An Italian neo-fascist track is emerging from the investigations being conducted to shed light on the massacre of 15 peasants occurred on past 11th September in the Department of Pando. Former paratrooper Marco Marino Diodato, 51, , is believed to be linked, according to the journalist and former member of the Bolivian parliament Michel Irusta, to Pando’s prefect Leopoldo Fernández who has been arrested for having broken the state of emergency decreed in the Department. Diodato is thought to have been in cahoots with Fernández and others in financing the death squadrons responsible for the 11 September massacre.
Of the same opinion is the journalist Wilson Garcìa Mérida according to which Diodato is suspected to have recently operated in the “rebel” Departments of the “media luna” (Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando e Tarija) “setting up death squadrons”.
The neo-fascist, who moved to Bolivia on late 70’s, in the past worked on behalf of the dictator Hugo Banzer, whose niece he married, and of Luis Garcìa Meza. Accused of leading a clan of drug dealers, he has been sentenced to 10 years and, after an escape, he has gone into hiding since 2004. - Tlaxcala
(Datos & Análisis) - Marco Marino Diodato, the exterminator who arrived in Bolivia with the mercenaries brought by Klaus Barbie to support Garcia Meza's coup, is not the only criminal to fake his death to evade the forces of justice. They say he killed himself in anger and out of spite, but there is no legal evidence in this regard. He is wanted for the horrendous murder of a dignified Santa Cruz woman, the prosecutor Mónica von Borries, and there is more than one indication of his re-involvement in the circle of large landowners who protect him; those who cheered the September 11 massacre in Pando.
In 1992, in the obituary section of Los Tiempos a religious notice appeared announcing the death, in the United State, of a known drug-trafficker, "Adrian", allied with Jorge Roca Suárez's (alias "Straw Roof") gang. The announcement caused smiles in Cochabamba because everyone knew that this pichicatero (cocaine pusher) who laundered money in this city through restaurant chains, motels and brothels, was alive and well in San Diego, California, with a new identity and well-protected by the DEA; but, faced with his "death" he was freed of the charges for various crimes he committed in Bolivia.
A few years earlier, in 1989, in the Department of Beni, they spoke of the death of mafioso Yayo Rodríguez Román, accused of leading the kidnapping and murder of 36 Brazilian pilots whose bodies were found in a mass grave discovered on the hacienda of the drug-trafficker. Yayo Rodríguez's gang robbed airplanes on the border with Brazil, killing their owners, to refashion them to fly to the Gulf of Mexico (a route freed up by the DEA for "post-Roberto Suárez" Bolivian drug-trafficking) where they would unload the drugs while the "disposable" airplanes were tossed into the sea. Yayo Rodríguez was "buried" with solemn funeral services, but his body was never seen. When the State Prosecutor went to exhume the body, he found rocks in the coffin.
Among mafiosos in general and drug-traffickers in particular, it's a common strategy to "appear dead" in any effective manner to avoid the weight of the law when their crimes are extreme, such as premeditated murder. But they also "die" as part of a cover-up action executed by the DEA and the CIA when these entities – which have no scruples allying themselves with experienced criminals for political reasons – can benefit using their "witness protection programs."
As it was, in its April 13 edition, El Deber in Santa Cruz put out a notice regarding the "death" of Marco Marino Diodato, the Italian paramilitary and drug-trafficker who came to Bolivia with Klaus Barbie's mercenaries to support the coup d'état of Luis García Meza in 1980. Diodato, who married former dictator Hugo Bánzer Suárez's niece, fled Santa Cruz in 2004 after murdering with a high-powered bomb the State Prosecutor Mónica von Borries. The unusual notice of the murderer's death, not at all confirmed, is the same old trick of mafiosos of the same stripe.
WHO IS, OR WAS, MARCO MARINO DIODATO
The news has also been spread also by the Italian media: according to two Bolivian journalists, Aldo Michel Irusta and Wilson Garcìa Merida, the Italian Marco Marino Diodato is suspected to be behind the massacre which occurred on 11th September in El Porvenir (Bolivia) where death squadrons tied to the so called “civic groups” opposing President Evo Morales killed 15 peasants who were going to an assembly in favour of the President.
Diodato, who was born in San Giovanni Teatino, Chieti’s province (Abruzzi), little more than 50 years ago, moved to Bolivia in the early 80’s, following suit of Italian neo-fascists who had fled to Spain or South America, countries ruled by dictators to whom they offered their services by getting in touch with the local power elites which in turn gave them shelter.
In Santa Cruz, Diodato married a niece of General Hugo Banzer ( who held de facto power from 1971 to 1978 and then, by election, from 1997 to 2001).
After enrolling as a paratrooper ( he also joined the Bolivian army, within which he is thought to have set up, between 1994 and 1995 and according to Giovanna Vitrano in selvas.org, 2004, “the FRIE, Fuerza de Reacjon Immediata del Ejercito, a group of paratroopers entrusted with “protecting” civilians from drug traffickers’ and terrorist attacks”), Diodato is presumed to have acted as military adviser and set up paramilitary militias to defend landowners, besides making money hand over fist as contractor. In 1999 he was arrested in the wave of an investigation over cloned Army mobile phones and then he was also accused (along with his father Tullio, a honorary consul, and other Italians living in Bolivia) of money laundering, as well as drug and weapon smuggling. The investigations managed to detect his ties with the Mafioso Nitto Santapaola.
After the escape on 31st January 2004 from the clinic where he was being hospitalized due to heart problems ( he left a note on which it was written that “ the utmost expression of cowardice and violence is when they make use of justice in order to get the innocent sentenced. It’s high time we start fighting again to die as soldiers”), he has remained within the white aristocracy milieu from the Bolivian “media luna” and he has become one of the advisers of Pando’s prefect Leopoldo Fernټndez ( who was arrested after the slaughter in El Porvenir), as well as advisor and honorary member of the Youth Union of Santa Cruz and amongst the instigators of the “civic groups” opposing President Morales over regional autonomy which over the last two months have succeeded in carrying out an outright coup attempt.
Diodato has also been accused of killing the prosecutor who was investigating him ( and who was at that time inquiring into a presumably Diodato-linked Bolivian-Chilean group taking over a great deal of land), Mónica Van Borries, who died in a car bomb explosion in February 2004.
Later it was spread the news about Diodato’s death who is believed to have hung in a farm called Coloradillo in March 2004 because of a serious depression: it’s the conviction held by Herland Campos Reimers in his book “Diodato: el final de un fugitivo” (Diodato: the end of a fugitive) that is now being questioned by the two Bolivian journalists Irusta and Garcìa Merida.
An obscure and strange story, that of Diodato, who is continuously linked to Mafia and drug-smuggling affairs ( and in this second case there are suspicions about DEA’s involvement) while other evidences instead seems to suggest that his business intertwined with that of some criminal firms tied with important landowners intriguing to take over the flourishing lands in the eastern part of Bolivia (not surprisingly Mónica Von Borries was investigating this).
MV, translated by DT, revised by Machetera,Tlaxcala
Requiem for a heartless one?
The newspaper El Deber, in the above-mentioned edition, published an interview with journalist Herland Campos Reimers, who, in a book entitled "Diodato: the end of a fugitive", put forth the hypothesis that the mafioso "hung himself from a rain tree, on a property called Coloradillo, which is located six kilometers past Warnes, in March of 2004, that is to say, a month and a half after his January 31 escape from the Bilbao Clinic, where he was under police custody." According to this "hypothesis," the cause of this fatal decision "was depression for feeling abandoned by his friends and family, without money, and because his wife had become involved with his brother in Italy."
Campos assured that he began to gather the facts in his book when he met the hunter and fisherman Luis Fernando Finetti Justiniano, of Italian descent, who "had worked for Diodato in the games of chance and was one of his only friends."
Finetti was a passionate fisherman, like the author of the book, and in one of their many fishing trips the topic of Diodato came up. "After the Italian fled, I asked (Finetti) if he knew of his whereabouts, but he refused to talk, I insisted that I didn't want to do anything that would damage him, but he said nothing. By his expression I felt that he was protecting him, that he knew where he was hidden, so I gave him my card," related Campos.
"More than three years passed and one day in May 2007, I received a call. It was Finetti, offering me information about Diodato. I went to the site, outside of Warnes, where, crying, he told me that his friend was dead. He had hung himself from a tree," said Campos. "He told me that he buried Diodato's body on this property and let some time pass before calling me. During our meeting, he offered to take me to the place where he had supposedly buried the remains, giving me some information as to the location. We agreed to meet again, but a few days before our next meeting, Finetti died in an accident. He died on May 27, 2007, when he left a supply shop near the milk factory in Warnes. A vehicle ran him over from behind. The police didn't think so, but there could be someone behind this," said Herland Campos to journalist Igor Ruiz of El Deber. (In any case, it is most likely that it was Diodato who killed Finetti.)
Campos says that "the real investigation" into the case of Diodato began after the death of his informant. "I interviewed one of his cousins and other fishermen. One of them took me to Coloradillo, where I found a military boot used by Diodato. I have evidence and many facts to contribute if justice wants to exhume the Italian's body," assured Campos. In his book, Campos includes interviews with friends of Finetti, who affirm that "the hunter told them that he had protected the Italian and that he died having hung himself."
Nevertheless, in the months that have passed since the publication of this "revelation," the police and judicial authorities searching for Diodato for the murder of prosecutor Mónica von Borries have not found the body. On the contrary, in the past few days there have been consistent reports that the dangerous mafioso was seen in the territories of the "media luna" which produced the merciless massacre in Pando on September 11, amongst other criminal acts amounting to a coup d'état.
Diodato and Leopoldo Fernández
Between May and June of this year, the Department of Pando – an area that falls within the orbit of Santa Cruz inside the "media luna", territory that seeks to separate itself from the indigenous government of Evo Morales – was the scene of a wave of crimes and assassinations committed by the hit men of drug-traffickers who, with impunity and the protection of the separatist "governor" Leopoldo Fernández, camp out in this isolated, Amazon area of Bolivia. In less than a year there have been more that 30 "adjusting of accounts" with executions in complete public view committed by paid killers brought from Brazil, where, according to judicial documents, Diodato recruited members for his gang.
This criminal presence, promoted and organized from the Prefecture of Leopoldo Fernández, had the unmistakable seal of Marco Marino Diodato, who, it's been assured – from very trustworthy police sources that are in contact with "Datos & Análisis" – has returned to his activities advising the neo-fascist "Santa Cruz Youth Union," of which Diodato has been an "honorary member" since 2001. This paramilitary organization which follows the orders of the president of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee, the wealthy Croatian landowner Branco Marinkovic, has expanded its influence and activities into other areas in the separatist orbit, including Cochabamba and Chuquisaca, along with Santa Cruz, Beni, Tarija and Pando.
On the eve of the Pando massacre that would happen on September 11, "Datos & Análisis" received a call from a police source assuring that, in July, Diodato was seen in a residential area in Tiquipaya, in Cochabamba, when this Department was still governed by the separatist prefect Manfred Reyes Villa.
Fortunately, Reyes Villa's mandate was revoked by the August 10 referendum; today Cochabamba is free from the Balkanizing influence of the "media luna." Regarding the presence of Diodato in this Department, they did not offer us more details; but we've been in contact with other sources – military, police and judicial – confirming that Diodato today is in Santa Cruz, protected by members of the "Santa Cruz Youth Union." They assured us that Diodato maintains direct contact with the leaders of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee and other leaders in the "media luna."
However, in police circles, there are those that put forth the possibility that Diodato is being confused with the civic president Branko Marinkovic, who has a surprising physical likeness to the Italian criminal. But it's more probable that there is not an error and that Diodato has effectively "risen from the grave."
The execution of tens of peasants in Pando, among them pregnant women and school-age children, those disastrous events of September 11, have the unmistakable neo-Nazi seal of an exterminator like Diodato. Leopoldo Fernández, the "governor" of Pando, was Interior Minister during the governments of Hugo Banzer Suárez and Tuto Quiroga, precisely when Diodato had a position as "adviser," with military rank, inside the state bodies of repression.
Searching for the exterminator
At noon on Friday, February 27, 2004, a car bomb exploded when prosecutor Mónica von Borries left her home on her way to her office in the Santa Cruz Public Ministry. The murder occurred when von Borries had began to investigate the illegal appropriation of more than 400,000 hectares by construction magnate and former minister of the MNR (Revolutionary Nationalist Movement) Andrés Petricevic, in the face of complaints by the Landless Movement (MST) who demanded the return of this land for the benefit of thousands of poor peasants. Prosecutor von Borries also investigated the illegal allocation of indigenous lands, including a lake, unlawfully held by Croatian businessman Branco Marinkovic.
Investigations established that the murder had been committed by Italian drug-trafficker Marco Marino Diodato, who at that moment was a fugitive after escaping from the Palmasola jail where he was imprisoned for "cloning" cell phones belonging to the High Military Command. Diodato escaped from jail during the government of Sánchez de Lozada and assassinated prosecutor von Borries during the presidency of Carlos Mesa.
Von Borries also investigated Diodato for his connections with wealthy landowners who took over indigenous lands. Anti-drug forces discovered a cocaine factory on one of his haciendas. The assassination of the prosecutor was the beginnings of an escalating criminal conspiracy, a year after the murder, with the proposal of the "Referendum on Autonomy" put forth by the "City Hall of Santa Cruz", in January 2005. The outcome of this first separatist escalation was the resignation of Carlos Mesa in June 2005, when the "Santa Cruz Youth Union", of which Diodato was an instructor and mentor, as well as an "honorary member", began to openly mobilize.
In that moment, according to information put out by analyst Aníbal Jerez, the fascism of Santa Cruz became corporativized through business organizations such as the CAINCO (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) and the CAO (Eastern Agriculture Chamber), as well as the Santa Cruz Civic Committee and lodges such as the "Camba Nation", all of which are among the fraternities of the eastern oligarchs.
The Bolivian press has indentified the businessmen Branco Marinkovic, Rubén Costas, Oscar Serrate, Rafael Paz, Oscar Ortiz and the Dabdoud brothers as the public heads of this violent movement: these, said Jerez, "receive stipends from petroleum companies as members of their boards, or are partners with Chilean capitalists in the export of various items."
Diodato integrated himself into these lodges, enjoying all their perks. After the assassination of prosecutor von Borries, the Italian was captured again; but he immediately faked an illness, his lawyers requested he be moved to a clinic in Santa Cruz, and from there he escaped with complete ease. Bolivia is still seeking justice.
Source: Diodato, historia de un exterminador en Bolivia
Original article published on Sept. 29, 2008
About the author
Scott Campbell is the editor of the blog http://angrywhitekid.blogs.com/and a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity, of which Manuela Vittorelli, Diego Traversa and Machetera are also members. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, translator and reviser are cited.
URL of this article on Tlaxcala: http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=6103&lg=en