At a Glance
On April 3, 2018, in a landmark decision, a federal jury found Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín responsible for extrajudicial killings carried out by the Bolivian military, which killed more than 50 of its own citizens and injured hundreds during a period of civil unrest in September and October 2003, and awarded plaintiffs $10 million in compensatory damages. On May 30, 2018, the judge in the case overturned the unanimous jury verdict. The plaintiffs appealed the judge's decision to the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which ruled in their favor on August 3, 2020. On April 5, 2021, the district court judge denied Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín's motions for judgment in their favor on the TVPA claims or for a new trial, which the defendants appealed. The parties agreed to a settlement on September 28, 2023, that provides compensation in an undisclosed amount to the plaintiffs.
David Rudovsky of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP
Paul Hoffman of Schonbrun, DeSimone, Seplow, Harris and Hoffman LLP
Steven Schulman, Jeremy Bollinger, Jonathan Slowik, and Mariya Hutson of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Susan Farbstein, Thomas Becker, and Tyler Giannini of the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School
Ira Kurzban and Geoffrey Hoffman of Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger & Tetzoli
Eloy Rojas Mamani
Etelvina Ramos Mamani
Sonia Espejo Villalobos
Hernan Apaza Cutipa
Juan Patricio Quispe Mamani
Teofilo Baltazar Cerro
Juana Valencia De Carvajal
Hermogenes Bernabe Callizaya
Gonzalo Mamani Aguilar
Felicidad Rosa Huanca Quispe
Mamani et al v. Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín is a federal lawsuit brought against the former president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, and the former Minister of Defense, Carlos Sánchez Berzaín, for their respective 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 all, security forces under their leadership slaughtered 58 citizens and injured more than 400, almost all from indigenous Aymara communities. The suit, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) and Florida law, charges Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín with extrajudicial killings and wrongful death for their roles in the massacre of unarmed civilians, including children.
Each of the nine plaintiffs is the survivor of one of the individuals killed by forces under Sánchez de Lozada's and Sánchez Berzaín's command. Among the nine plaintiffs are Eloy Rojas Mamani and Etelvina Ramos Mamani, whose 8-year-old daughter was killed in her mother's bedroom when a single shot was fired through the window; Teofilo Baltazar Cerro, whose pregnant wife was killed after a bullet was fired through the wall of a house, killing her and her unborn child; Felicidad Rosa Huanca Quispe, whose 69-year-old father was shot and killed along a roadside; and Gonzalo Mamani Aguilar, whose father was shot and killed.