Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

An End to the Bolivian Nightmare

Machla Abramovitz

When Jacob Ostreicher’s plane landed somewhere on US soil on December 15, it brought an unexpected and mysterious end to his 30-month Bolivian nightmare. Mishpacha’s Machla Abramovitz, who once played an “insider’s” role in the flurry of diplomatic activity to spring Ostreicher, spoke with family members and strips away the veil of corruption that permeates Bolivian society and led to both Ostreicher’s incarceration and flight to freedom.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A week after Jacob Ostreicher returned to theUnited States, his family expressed extreme gratitude for his freedom, yet is still overwhelmed.

“We were waiting for this, but didn’t think it was going to happen,” Ostreicher’s sister Fraidy Schwartz told Mishpacha. “It was all very sudden.”

Ostreicher’s physical health is better than expected, she says, but he is traumatized. “We have to continue praying that Hashem helps him get well.”

Ostreicher, 54, was a managing partner in a rice-growing venture inBoliviawhen authorities arrested him on June 3, 2011, on suspicion of money laundering and doing business with drug traffickers.

Despite the fact that no formal charges were ever brought against him, Ostreicher spent 18 months in the infamous Palmasola prison inSanta Cruzfollowed by a year under house arrest.

None of this was surprising in a country such asBolivia, where bribery and “facilitation payments” to government officials are institutionalized. 

GAN Integrity Solutions cited Transparency International, who noted that Bolivians perceive the judiciary/legal system to be the most corrupt sector in the country and quoted a 2008 Latino-barómetro report widely acknowledging that court decisions can be influenced by the use of bribes.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you