Special Security Service (Bolivia)

Country: Bolivia
Details of Formation: Garcia Meza overthrew his cousin Lidia Gueiler Tejada in 1980 in what is known as the ‘cocaine-coup’, with the help of various paramilitary groups. When in power, Garcia Meza’s minister of Interior, Colonel Arce Gomez, reorganized these paramilitary groups under the name ‘Special Security Services’ (SES). The group was created sometime between July 1980 and July 1981. Human Rights Watch mentions that it was established under the supervision of Argentine advisers.
Details of Termination: The Special Security Services were still active during Guido Vildoso’s rule (after the second military dictator of the period, Celso Torrelio, was forced from power in July 1982). However, after democratically elected Hernán Siles became president in October there is no new information concerning the Special Security Services. We assume that the group was dissolved once democracy was reinstated in October 1982.
Purpose: Their main de-facto purpose was to intimidate political opposition. The government profited from these actions as it could deny the violence.
Organisation: The group is led by Colonel Freddy Quiroga and linked and responsible to the Interior Ministry (Human Rights Watch). However, many remain more loyal to local commanders.
Weapons and Training: The group was trained by a colonel who had himself been trained in Taiwan before. He was aided by mercenaries from France and West Germany.
Size: In September 1981 the group was estimated to have between 600 and 1,000 members
Reason for Membership: --
Treatment of Civilians: News sources report that the Special Security Service beat and tortured government critics. It killed political opposition and detained and tortured a parliamentary deputy. The Interior Minister then tried to cover up what had happened (Human Rights Watch).
Other Information: This group undertook some public and some private operations - possibly related to drug running. It operated out of white ambulances and tortured those they held prisioner. The name changed to Directorate of State intelligence (aka Special Investigation Department) (DIE) in 1981.
References: Human Rights Watch. 1992. “Bolivia. Almost Nine Years and Still no Verdict In the ‘Trial of Responsibiliites’.” Volume IV, Nummer 11.

(Wikipedia. “Law enforcement in Bolivia”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_enforcement_in_Bolivia#Special_Security_Group - not used because it is unclear whether this refers to the same group)