Black October

Victims of a Bolivian massacre seek justice in Miami.

"I don't get into all of that," Alvarez says, shaking his head slightly. "There are probably plenty of people in Bolivia who love him too, depending whether they're on the right or the left or whatever. He's a good neighbor — that's what I know about."


Sonia, who lost her husband Lucio on that bloody Sunday in El Alto, sits outside the hulking glass and steel Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse in the piercing October sunlight. She leans uncomfortably forward in one of the artfully tilted decorative chairs along North Miami Avenue, holding herself tightly as jets bound for MIA roar periodically overhead.

"Since that day, there's no justice for us or anything, and it hurts. Here in Miami, Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín live happily. They probably feel fine, and we don't feel fine," Sonia says, wiping tears from her cheeks, which have blushed red in the sunlight.

An Aymara woman weeps at her husband's tomb in November 2003, a month after Black October.
AP Photo/Dado Galdieri
An Aymara woman weeps at her husband's tomb in November 2003, a month after Black October.
Former Bolivian President Gonzalo "Goni" Sánchez de Lozada
AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa
Former Bolivian President Gonzalo "Goni" Sánchez de Lozada

Eight-year-old Marlene's mother, Etelvina, sits next to Sonia, staring silently at the gravel. Her husband, Eloy, paces nervously, glancing warily around an unfamiliar city.

"She was an innocent child ... that's what's really painful to me, because she had so much good life ahead of her and then she had to go to the cemetery instead," Eloy says of his daughter. "After all this happened, the authors of what happened want to just hide here in the United States. I can't allow that."

Judge Jordan has issued no ruling. Both sides are still waiting for word on whether the case has standing to proceed in Miami. In the meantime, Bolivia's new government has sent an extradition request to the United States for both Sánchez de Lozada and Berzaín to be tried in their homeland along with the rest of their cabinet. Experts say it's highly unlikely either man will be forced to return to Bolivia.

For the Aymaras, the only hope lies in Miami.

"My husband was a really good person, especially with my son. It's not the same without him. My son even today still asks about his father," Sonia says. "For this we keep fighting ­— for some sort of justice."

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