Thursday, 22 March 2012

Uruguay: Update on yesterday's acknowledgement of abuses

Here's an update because, due to international time differences, my blog post yesterday preceded the actual commemorative act in which Uruguay acknowledged its blame for dictatorship-era human rights abuses.

Uruguayan daily El Pais reports that president José Mujica gave a 15-minute speech in which he said that the country "acknowledged its institutional responsibility" in the disappearance of María Claudia García de Gelman and its failure to properly investigate the crime due to the amnesty law. He also pledged that the state would continue to work to locate her remains.

Moreover, Mujica acknowledged the responsibility of the state in the fact that "hundreds of people were the victims of torture and forced disappeared as part of the systematic practice of State terrorism".

That's a pretty big statement, I think you'll agree. Macarena Gelman did, saying that she was "very moved" by the speech.

Just to offset this, we have to have the obligatory statement by a military man, in this case the chief of staff of the army, Carlos Loitey, who claimed that "the armed forces are not criminals". "We are not a horde or a band," he continued. "Our career obliges us to make sacrifices, we can die and kill in combat. We are men of honour, we are simple, we are comrades and patriots." He added that his hands were clean. Well, there you go.

"El Estado reconoce las violaciones" (El Pais, Uruguay)

And here's a brief piece in English:
Uruguay president apologizes for dirty war death (AP)

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