The Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School are pleased to host “Black October's Legacy: Fighting Impunity with the Aymara Community of Bolivia” on Friday, November 22 at 6 p.m.
Join us as we hear indigenous activists from Bolivia discuss their struggles for justice and accountability for their loved ones.
Eloy Rojas Mamani and Etelvina Ramos Mamani are plaintiffs in Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín, a federal lawsuit brought against the former president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (often called “Goni”), and the former Minister of Defense, Carlos Sánchez Berzaín, for their roles in planning and ordering security forces in Bolivia to use deadly military force against unarmed civilians to suppress popular protests against government policies. In 2003, a soldier shot the Mamanis’ eight-year-old daughter Marlene through the window of their home in the village of Warisata. As one of the first casualties, Marlene became a face for the “Black October” struggle for justice. In all, over 70 people were killed and more than 500 injured in the government's attacks, most from the indigenous Aymara community.
This case represents the first time that a former head of state sat before his accusers in a civil human rights trial in a U.S. court. In April 2018, a U.S. jury in federal court unanimously found Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín responsible for extrajudicial killings carried out by the Bolivian military and awarded the plaintiffs in the case $10 million in damages. That May, a federal judge overturned the jury’s verdict. The plaintiffs appealed this decision, and oral argument will be held in an appeals court in Miami on Tuesday, November 19.
Hear from one of the families who brought this case, as they share their story, including what happened to their daughter, how they have fought for justice in the years since, and the significance of their fight to hold “Goni” accountable.
Doors at 6 pm, event starts at 6:30 pm.