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Brazil, Argentina & Uruguay Take Aim At Dirty War Abuses

October 28, 2011 By Staff

Today in Latin America

Top Story— Three Southern Cone nations took major actions this week against former military members accused of crimes committed during their nations’ “dirty wars” of the 1970s and 1980s. On Wednesday, Argentina sentenced to life in prison a dozen military officers who headed a notorious detention center where thousands of people were disappeared. Just hours after Argentina’s sentencing, on the heels of a marathon session, Uruguay’s Congress lifted the amnesty law that made it impossible to prosecute crimes committed during the military dictatorship that ended a quarter century ago. Brazil’s Senate also voted on Wednesday to create a truth commission to investigate crimes committed during the harsh military regime that ruled from 1964 to 1985. The three events come as many former political prisoners and torture victims are becoming leaders of the Southern Cone nations. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was imprisoned during the military regime and Uruguayan leader José Mujica was held in solitary confinement for years. Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was also imprisoned and tortured during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. “These events inevitably create a domino effect in the region where not only victims, but their lawyers, the establishment, prosecutors and judges realize this is do-able,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Director of the Americas program at Human Rights Watch. “This is not a long shot or something that creates apocalypses of democracy.”

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Image: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador @ Flickr

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