Humberto Roca’s story may seem unusual to Western minds, but it is all too familiar in the world of INTERPOL abuse. Roca was the owner of a Bolivian airline company called Aerosur Airlines, and as a wealthy business owner who was critical of Bolivia’s government, was charged with “unjust enrichment” as his business was expropriated by the Bolivian government.
Roca fled Bolivia and in 2012, he was granted asylum in the United States.
As of today’s date, Roca’s name is not published on INTERPOL’s wanted list (a majority of Red Notice subjects’ names are also not made public). However, numerous media outlets reported that he was, in fact, wanted by INTERPOL for the charges.
Roca’s case satisfies the formula that has been established by those countries seeking to nationalize their economies:
- Target an industry for nationalization,
- expropriate the assets of the most successful private businesses,
- charge the owners and/or board of directors with financial crimes,
- issue arrest warrants against those individuals,
- obtain INTERPOL Red Notices against them;
- force the individuals to remain focused on their own defenses rather than challenging government action,
As reported here by Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald, Roca was later targeted by Bolivian National Police Col. Mario Fabricio Ormachea Aliaga for extortion. U.S. officials brought federal charges against Ormachea, who offered to have the Bolivian charges against Roca dropped in exchange for $30,000. Ormachea actually came to the U.S. and was caught accepting $10,000 in initial payments from Roca in an FBI-led sting.
Ormachea was convicted by a Miami jury last week on two counts of extortion. That’s great for Roca, who no doubt feels vindicated. Although the extortion conviction does not compel a dismissal of Bolivia’s charges against Roca, it certainly provides solid ground for a Red Notice challenge, if one remains outstanding.
But you have to wonder what would have happened if Ormachea had never come to the U.S. in furtherance of his extortion plan? And what if Roca’s only redress would have been in the Bolivian court system? Or if Roca had fled to another country with a more corrupt law enforcement or judicial system? Roca’s vindication would have been a long time coming, if it ever arrived at all, and that is the position in which many Red Notice subjects find themselves.
As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.