Uruguay Marches for Justice for Dictatorship Disappeared

Uruguay Marches for Justice for Dictatorship Disappeared
Uruguay Marches for Justice for Dictatorship Disappeared

Tens of thousands marched in Uruguay, demanding truth and justice for the disappeared during the 1973-1985 dictatorship, a call joined on social media by figures like footballer Luis Suárez.

Headed by a banner reading "They know where they are! We demand answers. Never again state terrorism," the 29th March of Silence covered dozens of blocks in central Montevideo, an event replicated in several cities.

On the cold night, there were no party flags or symbols, only signs with photos of nearly 200 disappeared persons. The absolute silence was broken when all their names were read aloud followed by "Present!," before the march closed with the national anthem.

Official records count 197 people disappeared by Uruguayan state actions between 1968-1985, including the civic-military dictatorship period, most detained in Argentina under Operation Condor's collaboration between neighboring dictatorships.

"The armed forces, who kidnapped, tortured, murdered and disappeared our relatives, know very well what they did to them," said Alba González of Mothers and Families of Detained Disappeared Uruguayans, demanding "political will" to finally reveal their loved ones' fates.

The Silent March commemorates May 20, 1976 when Uruguayan legislators Michelini and Gutiérrez Ruiz and two Tupamaro guerrillas were killed in Buenos Aires.

Uruguay's human rights institution said "news is expected soon" on remains of a woman found in June 2023 at an infantry battalion, attributed to a disappeared detainee.

Former president José Mujica, once a guerrilla jailed 12 years under the dictatorship, attended but didn't march due to cancer treatment. He recalled thinking "This will end when we all disappear" but realized some never forget, alluding to Spanish Civil War victims.

A recent poll found 56% of Uruguayans believe state efforts to find the disappeared have been insufficient.