Bolivian police shot and killed three foreign nationals, as well as wounding and arresting two others, in a hotel in the city of Santa Cruz. What is not entirely clear is the connection between the men, who national authorities say were a part of a terrorist cell that had been planning to kill many members of government, including President Evo Morales, as well as others from the opposition. One man, in particular, has emerged as the ringleader of the group, Eduardo Rózsa-Flores, a Bolivian-Hungarian citizen with a long history. The media, as well as bloggers, have been trying to piece together his background in order to draw conclusions.
Miguel Centellas of Pronto* summarizes a bit of Rózsa-Flores’ path demonstrating many different facets of his life following different ideologies:
He fled Bolivia after Banzer’s military coup. He then fought in the Balkan civil wars (on the Croatian side, where he supposedly led an international brigade); he even made a film about his experience (wtf?). He was vice president of a Muslim association in Hungary; but was previously an active member in Opus Dei.
So basically, as La Razón points out, he was a “fanatic for everything.” A leftist in his youth (his father had been active against the Barrientos military regime), he then became an ardent Catholic in Opus Dei, then fought for Croatia against the Serbs, then abandoned Marxism (though he still admires Che), then converted to Islam, then returned to Bolivia, and may have ties to the right-wing UJC, though he still edited a Hungarian Muslim online news site. I think that about covers it.
In addition, Miguel Esquirol of El Forastero [es] writes that these revelations make determining his motives even more difficult:
Al final es posible sospechar cómo sus intereses se alinean y trazar una línea ideológica que si bien debatible une su participación en guerras de independencia europeas, en movimientos armados en Croacia, en discursos nacionalistas de los Blacanes, con su relación con movimientos de la autonomía cruceñista y su final brusco y violento. Las razones que lo habían traído a Bolivia, la compañía con quien lo encontraron y los planes que tenían pensados aun son un misterio.
Al final sólo podemos concluir que se trata de un extraño y contradictorio personaje del que espero en algún momento conozcamos más, sobretodo que se devele la verdad de lo ocurrido en Bolivia y de sus últimos días antes de encontrarse su final.
In the end, it is possible to suspect how his interests align and trace an ideological line that is still debatable uniting his participation in independence wars in Europe, armed movements in Croatia, nationalist rhetoric in the Balkans, with his relationship with autonomy movements from Santa Cruz, and his violent and sudden end. His reasons for coming to Bolivia, the company with which he was found and his plans are still a mystery.
In the end, we can conclude that this involves a strange and contradictory character and that I hope we get to know better, and above all that the truth of what happened in Bolivia and his final days before his death comes out.
Much of these connections, as well as speculation, were pieced together based on the discovery of Rózsa-Flores’ blog [hu/es/en] called “Sic semper tyrannis” and often translated to “Death to Tyrants.” As mentioned by Blogs Bolivia [es], the blog is mostly written in Hungarian, but includes some interviews in Spanish [es] as well as English. He also opened other blogs called David Versus Goliath [hu] about the conflict in Gaza and another blog Mi Patria Natal [es] that collects photos of his birth country Bolivia.
The life of Rózsa-Flores was made into a movie, which starred Rózsa-Flores as himself, called “Chico” and details his participation in the war in Croatia. The trailer is below:
On his YouTube channel's profile he wrote a description of himself:
The international war correspondent-turned-platoon-l eader in the defense of a mixed-population village in Croatia…Presently, Eduardo works as a multi-lingual freelance journalist, columnist, TV commentator, film actor and editor of literary monthly KAPU, in Budapest, Hungary. He has a loving dog named Tito, a book-stuffed country-side house with a well-equipped kitchen . . .
Finally, he also maintained a Facebook profile (private).
The contradictory nature of Rózsa-Flores’ beliefs makes this case even harder to comprehend. It is quite easy to jump to conclusions and make connections based on assumptions. Willy Andres writes [es] that “the supposed terrorism in Bolivia is very complicated and makes one think. I don't think it is neither prudent nor intelligent get ahead of ourselves and draw conclusions, but there are things that raise big questions.”
However, the fact that both members of the governing party, as well as some leaders of the opposition were reportedly on the hit list makes wondering whether they were working for some group or on their own. In addition, the causes that he supported with badges on his blog makes it difficult to generalize about where he stood politically. More news is expected in the near future to help paint a better picture of this mysterious man and his companions.