Relatives of Uruguayan dictatorship victims seek for truth

Relatives of missings Uruguayans during dictatorship wrote open letter to people across Uruguay asking to share information about what happened to their loved ones

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Demonstrators take part in the 20th March of Silence in Montevideo, Uruguay to speak out for Uruguayans who disappeared for political reasons during the military dictatorship, May 20, 2015

Relatives of 192 Uruguayans who went missing in 1970s during the military dictatorship wrote an open letter to people across the country promising anonymity to those who provide information about what happened to their loved ones.

The letter says, "If you saw something, know something or know some detail that can help find our loved ones, we appeal to your humanity."

1970s are the years when south America including Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil was under military rule. However, the dictatorship in Uruguay was smaller than the others.

According to rights groups, an estimated 30,000 people either lost their lives or went missing in Argentina, while 3,000 people have been killed or disappeared in Chile.

Amalia Gonzalez holds a picture of her son Luis Eduardo Gonzalez who disappeared after being arrested during the military dictatorship in December of 1974 in Montevideo, Uruguay, April 15, 2005

Gerardo Bleier, an Uruguayan journalist whose father went missing in 1975 in Montevideo said "It's true that the barbarity in Uruguay never got to the level of Chile and Argentina."

"But that doesn't mean it didn't happen," he continued.

In 1985, after Uruguay turned to democracy, then-President Julio Maria Sanguinetti appointed a military prosecutor to investigate allegations of military violence, however the efforts remain insufficient to receive much information about the losses.

The Uruguayan parliament adopted a law that granted impunity to all military personnel and politicians who might be responsible for human rights abuses committed before 1985.

In 2000, The Commission for Peace was founded to investigate the fate of the disappeared in Uruguay. Three years after its establishment, it released a final report which included information on the fates of 32 Uruguayan citizens.

Ignacio Errandonea holds a picture of his brother, Juan Errandonea, disappeared during the Uruguayan dictatorship

According to Associated Press, the families are almost sure that their loved ones are already dead, nevertheless they want to “cry for their disappeared.”

Ignacio Errandonea, who has been searching for his brother almost for 39 years said "Realistically I know that my brother was killed, but he was taken alive and the military has yet to say what happened and prove to me that he's dead."

"The campaign by the families is the last resort," he said.

On the other hand, the former leader of the Military Center, Retired Col. Guillermo Cedrez stated that the families are asking for answers that don’t exist saying "The Army gave all the information it had and the families refuse to believe it.”


TRTWorld and agencies