María Luisa Ramos Urzagaste
Maria Luisa Ramos Urzagaste, Bolivia’s Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2017. She served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Bolivia to the Russian Federation in 2009−2015, Ambassador to Spain in 2016−2017 and Vice-Minister of Economic Relations of Bolivia in 2006−2007. She received an award from the Russian Foreign Ministry "For the contribution in international cooperation". Member of the Executive Board of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, GECF since 2009 to 2012, representing Bolivia. Currently as a columnist for the Russian agency SputnikNews in Spanish, she addresses issues of international politics, environment, history, and regional integration, among others.
Prohibited to forget Grooms of Death
One of the tragic consequences of the World War II was the decision of the United States' intelligence services to recruit Nazis and to allow them to work with American institutions. By doing so the Nazis were given a second chance and did not miss it.

Martin A. Lee in his 1997 book The Beast Reawakens [1] narrates that after the war many Nazis remained at large. In 1947 the guiding principle of the American counterintelligence was established: the hunt for Nazi was replaced by anti-Communist activities. Although the agents of the United States Army Counter Intelligence Corps (Army CIC) continued to track down Nazis, the goal was not to arrest them, but rather to recruit them.

Approximately 120,000 Nazis cadre belonged to this category, they were mostly members of the SS and the Gestapo, high-ranking officers of the Wehrmacht and some officials of the Third Reich.

This decision as a part of the new strategy of world domination by the United States had severe consequences for Latin America.
The continent was supposed to become not only a refuge, but also a new space for planning, preparation, carrying out coups and for the rule of the bloodthirsty military dictatorships
Thus, the chief of the Wehrmacht Foreign Armies East military intelligence service on the Eastern Front during World War II Major-general Reinhard Gehlen in April 1945 reached an agreement with Americans that allowed him to start working for them. Gehlen informed them that there was an enormous data archive he had hidden in the mountains and revealed the information about his intelligence network that operated against the USSR. He was ready to share information and to continue to run an underground network of dedicated anti-Communists, but this time taking into account American interests and goals.

Americans knew that they were making a deal with criminals who had committed heinous crimes against humanity.
However, the logic "the end justifies the means" prevailed in this decision to recruit Nazis and use them for performing their new — but in reality, their old — functions
One of the major criminals on this list was the head of the local Gestapo in Lyon, hauptsturmführer of the SS Klaus Barbie. For his extreme brutality during the war he was nicknamed The Butcher of Lyon. In 1948 a French court sentenced him in absentia to death for war crimes. The same year Barbie became an agent of the US Army CIC.

In 1951 Barbie escaped to Latin America using one of the so-called ratlines. Under his new identity of Klaus Altmann, he started to serve as a security adviser to brutal political regimes in Bolivia.

Barbie confessed to French journalists that he had worked for Gehlen. The Butcher of Lyon lived unpunished in Bolivia for more than three decades until Vice-Minister of Internal Affairs Gustavo Sánchez handed him over to France in 1983 so that Barbie could stand trial for his crimes.

Sánchez tracked down this Nazi war criminal while he worked as a journalist. According to Sánchez, during the guerilla warfare of 1967 led by Ernesto Che Guevara, Barbie, who at that time was an adviser to the Bolivian dictator René Barrientos, carried out interrogations and torture together with CIA officers. During Hugo Banzer’s dictatorship in the early 1970s this Nazi war criminal continued to torture members of the opposition of the regime.
In Bolivia Barbie (Klaus Altmann) had a large business with drug dealers and his own death squad which was known by the name Grooms of Death
In 1970s Gustavo Sánchez with his French colleague Régis Debray and Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld planned to kidnap Barbie, but the plan eventually failed. In 1982 Hernán Siles Zuazo became the president of Bolivia and the country started to shift towards democracy. Siles Zuazo appointed Sánchez as a Vice-Minister of Internal Affairs and tasked him with handing over Barbie to the French justice system. In 1983 Barbie-Altmann was captured for not paying taxes so Sánchez personally sent him to jail and later to Lyon.

Barbie could not believe that he was going to be sent to Lyon. On the airfield Sánchez asked him: "Do you remember how you sent 600,000 Jews to the concentration camps? Given the fact that you killed so many in Lyon, you are going back there".
"No", Barbie responded, "in a war there are winners and losers". Sánchez told him: "Well, then you lost, it is time to pay"
Upon sending the criminal to France, Sánchez risked his own life: lots of right-wing radical groups in Bolivia which were connected to Barbie promised to take revenge on him. In France, where Sánchez was the only Bolivian witness at the trial, he also received similar threats: the supporters of Jean-Marie Le Pen, who sympathized with the Nazis, stalked him.
"Act of loyalty"
Gustavo Sánchez also discovered[2] the 'act of loyalty' to the Bolivian Army that Barbie-Altmann signed on February 12th, 1980 in advance of the preparations for the bloody military coup led by Luis García Meza.

In this act he pledges to provide services to the Bolivian Army, namely "maintain order", "cooperate unconditionally in the field of intelligence" and "participate directly in planning and carrying out operations". This is exactly what he did. Barbie, according to Sánchez[3], became the ideologist and the main organizer of the coup which as a result allowed general Luis García Meza to seize power in the country.
While evaluating torture techniques during the dictatorships of Banzer and García Meza, Guido Benavides, who was responsible for political order under the dictatorship, said: "Klaus was the best adviser to the Army at that time"
A journalist named Carlos Soria Galvarro interviewed Klaus Barbie while he was being transported to France. The cynicism of the Nazi shocked the journalist. The Butcher of Lyon told him that he felt happy when he arrived to La Paz because he saw the White Shirts movement marching and performing a Nazi salute. Those were young members of local Phalanx, the organization similar to the Spanish Phalanx. Also, Barbie admitted that he sympathized a lot with the dictator Banzer.

During their time in France Bolivian journalist team collected valuable additional material for their interview with Barbie[4], the testimonies by the members of French resistance, those who survived. But all of it disappeared, was lost or intentionally erased from Bolivian television archives. The interview with Barbie has been preserved only because Soria made a copy of it for himself.
Modern admirers
The list of collaborationists, admirers and practitioners of Nazism and fascism in Latin America is long. Many things are yet to be investigated and published. Recently the Simon Wiesenthal Center made public the names of 12,000 Nazis in Argentina[5], many of whom sent money to a Swiss bank. In Chile there are things about the role of the Nazis, their Colonia Dignidad and Augusto Pinochet that are yet to be described.

Nazi war criminals who were granted asylum in Latin America, in 1970s directly took part in American special services' operation called Operation Condor. The goal of the operation was to eliminate physically the members of left-wing political opposition, prominent politicians, diplomats, and public figures; Thousands of victims were tortured, disappeared, and killed during those years of terror.
Today in Brazil, Olavo de Carvalho, the ideologue and an adviser to the president Jair Bolsonaro, is an open admirer of Julius Evola and Giovanni Gentile, two individuals who inspired the fascist movement in Europe[6]
Outbreaks of the far-right ideas have resumed today in different parts of the world.

It is clear that despite the military defeat of the Nazism, the fascist ideology remains. The fight against it is continuous, it cannot be minimized, and we cannot disregard these risks.
[1] Lee Martin A. The Beast Reawakens. NYC: Little, Brown and Company, 1997, 546 pp.

[2] Soria C. Barbie-Altmann: De la Gestapo a la CIA [Electronic resources] URL: (accessed: 24.04.2020).

[3] In pursuit of Bolivia’s secret Nazi [Electronic resources] // The Guardian URL: (accessed: 24.04.2020).

[4] Soria C. Barbie-Altmann: De la Gestapo a la CIA [Electronic resources] URL: (accessed: 24.04.2020).

[5] Wiesenthal Centre Reveals 12,000 Names of Nazis in Argentina, Many of Whom Apparently Had Accounts Transferred to Credit Suisse [Electronic resources] // The Simon Wiesenthal Center URL: (accessed: 24.04.2020).

[6] Olavo de Carvalho: [Electronic resources] URL: 840 892 009 771 008 (accessed: 24.04.2020: 24.04.2020).
On the use of information

All materials on this website are available under license from Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided the source is acknowledged.

Demonstration of Nazi and fascist paraphernalia or symbols on this resource is related only to the description of the historical context of the events of the 1930−1940s, is not its propaganda and does not justify the crimes of fascist Germany.