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.
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.