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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 12:56 PM
Original message
Uruguay compensates ex-political prisoners
Source: CNN

Uruguay compensates ex-political prisoners St
Uruguay has paid $42 million to 3,000-plus ex-political prisoners in three years

State news agency: Payments go to prisoners of military dictatorship from 1973-85

Compensation also given to those who fled Uruguay or hid from authorities in country

Amnesty International notes "widespread and systematic use of torture" in that period

updated 30 minutes ago

CNN) -- Uruguay has paid $42 million (973 million pesos) in compensation during the past three years to more than 3,000 former political prisoners and those who fled the country or hid from authorities, the state-run news agency said Monday.

The payments are being made to about 3,200 Uruguayans imprisoned between February 9, 1973, and February 29, 1985, when a military dictatorship held power, the news agency said.

Amnesty International calculated that in 1976 Uruguay had more political prisoners per capita than any other nation in the world, with about one prisoner for every 415 citizens.

Amnesty International also noted the "widespread and systematic use of torture" during that period.

Those paid also include Uruguayans who, for political reasons, fled the country or went into hiding inside the country or were fired due to their political beliefs. About 7 percent of those Uruguayans who sought compensation live outside the country, Ultimas Noticias said.

Read more:

(My emphasis.)
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 01:05 PM
Response to Original message
1. The US-backed dictator who ruled over Uruguay for decades was Nazi-harboring
Alfredo Stroessner:
Stroessner's Death Closes Dark Chapter of History
Ral Pierri | August 23, 2006

Translated from: Muerte de Stroessner cierra capitulo oscuro
Translated by: IPS

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

A group of Paraguayan human rights activists and government officials had met Wednesday morning in Asuncin to inaugurate a museum in what was once a torture centre of the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. But suddenly the news arrived: The elderly former dictator was dead.

The coincidence was interpreted by human rights lawyer and former political prisoner Martn Almada as a sign of the end of an era and the start of another in which the coming generations would have the mission of clarifying what happened during the bloody reign of General Stroessner, who governed Paraguay with an iron fist from 1954 to 1989.

At the age of 93, and weighing just 45 kilos, Stroessner died Wednesday in exile in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. He had spent several days in intensive care, with pneumonia, after a hernia operation.

We were surprised when he died right on the day that we were opening the Museum of Memory, the Dictatorship and Democracy' in the place where the Direccin Nacional de Asuntos Tcnicos, better known as la Tcnica,' operated a clandestine torture centre starting in 1956, with support from the United States, Almada, winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize in 2002, told IPS.

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) had sent Colonel Robert Thierry to la Tcnica' to teach torture techniques, said the activist, who in 1992 discovered the archives of terrora vast collection of secret documents shedding light on the fate of tens of thousands of Latin Americans who were kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the security forces of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

The leftists, trade unionists, and other activists or their family members were disappeared as part of a coordinated regional strategy known as Operation Condor, which emerged in the early 1970s in Chile. And the archives of terror, uncovered in a police station in a suburb of Asuncin, the Paraguayan capital, provided irrefutable proof of the existence of the secret regional plan.

It is a very good thing that now people can find out the truth about what happened, because a lot of people passed through (the clandestine prisons run by) la Tcnica' (an intelligence body), said Almada. Operation Condor claimed the lives of nearly 100,000 people in the region.

Publication: NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs
Date: Friday, August 25 2006

Former Paraguayan dictator Gen. Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989) died of complications related to pneumonia on Aug. 16 at the age of 93. Paraguay refused him official honors. He was buried outside the nation he ruled for three decades, with his family instead burying him in Brasilia, Brazil, where he had lived in exile for the last 17 years since his 1989 overthrow.

Final escape from prosecution

A staunch US ally, Stroessner made Paraguay a refuge for some Nazi war criminals among the 200,000 Germans he sheltered after World War II, including Dr. Josef Mengele, the infamous "Angel of Death" at Auschwitz.

The general described almost all his opponents as Marxist subversives bent on returning the country to political chaos.
His fatal stroke while suffering from pneumonia on Aug. 16 represented his final escape from prosecution. Brazil had not fulfilled repeated extradition requests from its neighbor government. Human rights groups attributed at least 900 cases of murder and forced disappearance and several thousand cases of torture to Stroessner. The failure of the Paraguayan government to obtain extradition meant the ex-general never faced trial for human rights crimes committed under Operation Condor, the plan launched jointly by the military governments that ruled Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay in the 1970s and 1980s (see NotiSur, 2001-06-01, 2005-07-01). The operation sought to track down, capture, and eliminate left-wing opponents.

The coup that brought him to power was largely bloodless, and he remained in power through a series of fraudulent elections. He also built a personality cult around himself. He became known as the Generalissimo, El Aleman (the German), and El Rubio (the blond man).

With US help, Stroessner also built an effective secret police that was able to control public opposition through fear of arrest and persecution, said Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuban and Chilean documentation projects at the National Security Archive (NSA), a Washington-based think tank devoted to open government.

Stroessner's regime was finally toppled in a 1989 coup led by a former ally, Gen. Andres Rodriguez, the father-in-law of Stroessner's son Alfredo (see Chronicle, 1989-02-07 and 1989-02-14). Civilian rule returned in 1993.

A relative of Stroessner in Miami, Agustin Matiauda, 47, saw redeeming qualities in his cousin. "He was a busy man who was devoted to his work very much, but he loved his family," Matiauda said. "History will give him his rightful place eventually."


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rabs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-23-09 12:27 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. You might want to edit subject line

and sub "ruled over Uruguay" with "ruled over Paraguay."

In the following Mitrione post, sub "Strossner" with "Bordaberry"

check out -- Juan Maria Bordaberry, -- another sinister personage of whom many are not aware.

he was the military dictatorship's puppet president who caused so much grief among Uruguayans.

But justice finally caught up with him in 2006

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-23-09 02:26 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Oh, THANK you, rabs, I was in a huge hurry, and wasn't concentrating enough.
Thanks for posting information on Bordaberry. He's finally exactly where he belongs.

It wouldn't have been that easy for me to make that mistake if the countries' names hadn't been so similar. They do share a lot of ugly characteristics, like both of these countries gave haven to World War II Nazis after the war, they both tortured, imprisoned, and slaughtered leftists, and both enjoyed good relations with the U.S. What's not to like, if you're a fascist?

As a side-note, some time ago I learned that Uruguayan prisoners of war in Bolivia were the people who built the truly dangerous Highway of Death there. What a nightmare that road is.

I also heard that Uruguay, with a leftist President has been working with Bolivia's leftist President to overcome the wounds from the past, and doing it very well.

Thanks so much for stepping forward to clear up the error. I would have felt so horrible had I discovered this mix-up long after the thread was dead.

Once again, I plead haste, not ignorance! :hi:
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. An American torturer, Dan Mitrione, worked for Uruguay during Stroessner's dictatorship,
teaching his police in the ways of torture, in order to more efficiently control the unwanted leftists in the country:
Daniel Mitrione was born in Italy on 4th August, 1920. The family emigrated to the United States and in 1945 Mitrione became a police officer in Richmond, Indiana.

Mitrione joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1959. The following year he was assigned to the State Department's International Cooperation Administration. He was then sent to South America to teach "advanced counterinsurgency techniques." His speciality was in teaching the police how to torture political prisoners without killing them.

In 1967 Mitrione returned to the United States to share his experiences and expertise on "counterguerilla warfare" at the Agency for International Development (AID), in Washington. In 1969, Mitrione moved to Uruguay, again under the AID, to oversee the Office of Public Safety. At this time the Uruguayan government was led by the very unpopular Colorado Party. Richard Nixon and the CIA feared a possible victory during the elections of the Frente Amplio, a left-wing coalition, on the model of the victory of the Unidad Popular government in Chile, led by Salvador Allende.

The OPS had been helping the local police since 1965, providing them with weapons and training. It is claimed that torture had already been practiced since the 1960s, but Dan Mitrione was reportedly the man who made it routine. He is quoted as having said: "The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect." It has been alleged that he used homeless people for training purposes, who were allegedly executed once they had served their purpose.

On July 31, 1970, the Tupamaros kidnapped Daniel Mitrione and an Agency for International Development associate, Claude L. Fly. Although they released Fry they proceeded to interrogate Mitrione about his past and the intervention of the U.S. government in Latin American affairs. They also demanded the release of 150 political prisoners. The Uruguayan government, with U.S. backing, refused, and Mitrione was later found dead in a car. He had been shot twice in the head but there was no evidence that he had been tortured.

The Secretary of State William P. Rogers and President Nixon's son-in-law David Eisenhower attended Mitrione's funeral. The Uruguayan ambassador, Hector Luisi, promised that the people responsible for Mitrione's death would "reap the wrath of civilized people everywhere".

A few days after the funeral, a senior Uruguayan police officer, Alejandro Otero, told the Jornal do Brasil that Mitrione had been employed to teach the police to use "violent techniques of torture and repression". The US government issued a statement calling this charge "absolutely false" and insisted he was a genuine member of the Agency for International Development.

Getty Images 27 months ago
Members of leftist groups demonstrate against the visit of US President George W.Bush, in the
Uruguayan city of Colonia on March 9th, 2007. Bush will meet on Saturday with leftist Uruguayan
President Tabare Vasquez in Anchorena, a presidential retreat 200 km west of Montevideo, in the
department of Colonia, as part of a Latin American tour that also includes Brazil, Colombia,
Guatemala and Mexico. The xxxx reads "Wlecome Mr.Bush to the final resting place of Mitrione".

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-22-09 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. O bailan todos o no baila nadie!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Interview with a Tupamaro
Mickey Z. talks with Hiber Conteris

"Unlike other Latin-American guerrilla groups, the Tupamaros normally avoid bloodshed when possible. They try instead to create embarrassment for the Government and general disorder. - New York Times (1970) ...

Perhaps the cleverest, most resourceful and most sophisticated urban guerrillas the world has ever seen, the Tupamaros had a deft touch for capturing the publics imagination with outrageous actions, and winning sympathizers with their Robin Hood philosophy, Blum wrote. Their members and secret partisans held key positions in the government, banks, universities, and the professions, as well as in the military and police...Once they ransacked an exclusive high-class nightclub and scrawled on the wall perhaps their most memorable slogan: O Bailan Todos O No Baila Nadie Either everyone dances or no one dances.

HC: I would say that the best way to characterize the MLN-Tupamaros, is to say that it finally became an urban guerrilla warfare movement, which decided to resort to the arms as a way not necessarily to overthrow the government, but to create consciousness among the population about the futility of the electoral process under a corrupt and repressive regime. At the beginning, the movement created by Raul Sendic (a former member of the Socialist Party) had no other goal than to organize the workers in a sugar cane plantation in the North of the country in a trade union, demanding better salaries, better work conditions, and eventually a sort of land reform, the right to work by themselves the unproductive lands owned by the company and the landlords. Different circumstances (the indifference of the legislature, the repressive measures taken both by the government and the land owners, etc.) determined that the original union movement became a clandestine movement: their members were forced to steal some arms to defend themselves, and then to rob a bank to get some money to survive themselves and feed their families. Sendic and the original founders of the movement were after these events in the underground, required by the police, and the whole group began to grow up as a guerrilla warfare movement ...

MZ: Do you think such tactics could be adapted for use in 2004 America ... a nation in dire need of consciousness and alternatives to a corrupt electoral process?

HC: Definitely not. I dont think that that kind of tactics used by the MLN would have any positive effect on the North American population. Remember the case of the Black Panthers and other guerrilla warfare groups that appeared in the U.S. in the 60s. They were minoritarian groups that never obtained the general support of the population, not even among the Black population. On the other hand, you have to remember that the MLN suffered a military defeat in 1972, and now it is a political movement articulated in a wider political front, with a couple of senators and several deputies in the Congress ...
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