Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 1 Num. 72

("Quid coniuratio est?")


The following article is from Issue #4 of PARANOIA: The Conspiracy Reader (further info below).

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Abductions of Children and the Traffic in Organs By Maite Pinero, translated by George Andrews

A rumor has spread through Latin America that causes fear in the slums and rural areas: that children have been abducted or bought from poor families to be used as donors of organs. Last March in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, the secretary general of the provincial government, Librado Ricavar Ribera, announced the opening of an investigation on the traffic in organs. He disclosed that children in the Altiplano area and the suburbs of San Luis have been disappearing, and are then returned to their families several weeks later with one kidney missing. Mr. Ricavar Ribera stated that the children had been taken to clinics near the U.S. frontier. He added that the same traffic was going on in the neighboring province of Taumilipas, which is on the U.S. border. Several thousand dollars buy the silence of poor families. It is the neighbors who make the accusations. {1}.

One week later, after a brief search, the director of the department of health, Dr. Salazar Martinez, closed the investigation. The reason he gave for doing so was that such a network "would require an extremely sophisticated hospital organization."

Although the secretary of the provincial government had stated that the operations were not being carried out locally, but at the frontier, the department of health refuted his allegations on the grounds that there is no hospital in San Luis Potosi that does organ transplants. {2}.

When we met him, Dr. Salazar Martinez limited the interview to two minutes. According to him, the provincial official who sounded the alarm "demonstrated light-headed conduct," but nevertheless an investigation had been carried out. The doctor did not have time to give us any of the details. When asked whether he knew that a similar investigation had been ordered two years earlier, he no longer found time to continue the discussion.

As for Librado Ricavar Ribera, he has become the invisible man. It is impossible to meet him, or to reach him by phone. This is not at all surprising. All of those who have denounced the traffic in organs -- ministers, high officials, judges -- have been removed from office or otherwise silenced.

This scenario began at San Pedro Sula in Honduras. It was there that the police discovered several clandestine "nurseries" at the end of 1986; "casas de engorde" [CN -- houses where they fatten you up] as they were called locally, or houses in which children are made fat. The children were then illegally exported out of the country "for adoption."

In January 1987, after an investigation of several weeks, there was a dramatic disclosure. The secretary of the national department of social services, Leonardo Villeda Bermudez, revealed that the children had been used as donors of organs. He added that charitable institutions that care for the physically or mentally handicapped had been deceived by criminals, who presented themselves as generous benefactors. In interviews with the newspaper la Tribuna and with Radio America, Leonardo Villeda Bermudez described the investigation in detail. His conclusion was: "We have proof that the children, who had been bought or stolen from poor families, were sold for a minimum of ten thousand dollars each to organizations in the United States, to be used as donors of organs." {3}. On January 9th, the President of Honduras denied these allegations, and fired Leonardo Villeda Bermudez from his job. One month later, a similar scandal broke out in Guatemala, as the police arrested members of an organization that was exporting children to the U.S. and Israel. Among those arrested was Mrs. Ofelia Rosal de Gama, sister-in-law of the former general and dictator Mejia Victores. The chief public relations officer of the police, Baudilio Hichos Lopez, stated: "We know that children sent to the United States, supposedly to be adopted, were in fact used as organ donors."

In this same country, in January 1988, the scandal erupted again. The police arrested two "dealers in children" of Israeli nationality, Michal and Luis Rotman. The director of the drug enforcement agency, Miguel Aguirre, announced that "the prisoners have confessed that they exported children to Israel and the United States. The children were sold for seventy-five thousand dollars each to families in need of organ donors for their own children."

A violent controversy broke out. The embassy of Israel protested against "the monstrous accusation" based on "irresponsible declarations by an official" specifying that "It is unthinkable that such crimes could be committed in Israel" where the removal of organs is forbidden by law, and where the only authorized transplants "occur under strict conditions of control." When the embassy of the United States demanded that the newspaper El Grafico publish a retraction, the newspaper replied that it had merely repeated the statement made by the director of the drug enforcement agency. The minister of health put an end to the affair by announcing that the information published in El Grafico was false.

Simultaneously the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) presented a report to Congress entitled "Soviet Activities in the Glasnost Era" written by Herbert Romerstein of the USIA. The report reminded Congress that the Honduran official at the origin of the affair had retracted his statement, but did not mention that he had done so only after having been reprimanded by the President of Honduras. According to the USIA, the Guatemalan newspaper had merely refurbished the Honduran story. No mention at all was made in the USIA report of the very specific accusations made by officials of two different governments.

The attitude of the United States has never changed. According to the U.S., the rumor is the result of a Soviet-Cuban propaganda campaign. Those who sound the alarm, whether they be ministers, judges, lawyers, bishops, or organizations such as Defense of Children International or the International Association of Democratic Jurists, are denounced as "affiliated with Moscow." {6}. In September 1988, when the European Parliament voted a resolution condemning the traffic in organs, the assistant Secretary of State in Washington, Richard Schifter, accused the Parliament of propagating "shameless lies" invented by the Soviets.

In August 1988 the revelations of Judge Angel Campos in Asuncion, Paraguay, attracted a lot of attention. The police broke up an organization that was exporting children from Brazil, using Paraguay as an intermediary staging area. The question Judge Campos asked was: "Are they going to be adopted or dissected?" What had alerted the judge that there was something wrong was the fact that the children were being adopted by people "who did not seem to care whether the child walked with a limp, or had a harelip, or was born with an arm missing." Judge Campos expressed his intention of investigating this in depth, stating that the traffic in organs was a taboo subject, and a crime which is extremely difficult to prove. Judge Campos was then summoned to the U.S. embassy, which issued a statement that during the interview the judge had said: "At no time did I imply that the organs of the children were to be used for transplants in the United States."

However, new incidents kept occurring. On Nov. 14, 1988, the Peruvian press reported the story of Rosita, a little girl whose eyes had been taken. {8}. In Lima, the police raided medical facilities linked with the Mafia, while the Bishop of Chimbote, Monsignor Luis Armando Bambarem, declared that children who are poor and handicapped "are being murdered to obtain their organs."

According to the report submitted to the Parliament of Brazil last December, seven thousand children have been killed during the last four years. A professor of theology at Sao Paulo University, Father Barruel, appealed to the United Nations, saying that "75 percent of the bodies had internal mutilations, and in the majority of cases the eyes had been taken."

In Mexico, the accusations continue to accumulate. On June 24, 1989, the correspondent at Puebla for the newspaper El Universal denounced the abduction of three children, specifying "In a village on the banks of the Cuichol river, a child was kidnapped. He was found several weeks later at Tlatlauquitipec, about 50 kilometers from his home. He had been operated on, and had one kidney missing. He is in the hospital at Puebla." The journalist adds: "The lack of names is caused by the panic which strikes the families. People have refused to give me more precise information because they are afraid of reprisals." {9}.

In May 1990, the assistant District Attorney for the federal district of Mexico, Gustavo Bareta Rangel, declared that the disappearances of children "could be related to the traffic in organs, which is going on at the northern frontier of this country." {10}. In October, the Commission for Population Development of the Chamber of Deputies created a committee to investigate. The president of the department of health, education and social services for the federal district, Hector Ramirez Cuellar, specified that his committee would go to the frontier where, between Tijuana and Rosarito, the existence of clandestine clinics is suspected. He added that the abducted children could be "used to fulfill the needs of numerous foreigners who arrive there in expectation of a transplant." {11}.

Clandestine clinics on the frontier between Mexico and the United States were also denounced in Italy, when the scandal of "dealer in children" Lucas Di Nuzzo became public. In four years, four thousand Brazilian children, who had been provided with visas, arrived in Italy for adoption. One thousand of them were located, but the other three thousand had disappeared without a trace. Oddly enough, many of the requests for adoption came from the Campania region, noted for its large families with many children -- as well as for its high degree of Mafia control. Two Italian judges, Angelo Gargani and Cesar Martinello, went to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. Upon their return, they warned the government that the Mafia was operating "a traffic in the organs of children." These children were sent to clandestine clinics in Mexico and Thailand, but also in Europe, where they were dissected for their organs. The Italian government requested help from Interpol. {12}.

Since 1987 in the developed countries, the demand for transplants has greatly increased. Ciclosporin slows down the reactions of rejection. Viaspan, discovered by two American researchers and manufactured by DuPont, extends the transportation and conservation times of the organs (32 hours for a liver instead of 8; 12 hours for a heart instead of 4). Thanks to the progress of science, the human body has become a valuable source of raw materials. Blood, organs, tissue, bone, sperm, ova, corneas, skin, embryos and placenta all now have commercial value. And traffic of all kinds in these materials is multiplying. {13}.

In 1990 the World Health Organization adopted directing principles, the first of which stipulates that "no organ can be taken from a living minor for transplant purposes... From the beginning, one of the characteristics of organ transplants has been the lack of organs. The supply has never been sufficient to meet the demand. This shortage has brought about an increase in the commercial traffic of human organs. Fear has also been expressed concerning the possibility of a traffic in human beings." {14}.

Indeed, proliferating scandals reveal the existence of a sinister black market. The terrible misery of third-world populations makes them an easy target for unscrupulous businessmen. Dr. Crockett, an English kidney specialist, lost his license to practice medicine for life in 1989, because he had organized a network that obtained kidneys in Turkey. One year later, Lancet revealed that 130 people between 6 and 60 years of age had gone to Bombay for kidney transplants. The Indian doctors justify this commerce, which is particularly widespread in Bombay and Madras, under the pretext that the donors "volunteer" because they are in need of money. {15}.

In Latin America, three recent scandals prove that this catastrophic commerce is on the increase. In February 1992, in Argentina, the minister of health admitted that the director of the Montes de Oca psychiatric clinic, located near Buenos Aires, had been taking blood and organs, especially corneas, from the patients in the facility. The investigation still goes on to find out the destination of the organs, as well as of the many children born in the establishment. The minister revealed some frightening statistics: between 1986 and 1992, one-thousand three-hundred and twenty-one of these psychiatric patients died. The swamps surrounding the clinic are being dragged in an attempt to find out what became of an additional one-thousand three- hundred and ninety-five patients who simply disappeared. {16}.

For a long time Argentina has been considered a country in which there was a traffic in organs. As far back as 1985, Judge Mahiquez had ordered an investigation of accusations that Montes de Oca was dealing commercially in blood and organs. One year later, the investigation was closed. In 1987 the minister of health began a new investigation of the persistent rumors about a traffic in children used as organ donors. One year later, the rumors were declared to be without foundation. However, last December the minister prudently admitted: "Traffic in children and organs does exist." {17}.

After Argentina, it was the turn of Columbia. At the beginning of March 1992, a chamber of horrors reminiscent of Dr. Frankenstein was discovered. The corpses of ten paupers, one of them a 15- year-old girl, were found in the amphitheater of Barranquilla Faculty of Medicine. The remains of forty other persons had decomposed to the point that they could not be identified. The procedure used by the faculty's security patrol had been to strike beggars over the head with baseball bats until the victims were in a state of coma. They were not killed until after their organs of commercial value had been extracted, which were sold on the black market. What remained of the cadavers was then turned over to the medical students for dissection purposes, or disposed of in the garbage. {18}.

Colombia discovered with dismay and fright the substance of the rumor about the massacre of the "desechables" (throwaways), as the homeless adults and abandoned children are called, in order to provide stock for organ banks. It was in October 1989 that the Bogota daily newspaper El Tiempo, then Dr. Nestor Alvarez Segura on Radio Cadena Nacional, reported that street children had been found murdered and with their eyes removed. In March 1990, Antenna 2 broadcast the report of the tribulations agency which, in the Compartir de Soacha district near Bogota, had caught on film the abduction of a young girl and her subsequent return to her family after her eyes had been removed. In October 1991 in this same city, community groups organized a demonstration to protest against the disappearances of children. A farmer named Garrido Mesa testified in front of TV cameras to having found near a gutter the body of a four-year-old boy, from whom the eyes had been removed. According to El Tiempo: "At first the officials of the institute of family services at Cundinamarca refused to believe Garrido Mesa. They were obliged to admit that he had told the truth, as the doctor who signed the death certificate of the unidentified child at the local hospital confirmed that the eyes had been removed." {19}.

Judge Ines Valderrama was placed in charge of the investigation. She looked all over Soacha, but was unable to find either the family of the child or Garrido Mesa. At Cundinamarca, the doctors and officials all said they knew nothing of the matter. Judge Valderrama requested access to the archives of the Institute of Legal Medicine, which is where unidentified cadavers are taken. She was told by those in charge that such research is impossible because of the great number of cases. However, since the affair of the "desechables" at the Faculty of Medicine, people are speaking out.

Last April in Uruguay, an organization was broken up that had been sending adult "volunteers" to Brazilian clinics to have a kidney removed. Among the clients of the organization who had benefitted from transplanted kidneys taken from the poor were the assistant Minister of Foreign Relations of the military dictatorship, Filiberto Ginzo Gil, and the Minister of Industry under former President Sanguinetti, Jorge Presno.

In spite of the investigations which always end inconclusively, in spite of the officials who retract their previous statements, in spite of the witnesses and victims who disappear, the pieces of the puzzle are being fitted together. The so-called rumor is not without substance. Mexico is a country in a prominent position as far as this matter is concerned, since kidney transplants on children have been going on there since 1970. In Columbia, it is the theft of corneas which is dominant. This country has an old and prestigious tradition of ophthamology and there are cornea banks in all the major cities.

The existence of a horrifying clandestine commerce, of which the miserable populations of the underdeveloped countries are victims, can no longer be credibly denied. After gold, silver and precious stones; after oil, coffee and cotton; will the demand for organs become a modern version of the plundering of the South by the North? Why should the children be spared, since the shortage of organs is so great?

On May 6, 1991, during a meeting of a sub-committee of the United Nations assigned to study modern forms of slavery, several members of the committee recommended an international investigation of this subject. In his final documentation the special reporter for the United Nations, Vitit Muntarbhorn, states that although it is very difficult to prove the existence of this traffic, the circumstantial evidence continues to increase. {20}.

Part of this circumstantial evidence is the proliferation of illegal adoption networks, the colossal amounts of money raised by them, and the enormous demand which causes waves of abductions in Latin America. [CN -- Perhaps related abductions of children here in the U.S. as well?] A real slave trade in children, going from the South to the North, has been established, which can not be satisfactorily explained in terms of adoption networks catering to sexual deviates.

The Latin-American bishops at the Franciscan missionary center in Bonn are also astonished by the extent of the phenomenon. Monsignor Nicola de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, Archbishop of Saint Domingo and President of the Latin-American Episcopal Council, has declared that the Church is going to "follow up on all complaints concerning the sale of children for illegal adoptions or organ transplants." {21}. American lawyer Patrick Gagel was arrested in Peru last February, after having exported a total of three thousand children in thirty months to the United States and Italy. What became of these children? How come Patrick Gagel was almost immediately released from prison, as have others arrested for this crime? Won't any government formally demand intervention by Interpol, since this is the required condition for a real international investigation? Must we wait for more horrifying discoveries before we dare to admit the awful truth?

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The preceding article originally appeared in LeMonde Diplomatique (August 1992) and was translated by George Andrews and then reprinted in PARANOIA: The Conspiracy Reader, Issue #4. Back issues are available at a cost of $4 USA, $7 International. Write to Paranoia, PO Box 3570, Cranston, RI 02910. For a one year subscription (4 issues), write to the same address ($12 USA, $18 Canada, $24 International).

--------------------------<< Notes >>---------------------------- {1} La Jornada, Mexico, March 8, 1992. {2} El Sol, Mexico, March 13, 1992.
{3} International Children's Rights Monitor, April 1, 1987. {4} El Tiempo, Bogota, January 9, 1987. {5} El Grafico, Guatemala City, January 24 and 27, 1988. {6} This theme was recently taken up by le Nouvel Observateur in Paris, on June 11, 1992, in an article by Vincent Jauvert, "La rumeur du KGB."
{7} El Diario, Asuncion, August 7, 1988; O Globo, August 8, 1988.
{8} El Comercio, Lima, November 14, 1988. {9} El Universal, Mexico, June 24, 1989. {10} El Universal, May 7, 1990.
{11} La Jornada, Mexico, October 10 and 23, 1990. {12} La Republica, September 17, 1990; The Guardian, September 19, 1990.
{13} As to the ethical problems this poses, see "L'homme en danger de science?" in Maniere de voir, no. 15, May 1992. {14} W.H.O., General Report, November 19, 1990. {15} L'Evenement du jeudi, July 18, 1991. {16} Clarin, Buenos Aires, Feb. 23, 1992. {17} Liberation, December 12, 1991.
{18} Semana, Bogota, October 13, 1991. {19} El Tiempo, Bogota, October 13, 1991. {20} Vitit Muntarbhorn, "Report Before the Commission on Human Rights," January 28, 1991, and "Report of the International Association of Democratic Jurists before the UN sub-committee on contemporary forms of slavery," June 15, 1991. {21} Bulletin d'information missionaire, July 23, 1991.

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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt. Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem. -- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9

Brian Francis Redman "The Big C"

"Justice" = "Just us" = "History is written by the assassins."