Uruguay: junta foreign minister gets prison term

On April 20 Uruguayan criminal judge Juan Carlos Fernández Lecchini handed down a 20-year prison sentence to Juan Carlos Blanco--foreign relations minister from 1973 to 1976, at the beginning of a 1973-1985 military dictatorship—for "especially aggravated homicide" in the case of the schoolteacher Elena Quinteros. With the judge's decision, all the principal figures accused of human rights violations during the dictatorship have received prison sentences, although some face additional charges. Former dictator Juan Bordaberry (1973-1976) has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, former dictator Gregorio ("Goyo") Alvarez (1981-1985) to 25 years, and eight other former officials to 20-25 years for homicides, kidnappings and forced disappearances.

Quinteros was abducted from the grounds of the Venezuelan embassy in Montevideo on June 28, 1976, when she sought asylum there. The abduction led to a break in diplomatic relations with Venezuela until 1985. Blanco still faces charges, along with Bordaberry, in the homicide of four Uruguayans in Buenos Aires. Under Uruguayan law, his sentence in the Quintero case will be appealed automatically. (Prensa Latina, April 21; AFP, April 22 via Notiero Legal)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 25.

See our last post on Uruguay.