The Bolivian Diaries

by Anthony C Heaford - 30 December 2018

Could a German World War II U-boat really sink a Bolivian Presidential Candidate in 2019?

Sweden, 1945: As World War II drew to a close in Europe, a U-boat commander from a powerful German family is claimed to have surrendered to neutral Sweden. The commander’s internment as a prisoner-of-war in Sweden was long and liberal enough for him to marry a Swedish woman who bore him a son, Edward. Once internment ended they returned to live in Germany, under the protection of his still rich and influential family. 

Bolivia, 1994: After a chance encounter in a remote Bolivian town, I spent an evening in the company of Edward, the claimed U-boat Commander’s son. Edward also professed to having been a member of the Red Army Faction in Europe and of now being a troublesome political activist in Bolivia. Also present that night was the future President of Bolivia (2003-05), Carlos Mesa. Carlos Mesa is running for President again in the 2019 elections.

Manchester, 2018: I, Anthony C Heaford, am accusing the former President of Bolivia, Carlos Mesa, of colluding with Edward, a self-confessed European Red Army Faction member and foreign political agitator.

Bolivia, November 1994

solar eclipse 1994

There was a solar eclipse visible across South America on Thursday 03 November 1994; I watched it from the mountains of Bolivia whilst on the first leg of a six-month backpacking tour of the continent. Hitchhiking around Bolivia a few weeks later led us to the town of Sorata in the Yungas area of northwest Bolivia

Then infamous for cocaine production, the Yungas is now famous for its precarious Death Road, a tourist destination in itself today but in 1994 it was just a hair-raising road we had to take to get where we were going. We stayed in the German owned Copacabana guesthouse in Sorata for a couple of nights. It was a relaxed and popular place on the edge of town that seemed to run itself with a discrete local staff.

In Plain Sight

Friday 25 November - We’d arrived in Sorata about noon and checked-in to the guesthouse recommended by the guidebook before spending the afternoon walking and sightseeing around Sorata.

Boliviar map 1 copy

There was a stone built common-room at the guesthouse where dinner was served to guests. The evening’s entertainment was to be a video - Wayne’s World II, as voted for by the majority. It wasn’t really what we’d travelled to Bolivia to see so my friend and I sat back from the crowd, chatting and drinking.

Three men then made quite an entrance to the room, two clearly drunk and bickering whilst the third lingered by the door. Edward, the guesthouse's owner, took a seat while still bickering with his companion and oblivious to the disturbed movie viewers. The second man was immaculately dressed in an expensive suit but he bumbled around the room like a fool, repeatedly asking each of the guests their names and nationalities - about a dozen people, a mixture of British, Danish and a few other European nationalities. He introduced himself as: 

"Carlos, the Presidents right-hand man".

The third man hadn’t spoken or even shifted far from the door since coming in. He was wearing a well-fitted suit and remained by the door throughout, stood with his back to the wall. The only thing of further note about him was the compact submachine gun held discretely across his front, pointing at the floor.

bolivia 16 Hitch hiking

It didn’t take long for the room to clear. The video either finished or was switched off early and all the other guests retired to their rooms. This left just five of us in the room – three of the most serious looking men I have ever met, and us, two random European backpackers. This was exactly what I had travelled to South America to experience and it really did feel like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie, except this was real life.

Our host, the guesthouse owner, called us over to join him and a now seated Carlos. As we sat down Edward poured us ridiculously large measures of rum and I saw Carlos cradling his head in his hands as our host began to introduce himself. His name was Edward he said, a Swedish born German from a very rich and important family.

Edward’s Father had been a U-boat captain during World War II, eventually surrendering to neutral Sweden at the end of the War. He was interned as a prisoner-of-war and that was where his Father had married Edward's Swedish Mother before moving back to Germany with him, their first-born. Edward claimed his family’s wealth and influence had ‘bailed him out of trouble’ a couple of times and that he’d been a member of the Red Army Faction in Europe.

bolivian diary masked

Edward obviously wanted to be heard and had chosen us to be his witnesses. Carlos spoke too, confirming his close relationship with the President of Bolivia but also professing a socialist persuasion  which put him at odds with the President he claimed.

Edward berated the establishment, the global dominance of the dollar, social and human hypocrisy. He railed against power of the media and television, which he described as ‘The Drug of a Nation’, as per the Disposable Heroes Of Hypocrisy’s 1992 song of the same name. But then he expressed his distain for JFK too, the US President assassinated in 1963 for trying to expose the very establishment corruption Edward claimed to despise so much. Despite being very drunk Edward was clearly highly educated & equally opinionated. We played chess as we spoke, or rather Edward taught us chess moves whilst keeping our glasses topped to the brim (as though he did not want us to leave).

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He told us he’d lived in Japan teaching marshal arts before moving to Bolivia seven-years ago (c.1987). He claimed to be “one of the fifteen most wanted men in Bolivia” because he was publically (on television he claimed) campaigning for an Indigenous President and agitating the government on behalf of the Indigenous population. He told us several times that it was people of European descent who still ruled over the 99.5% Indigenous population  of Bolivia. Edward claimed that Germany had twice threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Bolivia because of his activities and that Carlos, the “President’s right-hand man”, was here to check on him over a ‘friendly drink’. Edward said they (Bolivian politicians and German diplomats) think he might be organising the Indigenous population “which is politically dangerous for the politicians in power”.

Next, Carlos tilted his head forward, letting it fall slowly and hit the tabletop in front of him with a gentle thud. I looked over nervously, first to Carlos and then at the bodyguard behind him. In retrospect I don’t think Carlos was that drunk (if at all) and he hadn’t passed out. Edward continued his boisterous conversation, challenging me to a game of chess and wanting to chat more. But as I recall we left around then, ushered to the door by the bodyguard, with our still full glasses of rum in-hand. As we giddily crossed the courtyard we saw two more men in well fitting suits waiting by a large diplomatic type car. We continued past them, nodding acknowledgement but without uttering a word. Other than savouring the glasses of rum we’d snaffled our evening was over, the wild conversations we’d just been privy to being a fine reward for the efforts of two young adventure seekers. We stayed another night in the Copacabana but never saw Edward or his visitors again.

Edward and Carlos

I’ve no firm idea who Edward was and I've no corroborating evidence of any of his claims. If his Father was a U-boat Captain who surrendered in Sweden in May 1945, and who went on to marry and have a child with a Swedish woman, then identifying him should be a relatively easy task. But why would anyone want to do that based on the retelling of a drunken conversation from a backpacker’s holiday in 1994?

Carlos described himself as the President of Bolivia’s right-hand man.

The President of Bolivia from 1993 to 1997 was Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, a President known to many Indigenous Bolivians as ‘el Gringo’ because of his US education and a Miami accent. I don’t know of any connection between Gonzalo Sánchez and anyone called ‘Carlos’ in 1994. I do know that when Gonzalo Sánchez was re-elected again in 2002, his Vice-President was a former television journalist called Carlos Mesa

el Gringo’s second Presidency was cut short in 2003 after sixty-five people were killed and hundreds injured by Bolivian security forces during protests by the Indigenous majority of the country. Gonzalo Sánchez resigned on 17 October 2003 and Vice-President Carlos Mesa became Bolivia’s President until June 2005.

Is it credible to think that the Carlos I met in 1994, a man claiming to be the right-hand man of President of Bolivia, was Carlos Mesa? A man who would later be Vice-President and then President of Bolivia? I believe it is.

In October 2018 ex-President Mesa launched a new election campaign, hoping once more to become the next President of Bolivia.

Conclusions and Accusations

Based on corresponding accounts of events (two sources, both present that evening and multiple cross-referenced diary entries from November 1994) I am accusing the former President of Bolivia, Carlos Mesa, of colluding with a self-confessed former terrorist gang member and foreign political agitator, our host Edward.

Do I know all the implications and ramifications of my very serious charges against the former President and a claimed ex-terrorist? No. But after a short deliberation I have decided it is the right thing to do.

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Our experiences of November 25 1994 were incredible; it was like a scene from a movie – shadowy figures with armed bodyguards bursting into a room of dumbstruck foreigners watching Wayne’s World II. Look back I can barely believe it myself, but this did happen and was recorded independently by two people whose memories and contemporary diary entries are the basis for this report.

Did I believe a word of what Edward or Carlos told us? Some of it, but it is inconceivable that a politician like Mesa would walk in to a bar with a drunk, self-confessed European Red Army Faction member, professing their socialist leanings to low-end foreign tourists like us. Edward’s character and circumstances fitted with the tales he was telling but at no point did he strike me as an aspiring Che Gevara. Looking back I'd guess him to be an aristocratic anarchist. I’d speculate that Edward was a state actor infiltrating the left wing groups of Germany in the 1970s and 80s as an informer and agent provocateur; a criminal with a very specific skills set who had then been allowed to escape to a comfortable, well connected and open life in Bolivia.

Carlos Mesa’s long and close political alliance with ex-President Gonzalo Sánchez, ‘el Gringo’, combined with my memories of him from 1994 are clear enough indicators of Mesa’s true political persuasion for me.

Open Questions

The email copied below was sent to British security services in 2015; it contains all the critical points noted above. I’ve not heard back from British security services on this or any other matter I’ve brought to their attention.

A question to all state intelligence agencies:
Who was Edward? A component of the CIA’s ’Strategy of Tension’ maybe? Or perhaps one of the Pentagon’s other deniable Black Ops operatives?

A question to Bolivia’s 2019
Presidential candidate, Carlos Mesa:
Who was Edward and what was the purpose of your meeting with him at Copacabana guesthouse, Sorata, Bolivia on Friday 25 November 1994?


Written in respectful memory of President John F Kennedy; he did warn us in 1961:

Truly, for some of us nothing is written, unless we write it 
© Anthony C Heaford - The Quiet Mancunian