Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
Case 2757 (BOLIVIA)
"Elsa Burgoa, professor, was arrested in La Paz, and was imprisoned for two years, during which time, she was physically and mentally tortured. She was first in the Department of Political Order (DOP), and was then sent to the 'Achocalla' torture center, where she was tortured repeatedly because she had refused to deceive the Commissioners of Amnesty International and tell them that the cell where she was, was in fact the place where she was imprisoned. The real cells were inside in the 'stone house'; where the other women prisoners were being held. Her attitude led them to discover the real cells and the inhumane conditions in which the prisoners were being held. And this was the reason why she was severely tortured.
Security agents Luciano Vargas, Víctor Balbian, Mayor Mena, and agents Lourdes, María Luisa and Charo committed the most indescribable attacks on this prisoner. In addition to this, she was taken for three months to the Viacha prison, along with Amalia Rada (who appealed to Amnesty International for her husband's corpse) and Aída Pedrañaz who supported her.
Elsa Burgoa was tortured in the office of the DOP, before she was taken to 'Achocalla', in the torture room called the 'little blue room'.
She does still not have complete freedom, but is under 'house arrest' (residenciada) in La Paz under the illegal Security of the State Law.
None of the prisoners reported her case because they were held entirely incommunicado; because, it was physically impossible for them to do so; and because no relative dared do so (for fear of being imprisoned in turn), and also because the press pays no attention to any denunciations.
Miss Elsa Burgoa, an active militant in the National Liberation Army (ELN), detained on April 20, 1972, was recruited to that Organization by 'Irma', and was a member of the cell of Danitza Alba del Castillo, alias 'Teresa'. She worked with Elmo Catalán alias 'Ricardo' in making uniforms and packs for the guerrilla wars in the Teoponte zone. She worked with Hilda Artéz 'Pilar', and was responsible for receiving the mail for the ELN. She was also the ELN liaison inside the country and abroad, during these guerrilla activities.
In February 1973, she was released, pledging to undertake no political activity against the Nationalist Government. She has presently been granted amnesty under the General Amnesty of January 1978.
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
(Approved at the 619th meeting of March 7, 1979 (46th Session) and transmitted to the Government of Bolivia).