Monday, January 25, 2010

Uruguay's Juan Maria Bordaberry Facing Trial?

Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay have been good at going after political and military leaders from murderous dictatorships; even Brazil is setting up a truth commission. And now, Uruguay is joining its neighbors in seeking justice for past violations of human rights.

The Uruguayan district attorney´s office asked for a 30-year prison sentence to the ex-dictator Juan Maria Bordaberry and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Juan Carlos Blanco for having committed four homicides. [...] Both were considered "intellectual and institutional prosecutors", explained the source.
It's getting harder and harder for former leaders to plead ignorance or uninvolvement in the acts committed under their rule. The fact that Bordaberry remains one of the few living ex-"presidents" (a term often abused during dictatorships) to not have felt the full consequences of his acts in the name of "democracy," "order," and other catch-all legitimizing phrases from the Cold War, has been a mark against Uruguay. It is good to see Uruguay finally following the lead of its neighbors and going after such leaders for their acts. It not only offers victims' families a sense of closure and justice; it just may help deter future acts from political leaders.