Military Espionage in the 'Era of Democracy' in Uruguay

© AP Photo / Matilde CampodonicoA man crosses the capital's main avenue, during a full-day general strike in Montevideo, Uruguay, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015
A man crosses the capital's main avenue, during a full-day general strike in Montevideo, Uruguay, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 - Sputnik International
After a search of the residence of deceased General Elmar Castiglioni, a number of confiscated files compromising the security services in Uruguay were discovered. Sputnik spoke to journalist Samuel Blixen about this discovery.

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“The discovery of these documents reveals the fact that the military intelligence strategy and policy has not changed with the transition from dictatorship to democracy [in Uruguay] in 1985. Military intelligence has continued to work as it worked perviously,” Samuel Blixen, a journalist who is engaged in this investigation for the newspaper Brecha, told Sputnik.

He further said that this revelation points to one shocking discovery.

“The most shocking thing is that military intelligence in Uruguay has a high level of independence. Many of the targets mentioned in the documents were members of the democratic political parties who were acting completely legally.”

He said that this shows that their phone calls were monitored and surveillance on high-ranking officials from the Jorge Batlle party was carried out from 2000 to 2005.

“Surveillance was conducted on the current president, Tabaré Vázquez, when he was mayor of the capital, Montevideo, from 1990 to 1994,” Blixen added.

The journalist further noted that after the restoration of democracy the country’s former political system and military intelligence strategy remained the same up until 2009.

“Since 1985, none of the governments that were in power had sufficient political will to restructure the armed forces and clear them of elements that were in them from the time of the dictatorship,” the journalist explained.

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He said that General Elmar Castiglioni led the country’s military intelligence agency from the time of the dictatorship till the triumph of democracy. It is suspected that he used the documents to blackmail and put pressure on the politicians, according to the journalist.

“Given the fact that all this illegal activity has taken place under the governments led by the left, one would assume that the right-wing parties would wish to investigate. But I do not think they are interested in it. I do not think the government is willing to stick their noses into it. The government wants to know the truth but does not want to create difficulties for the military,” Blixen said.

Comparing the situation in Uruguay with other countries in the region, the journalist said that in Paraguay, Archivo del Terror was found which goes back to the time of the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner in 1992.

“These documents contain information about the links between the police and the military. In Argentina, the search continues for documents, and the actions of the government and public organizations raise citizens' awareness about the crimes of the dictatorship in the country.”

“Hence, there is an ongoing litigation. In Uruguay, however, the whole process slows down,” the journalist concluded.

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