WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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At eight o'clock on Tuesday morning we were at the airport, where we were made to wait at the baggage check-in. Then we were told that a telegram had come from La Paz denying us permission to enter and instructing us to get in touch with the Bolivian Embassy. The Bolivian consul saw everything that happened at the airport. The American correspondent boarded the plane, saying he was sorry he would not be able to talk to us on the way. We picked up our luggage again and took a taxi straight to the Bolivian Embassy, where the ambassador told us we would have to apply for a visa to the Ministry of the Interior and the Foreign Ministry by means of a telegram with the reply prepaid.

When we got back to the Savoy, I sent the two telegrams, plus one to Greminger to remind him that it was he who had asked us to return. There was nothing to do now but wait, and our hopes sank. Mme. Halaunbrenner was truly in despair over having come so far, only to be kept from entering Bolivia.

We still had close contacts with the newspapers, which started a campaign on the theme: The Bolivians are protecting Barbie by forbidding his accusers the right to demand justice in Bolivia.

I went back alone to the Bolivian consulate as soon as it opened on Wednesday. About 5 P.M. Agence France Presse telephoned me that there had been a dramatic event in La Paz. The Bolivian Minister of the Interior had released a statement saying that Colonel Banzer himself had granted us a visa, that the Altmann papers were actually being studied in the Foreign Ministry (and also in the Ministry of the Interior), and that the legal authorities would reach a decision in good time.

I dashed to the Bolivian consulate with the AFP dispatch, but was told that nothing had come through yet. The consul, Ricardo Ríos, a great friend of Barbie, seemed overjoyed at giving me a negative answer. I was hardly back at the hotel, however, when he called me to say that he had just got our authorization. This time it was I who was overjoyed. I did a pirouette, exclaiming: "Now you see I was right to keep on hoping."

We arrived in La Paz on Thursday at 12:30 P.M. I was worried about how Mme. Halaunbrenner would stand the altitude, but she seemed to take it better than I. As soon as the plane landed, a young man came aboard to tell me that I had to promise not to make any statements to the newspapers or I would be expelled at once.
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
Previous Page  Back Page 267 Forward  Next Page