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In October 2003 Sanchez de Lozada, the President of Bolivia, announced his plans to export Bolivia's gas and oil for low prices through Chile to the United States. This caused mass demonstrations against the plan. He had already imposed a new direct income tax earlier that year which led to protests that left over 30 people dead, so his response with the new protests were more severe. He sent military forces out to the protests and they killed around 60-80 people and injured 400 who were primarily from the Ayrama indigenous community. This became known as the "Bolivian Gas War". President Sanchez de Lozada removed the proposal afterwards and then resigned from presidency, fleeing to exile in the United States.

Trial International

The Bolivian Gas War left many permanently disabled. The injured victims formed the Association of Family Members of those fallen in Defense of Gas. Dionisio Caceres Copatiti who lost his leg from the events says the memories and having to walk on only one foot are still painful. He along with the other injured victims want Sanchez de Lozada to be held accountable for his crimes and to be extradited.


In May 2009 the Bolivian Supreme Court started the trial of Sanchez de Lozada along with 17 other former government officials for charges of genocide. Nine defendants including Sanchez de Lozada were tried in absentia. In August 2011 seven of them were convicted and given 3-15 year sentences. But according to the Bolivian law, the proceedings against the defendants tried in absentia can't be closed without their presence, so the verdict only applied to those who were present.

Amnesty International

In 2012 the United States refused to extradite Sanchez de Lozada. President Evo Morales said he received a letter from the US government saying, "civil society cannot be held responsible for the actions of the military". Despite the refusal, in 2014 Bolivia filed a new case for extradition and in 2016 it was accepted by the United States Department of State and transferred to the Department of Justice for review.


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