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The crises beyond past crisis: The unsolved legacy of human rights violations in the Southern Cone

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The Crises Beyond Past Crisis: The Unsolved Legacy of Human RightsViolations in the Southern Cone Mario Sznajder and Luis Roniger' The arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London in October 1998 and the legal tug-of-war over his possible extradition to Spain, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity, triggered the reemergence of the ghosts of the past. Once more, the public sphere focused on the images of past polarization and violence, of the disappeared, of the tortured, and of those who spent time in concentration camps and prisons under the General's military rule between 1973 and 1990. As supporters and foes of the aged senator-for-life clashed in Chile and elsewhere, the images of national reconciliation and of a consoli- dated and stable Chilean democracy appeared feeble and tainted. The crises that evolved in the 1990s around the legacy of human-rights violations committed by the security forces in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile under military rule are the focus of this article. We aim to show how this legacy of human rights violations (which came to be perceived as the "past crisis") continues to haunt the public spheres of these societies after their return to democracy in 1983, 1985, and 1990, respectively. These societies have experi- enced"aftershocks,"that is, crises of a smaller scale than the crises of the past which, in the 1960s and 1970s, led to a cycle of polarization and violence, followed by military rule and repression. While these aftershocks cannot be compared to past social dislocations, they have had a pronounced effect on the re-democratized public spheres of the Southern Cone. They have gener- ated instability as they revivify the legacy of human rights violations and chal- lenge the awareness and degree of internalization of the discourse of human rights. We focus on the factors that led to the development of current "crises beyond past crises," the mechanisms of resolution adopted in each case, and the international dimensions of the problem. The Backgroundof Policy Making For the Southern Cone of the Americas, the 1960s and early 1970s were times of increased social polarization, ideological upheaval, and breakdown of democracy. As the liberal-democratic pattems of political life broke down, a 45
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The Crises Beyond Past Crisis: The Unsolved Legacy of Human Rights Violations in the Southern Cone

Mario Sznajder and Luis Roniger'

The arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London in October 1998 and the legal tug-of-war over his possible extradition to Spain, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity, triggered the reemergence of the ghosts of the past. Once more, the public sphere focused on the images of past polarization and violence, of the disappeared, of the tortured, and of those who spent time in concentration camps and prisons under the General's military rule between 1973 and 1990. As supporters and foes of the aged senator-for-life clashed in Chile and elsewhere, the images of national reconciliation and of a consoli- dated and stable Chilean democracy appeared feeble and tainted.

The crises that evolved in the 1990s around the legacy of human-rights violations committed by the security forces in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile under military rule are the focus of this article. We aim to show how this legacy of human rights violations (which came to be perceived as the "past crisis") continues to haunt the public spheres of these societies after their return to democracy in 1983, 1985, and 1990, respectively. These societies have experi- enced"aftershocks,"that is, crises of a smaller scale than the crises of the past which, in the 1960s and 1970s, led to a cycle of polarization and violence, followed by military rule and repression. While these aftershocks cannot be compared to past social dislocations, they have had a pronounced effect on the re-democratized public spheres of the Southern Cone. They have gener- ated instability as they revivify the legacy of human rights violations and chal- lenge the awareness and degree of internalization of the discourse of human rights. We focus on the factors that led to the development of current "crises beyond past crises," the mechanisms of resolution adopted in each case, and the international dimensions of the problem.

The Background of Policy Making

For the Southern Cone of the Americas, the 1960s and early 1970s were times of increased social polarization, ideological upheaval, and breakdown of democracy. As the liberal-democratic pattems of political life broke down, a


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period of regulated control of public spheres began in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile between 1973 and 1976. Military rule involved not only the authori- tarian-bureaucratic regulation of public life, but also the reorganization of all institutional sectors in these societies.

Guided by strongly anti-leftist doctrines, the military administrations adopted policies of massive repression and instilled cultures of fear. In later phases of military rule, and especially in the 1980s, the massive forms of re- pression came to be addressed in terms of an increasingly generalized dis- course of human rights violations. Combined local and international factors transformed the call for truth and justice into one of the central banners of the movements struggling to foster democracies in these societies?

With the end of the military dictatorships in Argentina (1983), Uruguay (1985), and Chile (1990), the full extent of massive human rights violations was made public. The disclosure did not carry with it an acknowledgment of past deeds by the sectors of society most involved in the repression, but it opened a debate and confrontation around the legacy of human rights viola- tions. It is this legacy that the civilian political leaderships of these countries attempted to "close" through diverse forms of policy action, in order to move beyond the experience and memory of past crises, resorting mainly to the rhe- torical formula of"national reconciliation. "3

In Argentina, the transition to democracy occurred following its defeat in the Malvinas-Falkland War. Argentina's poor military performance in the war and the discovery of corruption shattered the legitimacy of its governing armed forces, which had already been adversely affected by the mismanagement of the economy. As the country returned to democracy, a radical policy of en- gagement with this legacy was adopted by the Alfonsfn administration (1983- 1989). This policy was carried out through parallel channels. First, in January 1984, the law of"self amnesty" (Law 2292411983) that the armed forces of Ar- gentina granted to themselves was revoked by a resolution of the two houses of the Argentinean Congress. Second, a truth commission was charged with clarify- ing the extent and depth of human rights violations, including the fate of the thousands of victims who disappeared. Its report, published in part under the name of Nunca mds (Never Again), anchored the version of the victims as an au- thoritative account for the first time in Argentinean history. Third, the new gov- ernment demanded that the Supreme Council of the armed forces put on trial members of the governing juntas and other high-ranking officers who were responsible for conducting the"Dirty War. 'When the Supreme Council failed to do so, the civilian court of Federal Appeals took over the cases and finally brought the former military rulers to trial. Fourth, a special governmental body was created for dealing with human rights issues, and mechanisms were es- tablished to assume the material compensation of the victims of repression.

The radical character of some of these moves, especially the trials, was miti- gated to some extent by pressure from the military: a series of laws was adopted

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(the laws of Final Point [23492/1986] and of Due Obedience [23521/1987]) which diluted the earlier policy of exemplary trial and punishment. This pro- cess led to pardons and, eventually, to a comprehensive amnesty granted in the early 1990s by the incoming government of President Carlos MenemJ

In Uruguay, the transition to democracy resulted from an agreement be- tween the military and the main political forces, followed by legislation aimed at the total closure of the issue of human rights violations. Following the adop- tion in December 1986 of Law 15848, the Law of Cancellation of the Punitive Pretension of the State, different sectors of civil society exercised their consti- tutional right to request a national referendum on that legislation, a process that required signatures from a quarter of the citizenry. A two-and-a-half- year-long process of collecting signatures for and against the annulment or the ratification of the law ensued. During this period, there was a prolonged discussion of the dilemmas of balancing respect for normative principles ver- sus the demands of maintaining social stability. In the referendum, which was conducted in April 1989, the forces that worked for the annulment of the law were defeated by a very narrow margin. The results of the referendum were widely interpreted as signaling the end of the debate and the definitive clo- sure of the issue of past human rights violations. 5

In Chile, a transition controlled by the military included the implementa- tion of the comprehensive Amnesty Law of 1978 (Law Decree 219111978), which covered the period of the most egregious human rights violations be- tween 1973 and 1978. Under international pressure, this law excluded am- nesty in the case of the assassination of the exiled Orlando Letelier, Minister of Foreign Affairs during the presidency of Salvador Allende, and his secretary, Ronnie Moffitt, a North American national, by a car bomb in Washington, D.C. on September 21, 1976. During the late 1970s and 1980s, the IJetelier case was a source of constant tension between the military government of Chile and the United States, especially after courts in the United States found ample proof that the crime had been committed by anticommunist Cubans collabo- rating with Chilean DINA (Direcci6n Nacional de Inteligencia, or National Intelligence Agency) agents. Despite its exclusion from the Amnesty Law, the Chilean military courts declared this case closed. The courts declined at that period--when Chile was still under military rule--to convict General Manuel Contreras, the founder and commander of the DINA, and his second-in com- mand, Brigadier Pedro Espinoza, on charges of homicide and of providing false passports to the authors of the assassination.

The beginning of the democratic period within Chile was marked by the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (the Rettig Commis- sion) and by a spectacular inauguration in Santiago's National Stadium which served as a rite of symbolic expiation, ironically, in a place which had been the site of massive human rights violations in 1973. The publication of the Rettig report, announced on live television by President Patricio Aylwin, produced a

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deep shock and was strongly and publicly criticized by the heads of the armed forces. The attempted legal reforms of Aylwin failed, although they produced a wide, yet short-lived political debate. ~

National Reconciliation and the Seeds of the Crises

The historical experience of massive human rights violations was a critical issue at the center of the public agenda in the reborn democracies of the South- ern Cone. The political leadership could not ignore the issue, and the legacy of human rights abuses posed a deep challenge to any democratic setting. From a practical angle, any attempt to use strict legal mechanisms and norms of accountability could be highly destabilizing. In the post-authoritarian societ- ies of Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina, various solutions were adopted for re- solving the conflict between normative priorities and political contingencies. In each society, different combinations of legal, institutional, symbolic, and political responses to the "past crisis" were applied. Yet these solutions could hardly forestall confrontation with the legacy of the past. In fact, they became part of the problem.

For years, the issue of the legacy of human rights violations remained a source of conflict and polarization, similar to the situations and confronta- tions that preceded the last wave of military takeovers. There were situations in which the activist extremes invaded the center of feeble public spheres, sometimes exercising violence and forcing large numbers of people to take sides, thus producing a situation reminiscent of the polarization of the au- thoritarian period. In the post-authoritarian period, victims and perpetrators lived side-by-side in the same societies, each side trying to mobilize people in support of their views. Since stability was such an important issue for the po- litical leaders in the transitional societies, it was imperative to tackle the issue as soon as these countries returned to democracy. Political elites were in the difficult position of having to balance the demands for impunity put forward by the military--who perceived themselves as"saviors of the Nation"--with the demands for justice voiced by the victims, their relatives, friends, and pub- lic supporters. The demand for justice could not be ignored in political systems that were to be committed to the rule of law. The policies adopted were de- signed to clarify the fate of the victims and grant them public recognition, while moving unevenly and under serious legal and practical constraints to punish in very limited ways (if at all) some of those responsible without im- pairing delicate civil-military relationships.

The political leaderships of Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina adopted the idea of national reconciliation as a constructive political formula to overcome the above contradictions. Many of the leaders emphasized that the delicate situa- tion necessitated the kind of compromises that were being carried out. The arguments pointed to the impossibility of applying a "politics of principle." In

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many cases, ethical positions were criticized on the grounds that they were triggers of the same kind of catastrophic anarchy and polarization that these societies had experienced all too recently. According to this logic, national rec- onciliation became the key political instrument for overcoming polarization and achieving peace and social stability.

Thus, for example, in 1988, Uruguay's Colorado Party leader and vice-presi- dent, Enrique Tarigo, claimed that "It]he country cannot keep looking back because of events that, however regretful and horrendous, happened ten or twelve years ago. It is imperative to live in today's world and provide solutions to current problems and needs. ''7 Following the April 1989 referendum, Presi- dent Julio Mafia Sanguinetti emphasized, perhaps prematurely, that "Uruguay has resolved all the problems of the past. The debate about the dictatorship period is over. The country is facing its future. ''8 Similarly, in his inaugural speech in 1989, President Patricio Aylwin stressed that"Chile has an aptitude for understanding and not for confrontation. We cannot progress by digging deeper into divisions. It is time for pardon and reconciliation. "~ The Chilean opposition leader AndrOs Allamand declared that the Church's call for recon- ciliation "encourages us to leave behind the divisions. Now the most impor- tant thing is reconciliation. ''1~ In Argentina, the policy of pardons was strongly defended by President Menem, who considered it "a mechanism to ensure pacification. I won't regret a move that has had a positive result. With that decision, an end was put to subversion in Argentina and to the attitude of takeover of many sectors of the armed forces. TM

The discourse of national reconciliation was projected as a rhetorical solu- tion which almost everybody could accept with little cost. Even the members of the security forces could profess acceptance of the idea of national recon- ciliation. The Uruguayan army's commander-in-chief, Carlos L. Berois, was among the first to explicitly indicate the rationale of the armed forces in sup- porting the policy of reconciliation:

Recently, in the occasion of honoring the memory of those fallen in its [the countLy's] defense, we had stated our will not to reopen those wounds or animosities which many Uruguayans, military and civilians, keep alive justifiably or not. Today we re- affirm that position, expressing publicly our fervent aim to collaborate in the re- encounter of all Uruguayans in the effort of building a better fatherland, based on the pnnciples and ideals that we cherish, which constitute the essence of our na- tionality and which are cultivated in all domains of the army. '2

In societies afflicted by years of instability, polarization, and violence, civil- ian and military alike perceived the idea of reconciliation as crucial for attain- ing stability, consensus, and peace. However, the disparate interpretations of both sides had yet to reach a level of equilibrium in the public sphere. Prob- lems began as the idea of reconciliation had to be balanced with the legal and extra-legal treatment of human rights violations. In Uruguay, for example, al- most immediately after the referendum of April 1989 that had ratified the Law

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of Expiry, some political sectors noted that "we have to give an answer to the pain of the families of the disappeared. This answer. . , is basic for achieving an equilibrium and reconciliation. "13 In Argentina, Menem's support of pardons for the sake of national reconciliation was harshly criticized by those who de- manded full justice:

Reconciliation? What absurd pretension! This will take several generations. How can a mother reconcile with the person who killed her son? What is important is to share the idea of living in peace, respecting democratic rules and institutions. TM

In a~ three countries the implementation of the idea of national reconcilia- tion was elaborated with an eye to balancing the interests of the armed forces, civil society, and the government, all in the interest of democracy. Those most affected by the repression and their supporters had varied success in keeping the issue of human rights violations at the center of the public agenda. In Chile, they were marginalized through the initiatives of the political leader- ship and the limits posed by the constitution inherited from the military pe- riod. In Argentina, victims of human fights v/olations had wide punic ~sib~li~ until April 1987, but lost strength as the government succumbed to military pressures and initiated conciliatory measures in its policies. In Uruguay, those most affected by the repression and their supporters succeeded in mobilizing large segments of the population against the idea of impunity, but failed in the April 1989 referendum to annul the Law of Expiry.

In each counlry, the armed and security, forces managed, in varying degrees, to affect the officia~ policies and resist the legal and extra-lega~ attempts to make them accountable for human rights violations committed during mili- tary rule. In Argentina, they started from a position of weakness and progres- sively managed to resist the tide of justice, ultimately bringing about a reversal of policies that closed off legal measures and pardons. In Uruguay and Chile, the armed forces clung to their traditional theses of hawng waged a legitimate war against insurrection. The Naval Pact agreement, which enabled the transi- tion to democracy in Uruguay, ensured the lack of prosecution of those who committed human rights violations. The political leadership promoted legis- lation aimed at avoiding state trials of the military for human rights abuses. In Chile, the armed forces enjoyed the impunity provided by the 1978 amnesty law, as well as an autonomous status granted by the 1980 constitution. In be- tween victims and perpetrators stood the political leaders of the redemocratized countries, which resorted to the formula of national reconciliation and lhe need for social harmony in order to create pragmatic but tense equilibrium between the military and concerned sectors of civil society.

As partial institutional solutions were implemented, the idea of national reconciliation became a source of public legitimacy for political leaders who were trying to find legal ways of integrating what could hardly be integrated: impunity and justice. The idea of national reconciliation was used to justify

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impunity granted to past violators of human rights. But at the same time, mechanisms used to achieve national reconciliation involved the partial acknowledgement and disclosure of the extent and depth of human rights violations committed under military rule. This partial acknowledgement and disclosure bolstered the security forces' refusal to cooperate with the civilian authorities in uncovering the whole truth; this partiality in relation to the past was itself a force that served to breed future crises.

The Crises

A series of consecutive crises focusing on the legacy of human rights viola- tions marked the second half of the 1990s in the three countries of the South- ern Cone. The crises were of different gravity and, although in none of the cases did they create a serious danger for the continuity of democracy, they reopened harsh debates and brought the issue of the legacy of authoritarianism once more to the center of the public agenda. The political leadership could not easily brush aside these potential triggers of crisis by using rhetorical fig- ures or adopting measures of little substantive content. In each case, the crisis pointed to past failures of the respective democracies in dealing with the legacy of human rights violations.

In Argentina, the legacy of human rights violations became the central is- sue in the country's public agenda when Captain Adolfo Scilingo, an ex-navy officer, made a series of public appearances and confessed to having partici- pated in the operations leading to the "disappearance" of political prisoners. According to Scilingo, the victims were sedated, flown in navy planes to mid- ocean, and thrown alive into the sea with heavy weights so that their bodies would not be recovered and brought ashore. The declarations he made to hu- man-fights activist and writer Horacio Verbitsky resulted in a book, El vuelo (The Flight), which immediately sold thousands of copies, is

Since 1983, Scilingo, who appeared to be tormented by his participation in these acts, had written letters to the high command, trying in vain to convince them to publicly recognize the acts committed at centers of de- tention such as the infamous School of Mechanics of the Navy (Escuela de Mec~inica de la Armada, or ESMA). Scilingo was convinced that"unless we tell the truth regarding the disappeared, no peace will be possible." As he told an Uruguayan reporter later on, while serving a prison sentence for fraud:

Was it a war? Was it not?. . . We are to blame for the mystery, since there remain the [9,000] disappeared, of whom 4,000 [disappeared] from the ESMA . . . . The Navy is responsible. What is to be hidden? Those who criticize me say that the dirty war was a service to the nation, to save the country from the hands of communism. So, if they are so proud, why do they hide the theme of the disappeared? What is the problem? This is not coherent: I am proud of having participated in the war against

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subversion and on the other hand I keep hiding the truth. Then it is right: we feel ashamed, they are ashamed, of telling what we have done. 16

The revelations, made also in TV interviews and reproduced in numerous press reports and articles, precipitated an agitated debate over the legacy of human fights violations, the fate of the disappeared, the nature of civil-mili- tary relations, and the significance of democracy.17 A new generation that came of age after the period of the trials, and which was mostly unconcerned about the legacy of the military period, now confronted the public coverage of hu- man rights violations in the mid-1980s and heard for the first time about that experience. The news shocked them as older age cohorts had been shocked a decade earlier. Sure enough, however, the impact was short-lived. It did not change the development of the ongoing presidential electoral campaign, which was con- ducted mainly around the issue of concern for macroeconomic stability.

The revelations of Scilingo could have recreated the tensions that accompa- nied earlier revelations in 1984-85, but these were deflected by the declara- tions of General Martin Baiza, commander in chief of the Argentine army. Following Scilingo's public appearances in the media and the publication of his book, President Menem and the commanding officers of the Navy tried to defame Scilingo as a petty criminal and untrustworthy individual. General Baiza adopted a completely different attitude. He recognized that major crimes and human fights violations had, indeed, been committed during the military govemment. He also declared that the Argentinean armed forces should act in the future within the strict limits of constitutional legality and morality. TM This position was in stark contrast with the traditional attitude of the military elite in Argentina, which justified any action done in the service of the Nation and the institution as morally correct and as patriotic. Balza's position was not unanimously endorsed. Admiral Massera, a member of the first military junta in 1976, declared that no crimes had been committed and no one was illegally killed. Massera was not alone in endorsing the position that the armed forces had won a legitimate war against subversion. General Mario C~indido Dfaz, commander of the joint staff of the armed forces and second in command after General Baiza, was the main officer in active duty to take a stand against Balza's statements. Other retired officers made similar declarations) ~

The debate was reopened and increasingly widened to include members of various political parties, the military, concerned NGOs, intellectuals, the church, and the general public. Balza's declarations won significant dvilian support, al- though some human-rights activists demanded an even more critical stand. Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Pfrez Esquivel sent an open letter, in which he declared that:

Balza's declarations are important but they are not enough, we disagree with the statement that all of us share the blame for the tortures, rapes and disappearances. We do not support the collective allocation of the blame. The victims were not re- sponsible and neither were we. ~

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Also, the Madres de Plaza de Mayo considered Balza's speech insufficient. Hebe de Bonafini, president of this NGO, characterized Balza's declarations as "hypocritical."If he really was against human rights violations, she commented, Baiza would not look the other way, and he would imprison the murderers of those soldiers who were assassinated in the military camps? 1

The chain reaction initiated by Scilingo produced a debate over the role of Argentina's Catholic Church during the military rule. Bishop Miguel Hesayne, well known for his exceptional defense of the persecuted, condemned the of- tidal attitude of the church in supporting the armed forces. In a document issued April 30, 1995, the Catholic Church of Argentina publicly and officially recognized "past mistakes.'The most active human rights NGOs reacted to these declarations with disapproval, rejection, or scorn, z2

The 1995 revelations served as a prelude to the acts commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the military coup, which produced a wave of con- demnation of the security forces' past policies. They also emboldened the on- going debates on the responsibility for what happened in Argentina between 1976 and 1983. In an act commemorating the fourteenth anniversary of the Argentine military landing in the Malvinas-Falkland Islands, General Dfaz declared that he rejected each and every criticism directed against the armed forces, one of the "fundamental institutions of the fatherland." He claimed that such criticism caused malaise in governmental and public circles. 23

Violent attacks were carried out against some of the former members of the security forces who were known for their involvement in the repression. Cap- tain (ret.) Alfredo Astiz, whose extradition has been requested by the French authorities for his involvement in the assassination of French nuns in Argen- tina, was attacked twice on the streets of Bariloche and Buenos Aires by people who recognized and identified him as a former torturer. In May 1996, Jorge Berg6s was seriously wounded while walking near his home in Quilmes. Berg6s was a police doctor known for torturing imprisoned women and abducting their newborn babies for adoption by military families in the 1970s. 24

A few weeks before the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the military takeover in Argentina, Enrique Arancibia Clavel, an ex-member of the Chilean intelligence agency, DINA, declared that he was the perpetrator of the 1974 bombing which killed the exiled ex-commander of the Chilean armed forces, General (ret.) Carlos Prats, and his wife in Buenos Aires. The admission implicated Chilean officers, precipitated a judicial inquiry in Ar- gentina, and generated pressures against amnesty in Chile. z5

These revelations, which stressed the scope of the international operations of the DINA, added to the political turmoil generated in mid-1995 by the final verdict in the Letelier case.The verdict condemned the founder and commander of the DINA, General (ret.) Manuel Contreras to seven years, and his second- in-command, Brigadier Pedro Espinoza, to six years of imprisonment. In spite of the fact that the Letelier case was explicitly not covered by the 1978 Am-

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nesty law, the idea of sending a general and a brigadier to jail seemed outra- geous to many members of the Chilean armed forces and generated much uneasiness in their ranks, especially in the officers' corps. Contreras' refusal to comply with the country's Supreme Court's final verdict generated a crisis in- volving the armed forces. After he found a safe haven in an army battalion and later in a navy hospital, public and political pressure on the government mounted. The Letelier family, human right activists, and politicians of differ- ent stripes demanded full compliance with the verdict. Meanwhile, large groups of army officers manifested their solidarity with Espinoza by visiting him en masse in the Punta Peuco prison, a high security facility that was specially built for the occasion of his imprisonment. After five months of resisting, Contreras accepted the verdict and was secluded in Punta Peuco with Espinoza. The two men were the sole inmates in a special section of a prison whose levels of comfort are outstanding by the Chilean penitentiary standards? 6

In Uruguay, Scilingo's confession reopened the wounds of the experience of human rights violations, especially since most of Uruguay's disappeared were abducted in Argentina after 1976 with cooperation of the military au- thorities of Buenos AiresY Here, as in Argentina, one of the main issues was the fate of children of the victims. In 1995, a child related to the notorious syndicalist personality Jos6 D'Elia was locatedY The proceedings for his re- turn to his biological family began in tandem with Scilingo's declarations about the legacy of human rights violations. In March 1996, the commemoration in Argentina of the twentieth anniversary of the military coup d'etat was widely reported in Uruguay, with more than a passing reference to the local lack of political will to follow the lead of Argentina in attempting to deal with the past. 29

The Uruguayan military had preserved a high degree of internal solidarity based on the idea that its actions saved the country from communism and anarchy. Nonetheless, signs of fission were evident by 1996. On March 26, members of the battalion of Naval Riflers declared anonymously that they had committed human rights violations. :'~ In May 1996, Navy Captain (ret.) Jorge Tr6ccoli, who was a student of anthropology at the time, recognized that al- though he did not participate in the worst acts of torture and assassination, he had fought a war in which the armed forces'treated their enemies inhumanly," alluding to the torture, disappearance, and murder of many of them. 31 The declarations of Tr6ccoli, who was expelled from the Faculty of Anthropology in Montevideo by a decision of the student assembly, generated wide interest and represented the first public fissure in the ranks of Uruguay's military offic- ers about their role in the repression. 32

In 1996, Senator Rafael Michelini, the son of the assassinated Senator Zelmar Michelini, stated that the armed forces were responsible for the assassination of his father. He also called to reopen the campaign to bring about knowledge and acknowledgment of the legacy of human rights violations. As a first step,

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a march in homage to the disappeared was organized. The march--known as the March for Truth, Memory, and Never Again or as the March of Silence-- was planned for May 20, 1996, the twentieth anniversary of the killing of Zelmar Michelini and H6ctor Guti6rrez Ruiz, ex-president of the lower house of the Uruguayan Parliament. The initiative, supported by politicians, union leaders, religious and social organizations, human rights groups, and the families of the disappeared and the victims of military repression, was planned without speeches. People were encouraged to carry Uruguayan flags and to lay roses in memory of the disappeared on the Monument of Liberty. The march was at- tended by as many as fifty thousand people and was conducted in total si- lence. When some of the participants attempted to shout that the military deserved the death penalty rather than pardons, they were silenced by the multitudes. Similarly, when the military march used during the 1973-85 pe- riod of dictatorial rule was heard emanating from a house overlooking the protest, the mass reaction was to drown it out by singing the national anthem. In the Uruguayan parliament, the march was accompanied by an act of hom- age to the killed parliamentarians, Senator Michelini and Deputy Guti6rrez Ruiz. The 1996 commemorations were met with silence in the official political sphere. This silence was an expression of the tacit agreement between major political forces and the military not to reopen the debate closed at the 1989 referendum.

In Argentina, 1998 witnessed the resurgence of aftershocks related to the legacy of human rights violations. The Due Obedience and Full Stop Laws were finally annulled by the Argentinean Congress, opening possibilities of prosecuting perpetrators of human rights violations. In June 1998 a Federal Judge ordered the arrest of General (ret.) Jorge R. Videla, head of the military Junta in 1976, on charges of responsibility for the kidnapping of newborn ba- bies of political prisoners who were later killed. Some months later, Admiral (ret.) Emilio Massera was arrested on similar charges. Although these steps generated debates and statements along the lines of debate of the 1980s, po- litical stability in Argentina was not seriously threatened. This reflected the measure of control obtained by the civilian government over the armed forces of that country.

In most cases, especially in Argentina and Uruguay, the situation of con- frontation was triggered as a former or current member of the armed forces broke ranks with the position of the military and security institutions on the issue of past human fights violations. The motivations behind such moves were varied; disagreements with the chain of command, problems of con- science, and the search for fame and money are all possible explanations.

There is a general pattern to the emergence of crises about past human rights violations. First, an individual goes public, after which his declarations rapidly take center stage on the public agenda at the national level. Then they are reproduced by the media of the neighboring countries, in which they find

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an audience because of their similarity to the experiences of people in those countries. General economic, social, and political considerations may add to the extended ramifications of the crisis, but these considerations are minor in the initiation of the crisis itself. The diverse economic and political perfor- mance of the new democracies in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile is ample proof of this point. The cases of Scilingo, Tr6ccoli, and Arancibia illustrate situ- ations in which an officer goes public with information previously denied. At the same time, these individuals seem to keep endorsing the military thesis that the armed and security forces had no alternative at the time but to face a brutal enemy in the latter's own terms of violence. Tr6ccoli's statement is para- digmatic of the apologetic nature of these confessionals:

I assume responsibility for having combated the guerrilla band with all the forces and resources at my disposal. I assume responsibility for having done things which I am not proud of now, nor was I proud of then. I assume responsibility for having participated in a war, as I understood it at that moment. After all, the situation of war is most of the time a juridical status and humanity sees itself wrapped up in death and-injuries even when a war is not declared. I assume responsibility most of all for having been submerged in violence. Only now, from this [my current] per- spective, can I understand the norms and values that prevailed in that situation, set and determined by the [state of] war . . . . If one could dignify the evil involved, we could say it was a dirty war, but not less heroic than others, both on one side and the other. For the most part, only to your judgement will I lend true value. Even when somebody is full of hatred, I will be able to understand it. 33

The aftershocks in each of these cases rippled into neighboring states. The inability to contain the crises within the boundaries of the respective states speaks to the regional and international character of the problem, to which we turn in the following sections.

Human Rights Violations--A Regional Problem?

The issue of past human rights violations moved to the center of the public agenda in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile more or less simultaneously in the late 1990s. The developments leading to the crises were different in each case, as were the ways of tackling the legacy of human rights violations within the re-democratized frameworks of each country. Another source of variance is the size and complexity of the legacies, as well as the length of the post-au- thoritarian democratic period and the extent of democratic consolidation in each country.

In all three countries of the Southern Cone, the legacy of human rights violations was publicly discussed on several occasions. This was especially the case in Argentina between early 1984 and mid-1987, and in Uruguay between December 1986 and the April 1989 referendum. By mid- 1995, the public agenda of the three countries was again squarely focused on the legacy of human rights violations. A generalized sense that there was some "unfinished busi-

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ness" was becoming apparent, and the regional nature of the problem had much to do with this. Indications of the regional character of the problem were revealed in the Letelier case and in revelations about other activities of the DINA outside Chile, the declarations of Arancibia about the assassination of General Prats and his wife in Buenos Aires, the information available about the assassination of Michelini and Gutifrrez Ruiz in Buenos Aires in 1996, the disappearance and probable assassination----of more than one hundred mem- bers of the Uruguayan opposition to the military in Argentina, and the disap- pearance and assassination of Argentinean members of the opposition to the military in Uruguay. These and related events seemed to confirm rumors about the "Plan C6ndor," an interstate cooperative effort which was built on the ideo- logical basis of the national security doctrine and aimed at killing left-wing activists who were perceived as enemies. ~

Since the annihilation of the victims was a common feature of the pattern of repression and was carried out regardless of national borders and areas of jurisdictions, whenever the issue of the disappearances, tortures, and assassi- nations became critical in one of these countries, it emerged in the others as well. For example, Arancibia's declarations in Buenos Aires had clear reper- cussions for Chilean politics, adding to the pressures accumulated during the crisis over the verdict in the Letelier case. Similarly, the refusal of Contreras to serve the jail sentence dictated by the Chilean courts over the Letelier case raised the whole issue of DINA's operations outside Chile. In Argentina, Scilingo's declarations raised the issue of the disappeared not only in Argen- tina but also in Uruguay. ~

Another dimension of the regional character of the problem at hand is the common refusal by the three security forces to provide civilians with the knowl- edge they have requested on the fate of the disappeared. The security forces have rejected the possibility of opening their records or of providing the testi- monies of those who had been involved in acts against civilians and of those who know the fate of the disappeared.The high commands of the armed forces systematically declined having any information about the disappeared. 36

The pattern of cooperation of the armed and security forces of the three countries was reinforced by similar ideological visions. In the view of military and security forces, they had fought a war to"save the nation." Despite the historical specificity of each case, the carrying out of the goals set by the Na- tional Security Doctrine required fighting against an international phenom- enon: the revolutionary left-wing threat. Eradication of the political and military opposition required regional cooperation, using methods that the military es- tablishment had internalized during the height of the Cold War. Military and security forces had cooperated in actions that later came to be portrayed in re- democratized societies as flagrant violations of human rights. In the context of post-authoritarian society, the members of the security establishment found themselves partners in an unwritten pact of silence.Yet, at the same time, once

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fractures appeared in the once formidable wall of military silence, an interna- tional response occurred, albeit a partial and incomplete one.

The International Dimension of Human Rights Violations in the Southern Cone

The international dimensions of repression in the Southern Cone has brought parties from outside the region into playing an active role regarding the fate of their own disappeared citizens and acts of terrorism committed in their territory by security forces from the Southern Cone countries. Aspects of the legal systems of Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay--provisions for amnesty, impunity, and pardons--have made it difficult to sue military personnel im- plicated in serious human rights abuses. As a result, there has been an in- crease in the symbolic importance of judicial actions initiated in such countries as Spain, Italy, France, and the United States. The Pinochet case is only one of a series of pending international cases with great potential to affect the public spheres in the redemocratized countries of the Southern Cone.

Each of the countries of the Southern Cone employed forces of repression against co-nationals abroad and against aliens residing in their territory. Uru- guay has been the least involved in such extra-national patterns of repression; its forces worked mostly within the national frontiers and refrained from any significant direct role in the disappearances (most cases of missing Uruguay- ans involved abductions and assassinations on Argentine soil by Argentine security forces). Despite the collaboration of Uruguayan security forces with their Argentine and Chilean peers, no cases of international scope have been made abroad against Uruguayan officers.

In Argentina, the main international effort has dealt with the murder of foreign citizens--political exiles, permanent residents, tourists--in Argentina. Several legal suits have been filed abroad against those involved in the assas- sination of civilians. For example, a trial was held in France against Navy Cap- tain Alfredo Astiz for his involvement in the disappearance and murder of two French nuns, Leonie Duquet and Alice Domon. Astiz was found guilty and sentenced in absentia to life in prison. In March 1995, the French authorities filed an international arrest order against Astiz, a move that was countered in Argentina by Astiz's superiors in the Navy, thus creating international tension between the two countries. In addition to the nuns, there are at least thirteen other French nationals, missing since the PRN, whose "disappeareance" has been reported to the CONADEP, the Argentinean commission of truth. 37 A second trial was initiated in Spain by Judge Baltasar Garz6n in September 1996 to determine the whereabouts of 320 missing Spanish citizens during the PRN. Ninety-seven Argentine military officers were implicated in the dis- appearances, and the Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry contemplated the pos- sibility of demanding the extradition of those officers if the courts were to

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require it. A precedent for such a procedure was established when Argentine courts granted the extradition to Italy of Erich Priebke, a Nazi war criminal. In accordance with the Argentine constitutional recognition of the primacy of international treaties on genocide and human fights, no time limits could af- fect bringing to trial or extraditing persons accused of having committed such crimes. -~ Nonetheless, Argentine courts made it clear that they would not ac- cept any such demand, since the Law of Due Obedience and the pardons had closed the issue from the point of view of Argentine justice. 3~ In Italy, a judicial process was initiated in 1983 for the disappearance of Italian nationals in Ar- gentina; the trial has been protracted but still threatens to implicate at least forty Argentine military officers. 4~ Commenting on the trials of Argentine na- tionals in Spain and Italy, Alicia Pierini, Argentine Subsecretary of Human Rights, cast the problem in terms of threats to national sovereignty posed by the trials abroad# 1 This shows how deeply embedded local resistance is to the implications of globalizing trends in the realm of human rights, in spite of the declared adherence of the political leaders to globalization in general.

Other legal suits have been filed in Sweden, in connection with Astiz's role in Dagmar Hagelin's murder, and in Germany, where reIatives of German na- tionals who disappeared in Argentina initiated legal action under the aegis of a "Coalition against Impunity," formed by local and international NGOs and led by the Evangelical Church. In Honduras, the human rights ombudsman has accused Argentine military officers of training the Honduran military in repressive methods that violate international human rights law. In the United States, private attorneys have made effective use of the alien tort claims act to prove civil liability and to win large awards against Argentine military person- nel involved in human rights violations.

Chile is the only country in the Southern Cone in which a trial initiated abroad (the Letelier-Moffit case) has led to the trial and indictments of military officers (Contreras and Espinoza) on its own soil. Similarly, Chile seems to be the only case in which military personnel have been implicated as being co-responsible for the assassination of Eugenio Berrios, a Chilean national, in Uruguay. This case seems to be an example of a post-dictatorial collaboration between the Chilean and the Uruguayan security forces behind the backs of elected govern- ments. Chemical engineer Eugenio Berrfos Segafredo was an agent of Chilean Intelligence requested by Chilean courts to testify on the assassination of Letelier. Berfios disappeared from Chile in late 1992. A year later, a man claiming to be Berrfos complained in the police station of the Uruguayan town of E1 Pinar that he was being held against his will in a nearby house by Uruguayan and Chilean personnel. After leaving the station, the man was never seen again. Four years later, in March 1995, a forensic doctor identified the remains of a body found on the Uruguayan coast as those of Berfios. 42

In judicial cases initiated abroad, the attitude of the Chilean armed forces has been to disclaim any institutional responsibility, declaring that those on

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trial bear personal responsibility for their actions. Three major trials have been initiated which may have far-reaching ramifications. First, there is the case of the 1974 assassination of the former commander-in-chief of the Chilean army, General Carlos Prats, and his wife in Buenos Aires, where they were living as exiles after Pinochet's assumption of power. In another trial, conducted in Italy, Generals Contreras and Iturriaga Neumann were found guilty of the attempted assassination of former Chilean Vice-President Bernardo Leighton and his wife in Rome in October 1976, and were sentenced in absentia to twenty and eigh- teen years in prison, respectively. It is highly implausible that the sentence will be carried out since there is no agreement of extradition between Italy and Chile? 3 Another case with international implications concerns the trial of two DINA officers for the assassination of Carmelo Sofia, a Spanish citizen and CEPAL official in Chile in July 1976. ~ In the same manner as during the mili- tary administrations, the Chilean democratic government neither recognizes the jurisdiction of foreign courts on crimes committed on Chilean soil nor the possibility of extraditing alleged perpetrators of such crimes committed against foreign nationals in Chile. 45

In a democratic public sphere, the existence of hundreds of unsolved cases of missing persons has set the stage for potential"aftershocks." The media has been effective time and again in giving public voice to individual pain and for facilitating personal claims for full disclosure of knowledge about past human rights violations. The powerful and unresolved suffering of victims of state repression ensures that a series of cases will be reopened in later years, pres- suring both those who played any role in the events and those who are cur- rently in charge of dealing with the institutional legacy of human rights violations. 46

The open character of the re-democratized public spheres in all three coun- tries made it impossible for the legacy of human fights violations to remain purely internal matters. The subject has been publicly reopened over and over again by developments taking place in other countries, yet each country re- sists foreign judicial action by resorting to arguments about the defense of national sovereignty. The disruptive potential of the numerous pending cases, though not a source of immediate destabilization, can be expected to recur in the Southern Cone, and such recurrences are not likely to be triggered solely from within the societies themselves.


The issue of past human rights violations in the countries of the Southern Cone tends to be contained until a new wave of crises erupts and gives it a renewed centrality. The partial and incomplete responses to past crises is a source of ongoing crises in the present. In the late 1990s, major sectors of civil society have been only slightly concerned with reopening the human-fights

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abuses issue. This hesistance is related to the contemporary socioeconomic situation, which is characterized by rising poverty, social marginality, widen- ing income gaps, and mounting levels of crime. All of these have combined to create the perception of personal insecurity among the well-off and the lower strata alike, who demand greater social control by the police, even at the cost of ignoring human rights. Against this background, any threat to institutional stability is seen in a negative light.

In recent years, the processes of globalization and democratization have created greater levels of permeability between the internal public spheres of each country and what could be called the global public sphere. Human rights have become a central issue in this global public sphere, and the interplay between internal and external principles and pressures serves to bring to view the legacy of human rights violations every time a new crisis erupts. In our view, these continuing crises stress the magnitude of the problem of incorpo- rating the legacy of past human rights violations into collective memory and identity. Though most of these societies would prefer to forget the past and march toward the future, whenever a crisis is triggered it is extremely difficult to close it off. Paradoxically, the crises are bringing the societies of the South- ern Cone closer together, albeit in a tortuous way, because of the pain of con- fronting and acknowledging past human rights violations. Such acknowledgment, though, might be the basis of a renewed sense of collective identity that incorporates the memory of the experience of the military period. 47


1. The authors would like to thank the Minerva Center for Human Rights of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Truman Research Institute for supporting this research. We gratefully acknowledge the research assistance of Daniel Schwartz and Mario Schejtman; the kindness of all those who agreed to be interviewed during fieldwork; and the comments of the participants at the seminars conducted at the Minerva Center in 1995 and 1997, at the 49th international congress of Americanists in Qmto in July 1997, and in the workshop on The Americas in Comparative Perspective at the Max Weber Kolleg in Erfurt, Germany, in December 1998.

2. See Jean Grugel,"External Support for Democratization in Latin America: European Po- litical Parties and the Southern Cone," Estudios lnterdiswiplinarios de Am&ica Latina y el Caribe, 4:3 (1993): 53-68; Pamela Lowden, Moral Opposition to Authoritarian Rule in Chile (NewYork: St. Martin's Press, 1996); Alison Brysk, The Politics of Human Rights in Argentina (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994); Laurence Whitehead, The International Di- mensions of Democratizahon: Europe and the Americas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), especially the introduction; and Carlos Portales,"Democracia y Derechos Humanos en la polftica exterior del Presidente Reagan," Estudios lnternacionales, XX:79 (1987): 352- 378.

3. The literature on these points and especially on the policy alternatives and courses of action is vast and can be mentioned only partially here. See among others David Pion- Berlin,"To Prosecute or to Pardon? Human Rights Decisions in the Latin American South- ern Cone," Human Rights Quarterly 16 (1994): 105-131; Jos6 Zalaquett,"Balancmg Ethical Imperatives and Political Constraints: The Dilemma of New Democracies Confronting

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Past Human Rights Violations," Hasting Law Journal 43 (1992): 1425-1438; Manuel Anto- nio Garret6n, "Human Rights m Processes of Democratization,"]ournal of Latin American Studies 26 (1994): 221-234; and Luis Roniger and Mario Sznajder, The Legacy of Human- Rights Violations in the Southern Cone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

4. On Argentina in particular see also Mark Osiel,"The Making of Human thghts Policy, in Argentma,"Journal of Latin American Studies 18 (1986): 135-180; M6nica Peralta Ramos and Carlos Waisman, eds., From Military Rule to Liberal in ArgoTtina (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1987); and Elizabeth Jelin,"The Politics of Memory: The Human Rights Movement and the Construction of Democracy in Argentina," Latin American Perspectiw, s 21 (1994): 38-58.

5. On Uruguay see Lms Roniger and Mano Sznajder,"The Legacy of Human Rights Viola- tions and the Collective Identity of Redemocratized Uruguay," Human Rights Quarterly 19 (1997): 55-77; Juan Rial and Carina Perelli, De mitos y memortas polfticas (Montevideo: Ediciones de la Banda Oriental, 1986); and Alexandra Babahona de Brito,"Truth and Jus- tice m the Consolidation of Democracy in Chile and Uruguay," Parliamentary Affairs 46 (1993): 579-593.

6. On the Chilean case see also Alexandra Barahona de Brito, Human Rights and Redemocrattzation m Latin America: Uruguay and Chde (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) and Rhoda Rabkin,"The Aylwin Government and 'Tutelar' Democracy,"]ournal of lnteramencan Studies and World Affmrs 34 (1994): 119-194.

7. El Dfa (Montevideo), March 1, 1988. 8. Interview with Sanguinetti published in Madrid's El Pais, April 19, 1989: 6. 9. Latin Amerzcan Daily Report, March 5, 199l. 10. "Tedeum Evang61ico: Gobierno debe hacer prioritaria la reconciliac16n," El Mercurm

(Santiago), September 18, 1995: 1. 11. Pcigina 12 (Buenos Aires), July 12, 1995: 10-11. 12. El Soldado (Montevideo), May-June 1989: 35. 13. Interview by Emiliano Cotelo in Radio El Espectador, May 24, 1996: 09:10. 14. HoracioVerbitsky,"Fuerzas armadas y sociedad civil,"Pdgina 12, July 16, 1995: 10-11, from

an interview for Time magazine. 15. Horacio Verbitsky, El vuelo (Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1995). For an English review see

Newsweek, March 27, 1995: 23. 16. Samuel Blixen,"Por supuesto que no me voy a callar," Brecha (Montevxdeo), May 7, 1996. 17. Mariano Grondona's TV talk show Hora Clave, Channel 9, March 2, 1995. The Mothers

and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo published a special issue on the Scilingo confessions (Madres de Plaza de Mayo 118, Apnl 1995). Scilingo's declarations were followed by the statements of a soldier and a sergeant who declared having been involved in human rights violations practices. They expressed remorse and provided new details on the throwing of prisoners into the sea (Clarin, July 1, 1995: 12.; La Prensa, April 24, 1995: 14; Ptigma 12, April 28, 1995: 2-5). At the same time,"El Yurco Juli~in," an officer involved in torturing detainees, appeared on TV, expressing no remorse and stating that, if required, he"would do it again" (Pcigina 12, May 3, 1995: 6).

18. General Baiza made his speech on live television, April 25, 1995 (~ernpo Nuevo, hosted by Bernardo Neustadt). The text of his speech was published the following day by the Argentinean newspaper Pdgina 12 (1-3), and prompted the demand that other institu- tions that participated in the"Dirty War"should take a similar, self-critical stand. The Navy and the Air Force did that on May 3; the Federal Police, on Mav 5. Reactions appeared by other ex-guerrilla leaders in the following days.The role of the (~atholic Church, and espe- cially of Papal Nuncio Pio Laghi, during the military government, was also questioned. For this controversy see Pdgina 12, April 9 to May 11, 1995; Buenos Aires Herald, April 13 to June 3, 1995; and Clarfn, April 11-29, 1995

19. Olga Wornat,"Incre~le pero cierto: Las confesiones de Massera," Genre (Buenos Aires), July 27, 1995: 48-56, and Pcigina 12, August 13, 1995: 11. For Diaz's declarations see Pcigina 12, May 5, 1995: 5. Other reactions can be traced in the following publications: Ambito Financiero, April 27, 1995: 2-3; Pagina 12, May 7, 1995: 10; Clarfn, Apnl 28, 1995: 4; and La Prensa, May 6, 1995: 3.

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20. The letter appeared in Clarfn, April 27, 1995, and was retransmttted on the web. 21. Bonafini was referring to the case of soldier ()mar Carrasco, slain by his colleagues and

officers in a military camp a few months before Balza's statement. Other NGOs reacted with moderate optimism (e.g., CELS) or even expressed strong support for Balza's action (e.g., the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights, APDH). The disparate positions of the NGOs can be found in Pc/gina 12, April 27, 1995: 1-7, May 6, 1995: 32; Clarfn, April 27, 1995: 1-10, April 28, 1995 17; and La Prensa, April 27, 1995: 1-5.

22. Following a senes of external and internal pressures and many declarations on the need for a "mea culpa" by priests and bishops, the Argentine Church issued a declaration on March 30, after six days of debate, which expressed remorse for"mistakes, infidelities, incoherence ,and slowness "Clan'n, March 8, April 1-12, and April 29, 1995. Mgr l-]esayne had accused the Episcopal Conference of not regretting"having had meals with the tor- turers at the same time that they did not receive the mothers of the disappeared." See in particular HoracioVerbitsky,"Una lluvia de recuerdos/'P~isnna 12, April 16, 1995: 1-3. See also the declarations of Emiio Mignone, Adolfo P6rez Esquivel, Nora Cortinas, and Domingo Quarracino in"Culpas que debe asumir la Iglesia," Pligina 12, Apnl 25, 1995.

23. "Malestar en el gobierno por el discurso de un lefe militar," Clarfn, April 3, 1996: 6. 24. Clarfn, April 6, 1996: 12-13; September 24, 1995; and October 6, 199~. Brecha, April 20,

1996: 31. An ironic situation ensued, as the Federal Police provided A_stiz with personal security (Pdgma 12, October 7, 1995: 10).

25. On the operations of the DINA in Argentina and ,ts cooperation with the securiD" au- thorities of that country see Manuel Salazar, Contreras, Historla de un intocable (Santiago: Grilalbo, 1995), 111-120.

26. "El precio de Contreras," Qut; Pasa (Santiago), October 7, 1995: 16-22;"Cuenta regreslva," Qut ~ Pasa, April 29, 1995: 14-17. See also I~ rerccra (Santiago), October 21, 1995 8-10.

27. The Uruguayan NGO's report on human rights violations indicates at least 157 Uruguay- ans"disappeared'and 95 political prisoners who were killed, died from illness, or commit- ted suicide in detention centers between 1972 and 1985 Out of the 157 disappeared persons, 117 disappeared in Argentina. See Serpaj, Uruguay, Nunca Mcis (Montewdeo: Serpal, 1989), 111-115, 425-430.

28. The kidnapped child was identified in 1995 when he was 17 years old. ]his is only one of a series of heart breaking attempts to idenfi~" the kidnapped children and restore their original identity, which in many cases is an impossible task, due to the time lag and the psychological burden for all involved sides. See for instance Guillermo Gonz~ilez,"D6nde est.4 Sim6n?", Brecha, June 16, 1996.

29. "Some people in Uruguay look with envy at the other shore [of the Rwer Plate, i.e., Ar- gentina] and ask themselves why Uruguayan civil society did nothing similar in 1993 when it was the twentieth anmversary of'our' military, coup "Daniel Gatti,"Ejercicios de la Memoria," Brecha, March 22, 1996: 31.

30. The anonymous declaration appeared in Posdata (Montevideo), April 26, 1996 31. Jorge Tr6ccoli,"Yo asumo...yo acuso," Brecha, May 10, 1996, Internet edition. 32. Tr6ccoli's letter generated a wide range of reactions, which Radio 1-1 Espectador from

Montevideo distributed through the mternet (May 7, 1996 and May 17, 1996). 33. Jorge N6stor Tr6ccoli, La ira de Leviatcin (Montevideo: Caelum, 1996). 34. For an account on the Condor Operation see Keith M Slack,"Operation Condor and

Human Rights: A Report from Paraguay's Archive of Terror," Human Rights Quarterly 18 (1996): 492-506. See also"M~is plumas del c6ndor: Qui6n mat6 a Juan Jos6 Tortes?" Brecha, internet edition, May 31, 1996.

35. Samuel Blixen,"El avestruz levanta la cabeza," Brecha, Internet edition, January. 28, 1996; and Brecha, May 28, 1995.

36 Even General Balza stated time and again that the army lacks any lists of the victims of repression between 1976 and 1983. See La Nact6n, April 1, 1995: 12.

37. Corte d'appello di Parigi, Decisione (http:llwww.derechos.orgllidliplgrusoll pariguhtml). 38. Marlise Simons,"Unforgiving Spain Pursues Argentine Killers," New York T/rues, October

24, 1996, [email protected];"Juiclo en Espafla," Microsemanario, [gopher:llgopher.uba.ar:7OlOOImicrosem], no. 247.1, July 8-14, 1996.

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39. If extradition is not granted, these cases will not be heard in court, since Spanish law does not contemplate trials in absentia of the accused. See RJchard Wilson,"Spanish Criminal Prosecutions Use International Human Rights Law to Battle Impunity m Chile and Ar- gentina," HYPERLINK, http://www.derechos.org/koaga/iii/5/wilson.html.

40. Jorge Ithurburu,"El juicio por los desaparecidos italianos,"http://www derechos org/lidlip/ j lhtml, June 16, 1996; Lega Italiana per i Dintti e la Liberazione dei Popoli,"II caso dei desaparecidos italiani," http://www.derechos.org/lidlip/grusol/, November 10, 1996.

41. Uki Gofii,"El precio de la paz. Entrevista con Alicia Perini,"http://ukinet. com/first/espanol/ index.html, October 20, 1996.

42. Jos6 Miguel Barros,"Casos Prats y Berr/os, al menos para perpetua memona,"La Segunda, March 7, 1996: 9. Roberto Ortiz,"Los secretos de Arancibia Clavel,'Punto Final (Santiago) 364, March 17-30, 1996: 4-6.

43. Gregorio Dionis,"Caso Leighton,'Arzobispado de Santiago, Fundaci6n Documentaci6n y Archivo de la Vicaria de la Solidaridad, h t tp : / /www.derechos .org /n izkor /ch i le / informain.html, November 18, 1996.

44. Gregorio Dionis,"Caso Soria,"ibid. 45. "Chile rechaza juicio pot los desaparecidos,'EI Mercurio, May 30, 1997: l, A15;"Ingerencia

Indebida," El Mercuno, July 7, 1997: A3. In 1997 there was consciousness in Chile that high-ranking figures of former administrations have been protected from being subpoe- naed by foreign courts through the use of diplomatic passports awarded to them as they travel abroad (Interview with political scientist Ricardo Israel, Santiago, July 4, 1997). Pinochet's arrest has already shown the shortcoming of this strategy.

46. One such case that incited the Chilean public's attention in 1996 was the disappearance of Jacobo Stoulman and his wife Matilde Pessa in Buenos Aires in May 1977. Ivain Cabezas, "La pregunta del mill6n de d6lares," La Naci6n Semanal, September 29, 1996: 17-22; Juan Pablo Moreno and Iwin C a b e z a s , " O p e r a c i 6 n Condor v caso Soulman-Pessa , " ][email protected], October 25, 1996.

47. These broad aspects of coming to terms with the past and assessing its implications for the reshaping of collective identities are analyzed in detail in The Legat~ of Human-Rights Violatzons in the Southern Cone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), chapters 6 and 7.