Argentina to pay reparations to wife of slain Bolivian military leader
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- (AP) -- The government has agreed to
pay nearly a
quarter million dollars to the widow of a Bolivian leftist military ruler killed in
Argentina as part of an effort by some South American dictatorships to eliminate
opponents, officials said Monday.
The ruling by the Argentine government awards $224,000 to Emma
wife of Gen. Juan Jose Torres, a former Bolivian president who fled to Argentina
after being ousted by military forces in his country in 1971.
The decision marks the first time Argentina agreed to pay a victim
of the so-called
Condor Plan, an alleged pact between South American military regimes in
Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay.
Under the plan, which was revealed by Paraguayan secret police
public in 1992, the countries exchanged intelligence information mainly during the
1970s to help each other hunt down suspected leftists.
In making the announcement, Argentina's secretary of human rights
Suarez said Torres' death ``falls under the methodology of the Condor Plan.'' She
also acknowledged ``a long list'' of similar cases, including that of Carlos Prats, a
former Chilean army chief killed by Chile's secret police in Buenos Aires in 1974.
``These cases are good examples of the repressive coordination''
of the region's
military governments that mostly ruled during the 1970s, Perez Suarez said.
The ruling now makes possible other claims from families of foreigners
Argentina during the military's seven-year reign. In 1976, Uruguayan legislators
Zelmar Michelini and Hector Gutierrez Ruia also died in Argentina.
Any future rulings, Perez Suarez said, will be left to Argentina's
government headed by Fernando de la Rua, which is to assume office Dec. 10.
Speaking to reporters in Bolivia, Emma Obleas said she welcomed
decision ``as recognition that (her husband) was the victim of a political murder
under the Condor Plan.''
Obleas said she would use some of the money to fund continued
into Bolivia's own military dictatorship. She also said she would also use a portion
of the funds to build a museum in her husband's honor.
In 1971, one year after becoming Bolivia's military president,
overthrown in a coup by armed forces led by rightist Gen. Hugo Bazner. Torres
fled to Argentina, where he was kidnapped by a death squad in June 1976. His
body was later found blindfolded, the hands bundled, with three bullet shots to the
Bazner ruled Bolivia until 1978 and returned as the country's
leader in 1997 after
being elected president. His government had no immediate comment on the