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 

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 

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 

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 

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 XXXXXXX 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 XXXXXXX 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, 
{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.