U.S. officials are due a similar reckoning.
‘The cold was terrible but the screams were worse’ Sara Mendez told the BBC.
‘The screams of those who were being tortured were the first thing you heard and they made you shiver.
That’s why there was a radio blasting day and night’.In the 1970s Mendez was a young Uruguayan teacher with leftist leanings.In 1973 when the military seized power in her country (a few months before General Augusto Pinochet’s more famous coup in Chile) Mendez fled to Argentina.She lived there in safety until that country suffered its own coup in 1976.That July a joint Uruguayan-Argentine military commando group kidnapped her in Buenos Aires and deposited her at Automotores Orletti – a former auto repair shop that would become infamous as a torture site and paramilitary command center.There she was indeed tortured and there too her torturers stole her 20-day-old baby, Simón – giving him to a policeman’s family to raise.
Mendez was an early victim of Operation Condor – a torture and assassination program focused on the region’s leftists that from 1975 to 1986 would spread terror across Latin America’s southern cone.
On May 27th an Argentine court convicted 14 military officers of crimes connected with Operation Condor – issuing prison sentences ranging from 13 to 25 years.
Among those sentenced was Reynaldo Bignone – Argentina’s last military dictator – now 88. (He held power from 1982 to 1983.)