The United States has suspended $66 million in aid for Bolivia to protest the appointment of a former intelligence chief to head the nation's anti-drug squad, a government official said.
Col. Faustino Rico Toro, who took over the anti-drug post last week, headed the notorious army intelligence division during the 1980-81 military regime of Gen. Luis Garcia Meza.Many human rights groups have charged the intelligence unit was responsible for torture and other abuses under Toro's command. Garcia Meza's former interior minister was convicted of drug dealing in Miami earlier this year.
The suspension of the U.S. military and economic aid was disclosed by goverment officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and confirmed by U.S. Embassy sources.
The embassy sources, who also declined to be named, noted that humanitarian aid for fiscal 1991 would not be affected. The amount of the humanitarian aid package was not immediately known.
Toro's appointment by the civilian government of Jaime Paz Zamora was also criticized by opposition and labor leaders.