug raids,[4][8] using UMOPAR mainly as a "strike force" for U.S. operations.[8] UMOPAR forces receive extensive training from DEA
and U.S. military personnel, including the U.S. Army Special
Forces, both in facilities in Bolivia
(such as the Garras International Antinarcotics Training School), and at U.S. military
U.S. military
bases such as Fort Benning,[4][9] or the School of the Americas
School of the Americas
in Panama.[10] In 1987, under a U.S. State Department
U.S. State Department
contract, an Oregon
corporation known as Evergreen International Airlines
Evergreen International Airlines
provided several private military contractor pilots, many of whom had flown for the CIA's Air America in Laos
and Cambodia, to transport DEA
agents and UMOPAR troops throughout the Upper Huallaga Valley.[11] In 1988, U.S. Ambassador
U.S. Ambassador
Rowell decided that UMOPAR troops needed their own airmobile task force to increase their effectiveness. The United States
United States
Department of Defense loaned UMOPAR 12 UH-1H helicopters, and Rowell assigned his U.S. Army-Navy attache, Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Hayes to command the UMOPAR troops in the unit, which was called the Diablos Rojos (Red Devils).[12] Human rights
Human rights
abuses[edit] UMOPAR troops have frequently been responsible for beatings, torture, rapes, extortion, robberies, arbitrary shootings, mass arrests without warrants, and various other human rights abuses.[3][13] The use of torture by UMOPAR forces has been widespread and systematic, and includes methods such as being hung upside down and beaten, burned with cigarettes, electrocution, death threats, and being submerged underwater to simulate drowning, amongst other methods.[14] UMOPAR forces act with almost total impunity, and human rights violations are rarely investigated, much less prosecuted.[14][15] Other examples of abuses include:

In June 1988, UMOPAR troops killed 12 peasants and wounded over 100 in the Massacre of Villa Tunari On May 9, 1997, two UMOPAR agents detained and beat a fifteen-year-old girl, Valeriana Condori, during a coca-eradication mission in Uncía.[3] In July 1998, Father Hugo Ortiz, a Catholic priest and president of the Asamblea Permanente de Derechos Humanos de Bolivia
(APDH), (Permanent Human Rights Assembly of Bolivia), was beaten by UMOPAR troops while travelling to a meeting.[16] In September 2000, a 19-year-old boy, Isaac Mejía Arce was tortured to death by UMOPAR troops using a technique known as el arrastre (dragging), where two men sat on top of his body while it was dragged around over the ground (a method frequently used by UMOPAR troops to extract information from suspects). Arce began coughing up blood, and ultimately went into a coma, and died on February 1, 2001.[16] In 2002, a member of UMOPAR shot at two government representatives as they were entering a community to investigate human rights violations.[17][18]

See also[edit]

Law enforcement in Bolivia Narcotics in Bolivia Plan Colombia Peruvian Investigative Police Andean Information Network Narco News


^ Lee, Rensselaer W. (1991). The White Labyrinth: Cocaine and Political Power. Transaction Publishers. p. 219. ISBN 978-1-56000-565-0. Retrieved 5 February 2010.  ^ Rex A. Hudson, Dennis M. Hanratty, ed. (1989). Bolivia: A Country Study. Washington, D.C.: GPO for the Library of Congress.  ^ a b c "Human Rights Watch World Report 1997 - Bolivia". Human Rights Watch World Report 1997. Human Rights Watch. 1 January 1997. Retrieved 4 February 2010.  ^ a b c Painter, James (1994). Bolivia
and coca: a study in dependency. United Nations University Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-92-808-0856-8.  ^ a b Youngers, Coletta (September 18, 1991). "A Fundamentally Flawed Strategy: The U.S. "War on Drugs" in Bolivia". Washington Office on Latin America. Retrieved 5 February 2010.  ^ Dunkerley, James (1992). Political suicide in Latin America and other essays. Verso. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-86091-560-7.  ^ Marcy, William L. (2010). The Politics of Cocaine: How U.S. Foreign Policy Has Created a Thriving Drug Industry in Central and South America. Chicago Review Press. p. 75. ISBN 9781556529498. Retrieved 2010-02-08.  ^ a b Menzel, Sewall H. (1997). Fire in the Andes: U.S. Foreign Policy and Cocaine Politics in Bolivia
and Peru. University Press of America. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-7618-1001-8.  ^ Menzel, Sewall H. (1997). Fire in the Andes: U.S. Foreign Policy and Cocaine Politics in Bolivia
and Peru. University Press of America. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7618-1001-8.  ^ Coletta Youngers, Eileen Rosin, ed. (2005). Drugs and democracy in Latin America: the impact of U.S. policy. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 152. ISBN 978-1-58826-254-7.  ^ Lee, Rensselaer W. (1991). The White Labyrinth: Cocaine and Political Power. Transaction Publishers. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-56000-565-0. Retrieved 5 February 2010.  ^ Menzel, Sewall H. (1997). Fire in the Andes: U.S. Foreign Policy and Cocaine Politics in Bolivia
and Peru. University Press of America. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7618-1001-8.  ^ Lee, Rensselaer W. (1991). The White Labyrinth: Cocaine and Political Power. Transaction Publishers. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-56000-565-0. Retrieved 5 February 2010.  ^ a b Madeline Barbara Léons, Harry Sanabria, ed. (1997). Coca, cocaine, and the Bolivian reality. SUNY Press. p. 264. ISBN 978-0-7914-3482-6.  ^ "Human Rights and the War on Drugs". Andean Information Network. January 30, 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2010.  ^ a b "Bolivia: Torture and ill-treatment: Amnesty International's concerns". AMR 18/008/2001. 15 June 2001. Retrieved 7 February 2010.  ^ "Amnesty International Report 2002 - Bolivia". Amnesty International. 28 May 2002. Retrieved 5 February 2010.  ^ "Bolivia: The need to protect Human Rights Defenders". AMR 18/004/2002. Amnesty International. 2 December 2002. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

Documents mentioning "UMOPAR" at UNHCR Refworld Google Scholar results for "UMOPAR" Google Books results for "UMOPAR" Andean Information Network -- covers Bolivian drug war, human rights, etc. -- frequently discusses UMOPAR Lesley Gill (2004). The School of the Americas: military training and political violence in the Americas. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-