Paraguay: ex-military chief dies

Paraguayan general Alejandro Fretes Davalos, who led the imprisonment and torture of hundreds of people under the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989), died on Dec. 29 following a lengthy illness. Fretes had graduated from Chile’s Military School, where he served under Augusto Pinochet before Pinochet seized power. Fretes also trained at the US Army School of the Americas in Panama in 1956 while still a major, taking the “Field Grade Officer” course.

According to Paraguayan lawyer and teacher Martin Almada, who discovered the “terror archives” documenting human rights violations in Paraguay, Fretes was one of the main officials responsible for Operation Condor, an effort among rightwing South American military regimes during the late 1970s and early 1980s to collaborate in arresting, torturing and killing opponents.

Fretes, while serving as chief of staff of the Paraguayan military, was among the officials who Almada says were present during his interrogation under torture on Nov. 26, 1974, in the office of Pastor Coronel, former chief of investigations of the Stroessner dictatorship, who died in September 2000. Almada said the military attaches of Argentina, Brasil, Bolivia, Chile and Uruguay were also present during his torture. (La Jornada, Mexico, Jan. 4; ABC Diario, Dec. 31)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 7

See our last post on Paraguay.