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  • Former President Jose Mujica at the Eduardo Bleier's funeral in Montevideo, Uruguay, Oct. 15, 2019.

    Former President Jose Mujica at the Eduardo Bleier's funeral in Montevideo, Uruguay, Oct. 15, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 15 October 2019

Eduardo Bleier, an Odontology student, was arrested, tortured, and killed by the Military regime in 1975.

Uruguay’s former President Jose Mujica Monday attended the public wake of Eduardo Bleier, a communist activist who was arrested and killed during the dictatorship's reign (1973-1985).

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Among applause, tears, silence and red flags, Uruguayans gathered in Montevideo to say goodbye to a man whose corpse was discovered inside a military battalion at the end of August.

His symbolic farewell took place at the Law School of the University of the Republic (Udelar), a space in which thousands of Uruguayans placed roses under gigantographs with Bleier's face.

For decades, relatives of the missing had stated that the military installations hid in their interior mortuary remains of the victims of repression.

A sample of the remains of Bleier was taken to an Argentinean laboratory which holds a database to verify the DNA of missing persons. There it was determined that the remains do belong to Eduardo.

Eduardo Bleier, present. State terrorism never again. Memory, truth and justice.

Former President Tabare Vazquez, former Vice President Lucia Topolansky and other Uruguayan politics personalities also attended the public wake.

Accompanied by Bleier's family, the Truth and Justice Task Force coordinator Felipe Michelini recalled that about 200 men, women and children are still formally "missing."

"In our country, state terrorism ran over democratic institutions and consolidated systematic torture, rape and sexual abuse of detainees, prolonged imprisonment, extrajudicial executions and forced disappearance. Victims were, and are, helpless people," he said.

During his speech Michelini also emphasized that, despite the abundant evidence of military terrorism, the Uruguayan State did not want to recognize what had happened for decades.

"Saying goodbye to Eduardo Bleier, who disappeared in 1975. Today, 44 years later, he was ripped from the land of barracks, where we hope to continue finding comrades."

"It has not been easy to know the truth. They perversely do not tell or lie. However, they cannot silence the land."

Uruguay's former president Mujica, a member of the Tupamaros National Liberation Movement, who remained a political prisoner for 13 years, said that lies about what happened is what hurts him most.

"More important than eventual justice is truth. The truth is the only way to heal," he concluded.

Accompanied by the Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra, thousands of Uruguayans sang the national anthem emphasizing the choir that says "tyrants, tremble!."

Men and women of all ages said "goodbye" to Eduardo Bleier, an Odontology student who was arrested while he was walking down the street on Oct. 19, 1975.

After being tortured, his body was mutilated and his ashes were thrown into the river. However, a few fragments remained on the ground waiting to be discovered decades later. 

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