Take physic, pomp

Ignacio Villa Vargas, the key witness against the Santa Cruz Bolivian mercenary terrorists, blows the lid off the story

Today in Bolivian daily ‘Cambio’ there are a dozen or so pages devoted to the story of the Santa Cruz terrorist cell taken down by Bolivian police and the aftermath of the whole episode. The main event in today’s paper is an official, published Q&A with Ignacio Villa Vargas, the Bolivian national who was the group’s Mr. Fixit, chauffeur and gopher.
In the very extensive interview he basically blows the lid off the whole affair, directly implicating Branko Marinkovic, Ruben Costas and other Santa Cruz bigwigs with Eduardo Rozsa Flores, Michael Dwyer and the others in the terrorist cell. He also testifies that the group was out to kill Evo Morales, Veep Alvaro Garcia Linares, their Cabinet Minister Juan Ramon Quintana and the Bolivian Cardinal Terrazas whose house was bombed. Here is the first part of the confession.

Question: Please tell what you want to inform the Interior Ministry regarding the latest events occurred in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, specifically regarding the attack on the house of Cardenal Julio Terrazas and other aspects.

Ignacio Villa Vargas answers: First I would like to say the I was President of the Santa Cruz Youth Union (the far right wing Unión Juvenil Cruceñista, or UJC) for seven years in the 1970s. This is why I am well-known in the city of Santa Cruz and also in Cotoca. Because of this the ex-President of the UJC, ‘Negro’ Cejas, came to find me, because I was his advisor. He told me that they were putting together a “real group” and I should get in contact with a person who answered to the name of Germán. The gentleman called me on my cellphone and we arranged to meet at the COTAS stand inside the trade fair show site for our first meeting, to which I drove my vehicle. This must have been on a date in or around October 2008.

When I arrived at the meeting Germán was in a group with Branko (Marinkovic) and other gringos that I didn’t know. Also present were Estaban Mauricio Roca, Pedro Yovió and Guido Nayar. There must have been eight people there and it was 1pm, the time the meeting was to start.

Branko Marinko­vic talked to me and offered me a series of economic offers and other deals. We were talking and they also linked me by phone to the Prefect of Santa Cruz, Ruben Costas, who offered me a house and some land. I asked what would have to be done and they answered that we had to finish what had been started. They were definitely referring to the attacks that were going to happen in the city soon as a demonstration of serious intent. They attacked the radio of Guido Guardia two months later, they made the attack on Saúl Ávalos by localizing him as target. Sometimes they would ask me to take them on a tour of the streets before the attacks. I saw that they were looking for escape or emergency routes. Regarding the attack on the Cardenal, Germán (Rózsa) and the Irishman (Dwyer) were there that day. They asked me to pick them up from the Hotel Santa Cruz at around 10pm and asked me to drive around several times close to Seminario Street in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood (where the Cardenal lived).

Later I found out that a terrorist event occurred which repulsed me because I am Catholic. While laughing Germán commented that they had got out the car and placed the explosive that I saw them holding into a rubbish bin. He also said that he lit the fuse, got back in the car and drove forward half a block and waited for the explosion, then had to go back three times until Germán verified that the fuse had taken. He said with a smile that it was a pity we hadn’t killed the priest and that involved with the explosion were the driver and in the back seats were Germán and Michael Dwyer, who was armed with a pistol with the instruction to open fire and kill if somebody saw them.

I can co-operate with the information about the other vehicle hat participated in the attack, a white 1997 Toyota Corola driven by a certin Alberto Mendoza (I know know if he is the owner) and they had paid 200 Bolivares to use it for two hours. they told him it was to do some business.”


More excerpts

Question: Please tell us who is Germán, noting his general characteristics

Germán is Eduar­do Rózsa Flores. He also called himself as well as Germán by the last name Villaroel. I met him at the Expoferia meeting. He was semi bald with a scar on his face by his left cheekbone, a robust body and the leader of the group, the one shown dead in the police intervention.

Question: What was the objective of Germán?

Answer: His objective was to kill Evo (Morales), Linera (his VP) and Quintana (his cabinet minister). He talked about his constantly. He said there was somebody who was going to give him more than U$100,000 to kill Quintana.

Question: How was he thinking of carrying out the attacks if the seat of government is in La Paz?

Answer: It was going to happen in Santa Cruz. They even talked about buying a rocket launcher that cost more than U$120,000. The money was going to come from the owner of the Bimodal terminal named Daré, with whom I even talked by telephone and said that Germán had to pick up part of the money to do the job. They also wanted a radar to locate the aircraft that transported Quintana to Pando and then to use the rocket.

Question: How often did they meet and where was the place of meeting with the “bosses”, as you call them, and who were they?

Answer: They met every 15 or 20 days. The safest place was the trade fair grounds because it had a security perimeter where only authorized people could enter. When I attended the meetings there were present Monseñor Rivero Alejandro Melgar, Branko Marinkovic, Rubén Costas, Hugo Achá and others. Generally they met when Germán called a meeting. Sometimes he would also be present at the meeting. Soemtimes I could see that Alejandro Melgar went with Germán and I to pick up the money (nobody else, not even the gringos) from the Melgar office, in the Oriente Building 5th floor first office on the left. There are three offices all together and they met there and sometimes I was present. They only talked about financing questions.

Question: Tell us who provided the firearms and how contact was made with these people.

Answer: Only by telephone. I don’t have it (the number) now but I can get it later. I once went to a purchase of a mini Uzi with silencer for U$1,500. We bought it in “the fourth ring” (neighbourhood of Santa Cruz). Germán did the deal which had been previously agreed with the vendor.

Question: Who financed these operations?

Everyone knows that they funded the group but nobody will report the financing. CRE, Cotas, Saguapac and other Santa Cruz institutions funded German’s group or the UJC.

Question: How many attacks took place in Santa Cruz or in other departments of Bolivia?

In Santa Cruz only three, in the interior I don’t know. The three in Santa Cruz were those I’ve mentioned; the radio of Guido Guardia, the house of Ávalos and the Cardinal’s house. There were only three.

Question: Where did you stay when the attacks took place?

For the first attack we were staying in Branko Marinkovic’s house at Km4 of the northern highway. For the Ávalos attack we were in the Hotel Asturias and for the Cardinal’s attack in Hotel Las Americas. For the three attacks Germán was always the leader. Security and gunman was Michael Dwyer and his driver, always in the same place.

Question: What was going to be the next attack to be made that you know of?

Answer: I heard that they were going to take a car laden with explosives to the Prefecture. It was going to be in the day time and cause the maximum amount of damage possible to the people at the place, for the simple reason of damaging the Prefect.


And it continues and continues. The whole Spanish version is very long and has dozens of questions and answers. None of it is good for the bigwigs in Santa Cruz, that I promise you.

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