MONTEVIDEO – Juan Carlos Blanco, who served as Uruguay’s foreign minister for part of the 1973-1985 military dictatorship, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the politically motivated abduction and murder of a teacher, court officials told Efe Wednesday.
Judge Juan Carlos Fernandez Lecchini found Blanco guilty of aggravated homicide with special circumstances in the 1976 death of Elena Quinteros, the officials said.
In fact, the sources said, Fernandez rejected the forcible disappearance charge brought by prosecutor Mirtha Guianze against Blanco in favor of the more serious accusation of homicide.
Quinteros was last seen June 28, 1976, when Uruguayan security forces snatched her from the gardens of the Venezuelan Embassy in Montevideo, where she had gone to request political asylum.
The incident led to a nine-year diplomatic rupture between Montevideo and Caracas, which resumed ties only after Uruguay held a democratic election in 1985.
Blanco has been behind bars since 2006 for his role in the May 1976 killings of Uruguayan lawmakers Zelmar Michelini and Hector Gutierrez Ruiz.
Also convicted for those murders was former President Juan Maria Bordaberry, who was democratically elected in 1971 but became Uruguay’s strongman after the 1973 military coup.
Due to poor health, Bordaberry is being allowed to serve his multiple prison sentences under house arrest. Besides the 1976 slayings, he has been convicted of 10 other killings and of subverting the Uruguayan Constitution. EFE