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News > Uruguay

Uruguay: Defense Minister Conceals Proves On Dictatorship Crimes

  • Defense Minister Javier Garcia, Uruguay, Nov. 2021.

    Defense Minister Javier Garcia, Uruguay, Nov. 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @infocapitaluy

Published 8 November 2021

The secrecy is aimed at prolonging impunity on the military involved in shady businesses that caused million losses to the Uruguayan State.

The Leftist party Broad Front will summon Defense Minister Javier Garcia to declare before Congress since he concealed records involving retired Colonel Armando Mendez in Operation Conserve, an illegal meat export business carried out during Gregorio Alvarez's dictatorship (1981-1985).


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"This secrecy is aimed at prolonging impunity on the military involved in this shady business, which caused US$16 million losses to the Uruguayan State," the Broad Front condemned. 

Due to Garcia's decision, researchers and relatives of Uruguayan detainees and disappeared people, will not be able to access to the dictatorship's classified documents until 2036.

"This initiative goes against the law on access to public information, which prevents authorities from censoring documents referring to civil rights violations," lawyer Ivan Luzardo stated, recalling that the illegal meat export was carried out through public funds.

Colonel Mendez –who is currently in jail for torturing political prisoners– stated that Uruguayan entrepreneurs and military obtained profits valued at US$13 million through Operation Conservacion.

"I considered the business inconvenient because the final purchase price of corned beef was higher than that of its possible international placement, and the canning did not come from the exported cattle. My hands are full of blood, but not dirty money," he alleged.

The Uruguayan State has still not fully assumed its responsibility to investigate crimes against humanity carried out during the dictatorship. The 1986 "Law of Expiration of State Punitive", for example, meant a pact of impunity for murderers and torturers.

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