ASUNCION – Paraguayan Vice President Alicia Pucheta apologized on Thursday on behalf of the state to relatives of four opposition activists who were “disappeared” by authorities during the 1954-1989 dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner.
The apology took place during the unveiling of a monument in honor of Agustin Goiburu, Carlos Jose Mancuello and brothers Rodolfo and Benjamin Ramirez in Asuncion’s Plaza of the Disappeared.
“This event is absolutely necessary, but we are committed to a fight that will continue,” said Rogelio Goiburu, son of Agustin Goiburu, one of Stroessner’s most renowned opponents. “We Paraguayans cannot remain satisfied with having identified four Latin American and Paraguayan compatriots who were disappeared.”
“What good is this if they’re not around anymore?” said Marcelo Mancuello, son of Carlos Jose Mancuello. “We are not downplaying the event. It is very meaningful to us, but we cannot help but question its merit now that the main perpetrator is not around to pay for what he did.”
Mancuello also urged the Paraguayan government to condemn the regime “once and for all” and to keep the dictatorship’s crimes permanently in mind to discourage people from “celebrating the dictator’s birthday every November 3.”
The event was also attended by Asuncion Mayor Mario Ferreiro.
The Stroessner dictatorship killed of disappeared 425 people in all, jailed some 20,000 and forced nearly 21,000 others into exile, according to a 2008 report by the Truth and Justice Commission.