Hunting in Bolivia

Submitted by Steven. on November 6, 2011

Exactly one month after the warrant was issued, on 10 October, the military dictatorship of General Luis Garcia Meza was obliged to hand over power to the civilian government of Dr Siles Zuazo. The junta strong man, Interior Minister Colonel Luis Arce Gomez, aware that the days of his power were rapidly coming to an end, had already arranged to have himself accredited as military attaché to the Bolivian Embassy in Buenos Aires and on 4 October, one week before the elections, he crossed the frontier with a convoy of five cars and an immense personal fortune. Both Arce Gomez and Garcia Meza were later (unsurprisingly) given political asylum in Argentina, the country which had originally helped them attain power, and permitted to travel in cars without number plates and with their own armed bodyguards.

The Italian authorities had been waiting for this moment. Italian secret service agents had apparently been hot on the trail of Delle Chiaie in Bolivia and Argentina for some months previously and when the news came of the election of the new president of Bolivia they moved immediately to spring the trap.

At 20.00 hours GMT on Saturday, 9 October 1982, an Alitalia DC 10, chartered under mysterious circumstances, left Rome’s Fiumicino airport bound for La Paz. On board were twelve Italian secret service officers and antiterrorist policemen.

With the full cooperation of the newly elected Bolivian government the Italians organised an operation for the arrest of Delle Chiaie and Pagliai which bore little similarity to the capture by Israeli agents of Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires twenty years previously. Whereas Eichmann was snatched from under the noses of his Argentinian hosts and bundled aboard an El Al plane, for the attempted capture of Pagliai special squads of Bolivian security forces surrounded Pagliai’s house in the garrison town of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the drug capital of Latin America and the bastion of the leading right-wing party of Bolivia, the Falange Socialista Boliviana, the inner core of Bolivian reaction. Pagliai was found to be not at home, however, and so the security forces awaited his return from the Puerta Banegas province where he was reported to have been with a group of hunters. At midday on Sunday, 10 October, Pagliai, the young terrorist torture freak, drove into the Plaza Nuestra Señora de Fatima, and the police moved in to surround his jeep. In the gunfight which ensued Pagliai received a bullet in his neck which lodged in his spinal cord. Pagliai was unfortunate. He had been making preparations to follow Garcia Meza and Arce Gomez from Bolivia and return to his home base in Argentina, with his Argentinian wife and their child.

According to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, he had the previous week transferred 15 million dollars to his bank account in Argentina. He was operated on at Santa Cruz and taken to La Paz on the Alitalia DC 10, and then, after the granting of extradition, to Rome where he arrived on 13 October in a coma. He recovered consciousness but remained paralysed in all four limbs, eventually dying in a Rome hospital 24 days after his forced repatriation. It is not known what if anything he said of Delle Chiaie.


Of Delle Chiaie, the main target of the international manhunt, there was no sign. Once again he had lived up to his name of “untouchable”. It is entirely within the bounds of probability that he was forewarned of the search for him by wellwishers in the Italian, American or Argentinian secret services and so made good his escape. It is also entirely within his character that he should have allowed Pagliai to walk into the trap or indeed have sent him into it to save his own skin. As usual with Delle Chiaie, there are a number of contradictory reports as to the manner of his escape. Some say he escaped from Santa Cruz to Argentina on 10 October with other members of the Bolivian military regime.

According to a report in the Venezuelan daily El Nacional Delle Chiaie escaped using the name Alfredo Modugno, an assumed name by which he had been registered as a participant at the first “Ibero-American Congress of Democratic Journalists” scheduled to start the very day the military regime fell. Other reports have Delle Chiaie escaping across the Peruvian border near Puno on 11 October under the name Mario Esposito and accompanied by three bodyguards.

On 22 December 1982 Delle Chiaie issued a press statement, from hiding, to the Italian ANSA news agency announcing a warning to the new government of Bolivia and the world. He stated that there was already being created a “Civil Military Junta” to take full advantage of the sharp contradictions among the components of the democratic process begun the previous 10 October and to capture power.

According to the La Paz daily, Meridiano, which carried the story, this is the first time the “Black Pimpernel” (their description) had been heard of since the failure of the security operation to catch him over two months earlier. The paper goes on to say there is no reason to disbelieve in the existence of this clandestine junta.

The fascist terrorist who until recently lived in Bolivia states that the subversive international has ample possibilities because the revolutionary movement is now connected with many political sectors, including those with differential doctrinarial aspirations [presumably this is an attempt to raise the spectre of so-called opposing extremisms again]. …why do the Americans, French and Israelis search for him and his comrades hiding in Bolivia? To understand this, he says, one has to talk about what we were doing in Bolivia. In 1980 Bolivian comrades asked us to give direct support to the revolution which would bring the military to power. It was in this way that ‘Vanguardia Nazionale’ took part, as it had in Costa Rica, Spain, Angola, Portugal, Chile, El Salvador and Argentina.
“…We were not present in a mercenary role but rather as political militants who knew how to win esteem and respect. Our activities unleashed a series of international manoeuvres aimed at thwarting this process of winning influence which confirmed the value and worth (pragmatic) of our ideas and our political projects.”

According to Delle Chiaie, the Americans are looking for him because he and his comrades opposed the pressures of the USA (the American ambassador behaved as though Bolivia was a province of his Empire) to destroy the cocoa plantations.


The French, went on Delle Chiaie, were after him for another reason. “We tore up a pre-contract signed between France and Bolivia in 1979 for the exploration and exploitation of uranium resources. The contract had a clause which was too advantageous to France.”

As for the persecution by the Israelis, Delle Chiaie explained: “We are constantly working to explain to the Bolivians the methods and objectives of international Zionism.”

Remembering that the government of Hernan Siles Zuazo decreed his expulsion, he said: “There are some sectors who want to capture me, preferably dead. With me, it won't be an easy job. They look for us, but we are on the look out for them.”

Speaking of the present situation: “The government is in the hands of minor marxist elements … the economic difficulties and the social conflict are assuming proportions which have no precedent … now a clandestine civil military junta has been organised which hopes to rebuild on such sharp contradictions, a power which represents the real interests of the Bolivian people.”

Wherever Delle Chiaie is hiding — Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia, or Peru he will certainly reemerge at some time in the future to serve the interests of a power elite capable of any act no matter how horrific in the pursuit of its global objectives of subverting all forms of political dissent and all genuine movements for social progress.

The final word on Delle Chiaie in this present work lies with the repentant ex-head of the neo-fascist terrorist infrastructure, Aldo Tisei: “Delle Chiaie may be the shadowy figure of right-wing subversion. He is one of that breed of individuals who purport to be steadfast revolutionaries but in fact have three or four different faces. In the history of terrorism one finds people who assume their full share of responsibility and sign their statements and these are dubbed rogues. And there are others who have for years and do still strive to assume a pure status that they have never enjoyed. By now their role is clear: theirs is the role of prize spies.