Dwyer laid to rest but questions remain

AS Tipperary man Michael Dwyer is laid to rest tomorrow, questions still remain unanswered as to why he was shot dead by Bolivian security forces almost two weeks ago.

The 24-year-old, along with two other men, Hungarian-Bolivian Eduardo Rózsa-Flores and Romanian Arpad Magyarosi, were gunned down while still in their underwear in the Hotel Las Americas in Santa Cruz in the east of the country.

Bolivian authorities said they were planning the assassination of the Bolivian President Evo Morales but conclusive evidence of that assertion has not been presented to officials here nor in the home countries of the other two dead men.

Morales’s prosecutors claim to have footage recorded very fuzzily on a mobile phone in which the three men as well as two others, now in Bolivian custody, reportedly discuss the killing of the president during a trip to Lake Titicaca.

However, the veracity of that recording remains questionable.

With the three men dead and two others ensconced in a Bolivian jail cell, with one claiming to have been repeatedly beaten with rifle butts, it is becoming increasingly difficult to establish what actually happened that night.

There is evidence to suggest that the gang of men Michael Dwyer was indisputably a part of did have malintent in being in Bolivia.

The leader of the group, Flores, had confirmed before heading to Bolivia that the intention was to secure autonomy for the Santa Cruz region where he was born and, in the end, where he died.

However, there is also damning evidence that what happened to the three men was murder. The fact they were in their underwear, the fact there has been no proof given to external authorities that they were armed at the time and the fact that they were pictured handcuffed while dead, has raised suspicions they were taken from their beds and executed rather than engaging in a 30-minute gunfight as claimed by Morales and his authorities.

An insurance report filed by the hotel found no sign of an exchange of fire, according to the local La Razón newspaper.

Opposition parties believe that there was no resistance. “What happened was the killing of three people who were sleeping, which means murder,” said Oscar Ortiz, president of Bolivia’s Senate and one of Morales’s main opponents.

The killings have given Morales an excuse to introduce up to 1,000 troops to the Santa Cruz region under the pretext of protecting the country from “the presence of terrorists that are a potential threat to the security of the Bolivian state”.

This evening Michael Dwyer’s body will be removed from Keller’s Funeral Home in Nenagh to Terryglass Church where he will be buried following 11am Mass tomorrow.

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