Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bolivia: US Department of State Expresses Concern for US Businessman on Hunger Strike

As a follow-up to my series of postings in recent months concerning the plight of US businessman Jacob Ostreicher, 53, who has been held in a Bolivian jail since January of this year on complicated circumstances,  the US Government publicly expressed concern for Ostreicher's plight on Thursday (May 17), who has been on a hunger strike for several weeks in an effort to bring attention to his legal predicament.

COMMENT: Unfortunately for Mr. Ostreicher, legally he can held for 18 months without being formally charged with a crime.

Considering that I've followed Ostreicher's case closely in recent months, to my knowledge, this is the first time the US has publicly advocated on his behalf for a fair and transparent. 

Regrettably, a speedy trial is guaranteed in the US, but rarely in many developing countries. US consular officials have, however, been in attendance at all of the American's court appearances.

Ostreicher traveled to Bolivia in 2008 to start a rice plantation in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, in partnership with several other people. 

His Bolivian defense attorney, Jimmy Montaño, said prosecutors began investigating Ostreicher for alleged money laundering after Ostreicher’s Bolivian agent purchased land from two Brazilian nationals suspected of ties to drug trafficking. 

It noteworthy to point out that foreign businesspeople everywhere need to be extremely detail-oriented and cautious in engaging in any business agreements in developing nations, in particular, and be vigilant in conducting THOROUGH due diligence to ensure that they are dealing with reputable partners and honesty intermediaries. Otherwise, it is very easy for them to be become embroiled in legal difficulty such as those that befell Mr. Ostreicher.