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Security Minister Taken Hostage Begs For Life Live On Radio Prior To Murder

(REUTERS/David Mercado)

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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The second-in-command for Bolivia’s homeland security begged for his life on the radio prior to his brutal murder at the hands of a mob of angry miners Thursday.

The Bolivian government sent Deputy Interior Minister Rodolfo Illanes to be the government’s lead negotiator tasked with ending a miners’ strike that was blocking a major highway since Tuesday. Rather than listen to Illanes, miners took he and his bodyguard hostage at a roadblock.

Pragmatic miners initially wanted to use the senior government official as a bargaining chip in their negotiations for more union rights and the ability to work for private firms, so they kept him alive. The miners allowed Illanes to go live on the radio as proof of life while also making it clear they had no intent to let him go unless the government would work on new laws to expand miners’ rights.

Ultimately, the miners were not pleased with the government’s lack of responsiveness to their demands and they beat Illanes to death at 6 p.m. local time. The country’s President Evo Morales has since called for three days national mourning in the wake of the murder.

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