Retired Uruguayan Colonel Gilberto Vázquez has died Friday while serving a prison sentence for his crimes against humanity during the military regime (1973-1985).
Vázquez had been hospitalized days ago at Montevideo's Military Hospital due to respiratory problems.
He had been convicted for a series of crimes, including the disappearance of María Claudia García, granddaughter of Argentine poet Juan Gelman, who was transferred while she was seven months pregnant to the Automotores Orletti clandestine detention centre in Buenos Aires.
Years later, the writer was able to meet his granddaughter, Macarena Gelman, who became a deputy on behalf of the Broad Front (Frente Amplio - FA), a left-wing coalition that ruled Uruguay between 2005 and 2020.
In July 2021, Vázquez was also sentenced to life imprisonment by the Italian Supreme Court for the disappearance under the Condor Plan of several Latin American leftist activists and dissidents.
The Condor Plan was a joint strategy among military dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s.
Vázquez also came under the spotlight in 2020, when a confession he had made in 2006 before the Army Court of Honor came to light, in which he recounted executions and constraints on those detained during the dictatorship.
We execute, we do not murder, they are different things. We do not torture, we press because there was no other remedy. The minimum necessary to get the truth out, because there was no other way to fight and I am proud of what I did, he had admitted.
In addition, he stressed that he was just a soldier who did the best that he could and at no time did he have remorse.
”They are going to teach my grandchildren that I was a murderer and I am neither a murderer nor a son of a bitch (...) I had to kill and I killed and I do not regret it,” he had also said.
Vázquez said he had had trouble sleeping over the people he had tortured, but that he did not regret it.
With his death, Vázquez takes to his grave the secrets of the whereabouts of almost 200 people who disappeared under State terrorism.