Eleven reasons why the US civil court case makes sense:
1. Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and Carlos Sánchez Berzaín, have deftly crafted the misleading message that the criminal trial in Bolivia is a MAS political witch hunt, although the trial was actually approved by 2/3 of the Bolivian congress during the presidency of Sánchez de Lozada’s hand-picked vice president, Carlos Mesa. Many members of Sanchez de Lozada’s own party and allies voted for the trial.
2. As a result of this campaign they have effectively created the impression that the three men would not get a fair trial in Bolivia, a vision shared “off the record” by US government officials. A civil trial in the US neatly sidesteps these accusations and is generally more appealing to US policymakers and public, which have more faith in the US justice system.
3. The accused men have hired skilled US lawyers to defend them and help spin their message relatively successfully in meetings with institutions and US officials. For example Sánchez de Lozada hired the same lawyer former President Clinton hired to defend him in the Monica Lewinsky case. Bolivian prosecutors and consular officials previously have had difficulties confronting this strategy as they have less experience with the US judiciary and international law.
4. Although they have avoided making public statements about the trial of responsibilities in Bolivia, the Bush administration has stalled the extradition process. They failed to deliver the letters rogatory, to officially notify the accused of the impending trial in Bolivia, for over two years.
5. Loopholes in the US-Bolivia extradition treaty, ironically signed during the first Sánchez de Lozada administration, such as a clause forbidding political charges and the possibility for the Department of Justice (where the letters rogatory languished) to send back the request repeatedly for correction, could bog down or impede the process. Whereas a civil trial has the potential to move ahead without political impediments as well as garner more support for the extradition request.