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They tortured and murdered political opponents during the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy implemented in the 1970s and 1980s.
On Thursday, Italy's Supreme Court will sentence 21 former officials and military officers from Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay accused of the disappearance of Italians during the execution of Operation Condor, a U.S. counterinsurgency strategy implemented in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s.
The hearing began at 10 a.m. local time and is expected to last most of the day. All of the defendants are being tried in absentia, except for Uruguayan ex-military officer Jorge Troccoli, who arrived in the European country after fleeing Uruguay in 2007. This human rights violator was previously sentenced to life imprisonment.
Prosecutor Piero Gaeta began by recalling the history of all the appeals filed and sentences issued during this trial. After a short break, the lawyers continued to illustrate their conclusions to the court through arguments and evidence.
Once the argument is concluded, the Supreme Court justices will retire to deliberate and the judgment will be issued as of 8:00 p.m. Their decision will mark the end of a trial that began in 1998 when prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo initiated a criminal investigation following the arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London.
In 1973, the US government helped to overthrow Salvador Allende and install far right Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who brutalized his own people and ruled with an iron fist. He started Operation Condor, with US backed dictators in the Southern Cone joining in on the “fun” pic.twitter.com/g8x3R3Nyi5
In 2017, a first sentence in this case established eight life sentences and nineteen acquittals. The victims' relatives, however, appealed that verdict and managed to get 24 criminals the maximum sentence in 2019.
Italian judges will rule today on the cases of four Chileans, thirteen Uruguayans, three Peruvians, and one Bolivian who participated in Operation Condor. Many of these defendants are now dead or very old.
The Chileans are Pedro Espinoza (Secret Police), Daniel Aguirre (Investigative Police), Hernan Ramirez (Superintendent) and Carlos Luco. The Bolivian defendant is Luis Arce Gomez, a former Interior Minister who passed away in 2020.
The three Peruvians are ex-President Francisco Morales, who will be 100 years old in October; former Commander German Ruiz, and former officer Martin Martinez. In the group of Uruguayan criminals are ex-officers such as Jose Arab, Jose Gavazzo, Juan Larcebeau, Pedro Mato, and Luis Maurente.