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  HOME | Latin America (Click here for more)

Paraguay Identifies First Remains of Disappeared Victims of Dictatorship

ASUNCION – Paraguay revealed on Tuesday the identity of the first remains of prisoners disappeared under the 1954-1989 dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner – they were identified as belonging to Paraguayan Miguel Angel Soler and Italian Rafaela Giuliana Filipazzi, the Historic Memory and Reparations Authority said.

Soler, secretary general of the Communist Party during that country’s dictatorship, was arrested and disappeared on Nov. 30, 1975, while Filipazzi was detained in 1977 in Montevideo and later transferred to the Investigations Department of the Paraguayan Police Department in Asuncion.

The identities of the remains of Soler and Filipazzi were revealed during a press conference at the Justice Ministry that coincided with the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

Soler’s body was located in December 2009 in an individual grave on the premises of the Specialized Group and his remains were dug up in January 2010, Rogelio Goiburu, director of Historic Memory and Reparations Authority of the Paraguayan Justice Ministry, told EFE.

Filipazzi’s remains were found in March 2013, also on the premises of the Specialized Group, in a common grave where a male body was also buried, but which has not yet been identified.

Goiburu added that the bone fragments of both were handed over in April 2016 to the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, or EAAF, which compared the genetic profile of the bones with that of blood samples donated by relatives of the disappeared, and in August successfully identified them.

“We’re moved by the identifications, this is a historic event. Putting first and last names to the remains discovered shows that these were victims of human-rights violations,” said Goiburu, who is also the son of a militant opposition member who was disappeared under the Paraguayan dictatorship.

He said the identification now opens the way for Paraguayan Justice to investigate both cases of forced disappearances and begin a series of “trials of the truth” that may help “rewrite history” so that these “abnormal acts” are never repeated.

He noted that the case of Filipazzi shows that she was “clearly a victim of Plan Condor,” since she was an Italian citizen kidnapped in Uruguay together with her companion, Jose Potenza, who is still missing, and was later taken to Paraguay, which shows the coordination that existed between the repressive forces of the two dictatorships.

Paraguay’s Truth and Justice Commission registered 425 individuals executed or disappeared, and almost 20,000 imprisoned during the Stroessner regime, most of whom were victims of beatings, electric shocks, burns and other forms of physical torture.

 

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