I played along with him, since I could not do
otherwise, but I had no intention of keeping a promise that had been extracted
from me. I would have betrayed my cause if I had kept my word. |
Brun, the AFP correspondent in Lima, had been in La Paz since Barbie was
released from jail. He met us and took us to the Hotel La Paz, where I promised
the disappointed reporters that I would see them soon.
I tried to see
Greminger, but it appeared that he had had his wrist slapped. "I no longer have
anything to do with the Barbie case," he said. "You will have to see Deputy
Foreign Minister Jaime Tapia."
Tapia gave me an appointment for 3:30
P.M. on Friday.
Things now seemed all in Barbie's favor. The
Presidential spokesman, Alfredo Arce, stated: "There are to be no proceedings
for extraditing Klaus Altmann. President Banzer thinks he has enough legal
evidence to consider the problem settled."
A few days earlier,
Constancio Carrón, Bolivia's leading expert on international law in
respect to private citizens, and also a counselor of the Foreign Ministry, had
Bolivia is an inviolable asylum, and all
who take refuge in it are sacrosanct. The time limit for the prosecution of
major crimes in Bolivia is eight years. Altmann-Barbie's are, therefore,
ancient history. The petty deception that Barbie practiced by disguising
himself as Altmann is at the most punishable in Bolivia by a small fine.
Carrón was also one of the lawyers who were handling
On Friday morning the American correspondent asked me
to breakfast at Maxim's, the city's best restaurant. He told me:
I was talking with Colonel Banzer on Wednesday, I told him what a bad
impression he was making on international opinion by preventing two such brave
women from entering Bolivia. That's what made Banzer change his mind, for he is
very sensitive to American opinion. The CIA, it appears, pays him seven dollars
a day for every prisoner he keeps in confinement for political reasons. That
money allows him to pay his army, which is always disgruntled."
afternoon we went to Jaime Tapia's office, and I gave him my new proofs. Mme.
Halaunbrenner wept as she told him about her family. He patted her kindly on
the shoulder and promised that he would try everything, but we knew what that