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Montevideo, Sep 30 (EFE) .- The plenary session on the violation of Senator Guido Manini Ríos, a partner in the Uruguayan Government coalition, which culminated late on Wednesday with the Upper House decision not to agree to the request, became in a debate between those who denounced the impunity of the case and the clear conscience of the former commander in chief of the Army.
The leader of the Cabildo Abierto (CA, right) starred in a plenary session on whether the parliamentary privileges were withdrawn or not, despite the fact that the result was as expected: there were not enough votes for the motion to succeed and it culminated with 16 votes against and 15 in favor.
The violation was requested on November 1, 2019 by the Uruguayan Justice to be able to impute the one who was commander-in-chief of the Army between 2015 and 2019 for failing to denounce the confession of ex-military José Nino Gavazzo – made in a court of honor – by the disappearance and death of a guerrilla during the Uruguayan civic-military dictatorship (1973-1985).
Despite the fact that this Tuesday the Constitution and Legislation Commission of the Senate understood that the plenary session of the Chamber had to vote the violation, the support of the Broad Front (FA, left) and Citizens, a sector of the Colorado Party (PC, center-right), also a partner of the Government, is insufficient to achieve the necessary two-thirds.
“Why does the Constitution ask for two-thirds for cases like this? It is because the Constitution says ‘this is serious, it has to be forceful, strict and restrictive,'” said former president Julio María Sanguinetti (1985-1990 and 1995- 2000) and historical leader of the CP when defending his vote against lawlessness.
The senator said that his vote is made “with a sense of responsibility, conscience and willingness to serve the great cause” of the functioning of the institutions.
In his opinion, the jurisdiction “is a historical but necessarily current institute, a safeguard” and, therefore, must be interpreted “in a restrictive way”, alluding to the fact that a person like Manini Ríos, who obtained the support, cannot be left without protection 10% of the electorate in 2019.
The former commander-in-chief himself, a partner in the government coalition chaired by Luis Lacalle Pou, addressed the Upper House to defend his actions in the “Gavazzo case.”
“I did exactly what I had to do. I think the members of the court of honor did exactly what had to be done. There is no contradiction in what we have stated,” he said.
Gavazzo’s confession about the death of the Tupamaro guerrilla Roberto Gomensoro in 1973 came to light after the minutes of the Army Court of Honor were published in 2019, in which there were documents that included the former military’s statements.
However, the statements were omitted by the Court of Honor and were not brought to justice.
The senator indicated that he informed his superiors, Defense Ministers Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro (2011-2016) and Jorge Menéndez (2016-2019), both from the FA and today deceased, and that also the then President of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez ( 2005-2010 and 2015-2020), I was aware of.
In his opinion, the petition for violation was due to “the attitude of a Prosecutor’s Office that was biased, much more concerned with defending the position of the Presidency of the Republic and imputing the presidential candidate than in getting to the bottom of the facts. “.
Manini Ríos was dismissed as commander-in-chief of the Army in March 2019 and, shortly after, began a political career in the Cabildo Abierto, for which he ran for President in the elections last October.
During the campaign, the now senator affirmed that he was not going to take refuge in the parliamentary jurisdiction and that he was going to attend the Justice to defend himself, a position that, once he assumed the seat, changed.
While this was happening inside the Legislative Palace, in a nearby plaza, around a hundred people – many members of Mothers and Relatives of the Disappeared and others who came to support them – gathered to demand “truth and justice.”
Banners with photos and names of people who disappeared during the dictatorship and handkerchiefs hanging with messages such as “Memory Truth Justice” and “We are all family members” accompanied on this hot day those who asked Parliament to send “a clear signal that justice must act at all times “.
One of its most active representatives, Ignacio Errandonea, explained to Efe that “it is serious for democracy” to see that if these are “the models for future generations of the Armed Forces, the Armed Forces will be murderers, torturers, disappearing “.
Among those attending the endless debate, which began at 10:00 a.m. (1:00 p.m. GMT) and lasted for 14 hours, is also the senator and former president José Mujica (2010-2015), contrary to the lawlessness, who also voted in favor of party discipline.
Article 114 of the Uruguayan Constitution states that two thirds (21) of the 30 senators are needed to approve the lawlessness of a legislator.
The current composition of the Upper House (13 from the FA, 10 from the National Party -PN, center-right-, 4 from the PC and 3 from CA) does not allow this amount to be reached, since only leftist legislators and 2 from Ciudadanos (within the PC) were favorable.
(c) EFE Agency