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Part I
The Repression

Nunca Más (Never Again) - Report of Conadep  - 1984



Conscripts were for the most part kept on the fringes of SDC activity. The centres at Formosa and El Palomar Air Base were exceptions, since some of them were made to participate in the camp’s operation. Nor did the whole of the military or security personnel take part. The order was to keep the SDCs isolated, as a secret structure. Personnel assigned to guard such centres comprised members of the Gendarmeía, of the Federal Penitentiary system, or of the police, always under the command of armed forces officers. This guard personnel was not generally the same as those who tortured in the systematic interrogation sessions designed to obtain information. Testimonies have been gathered from which it is clear that some of the soldiers assigned to guarding the camps demonstrated signs of humanity, showing concern for the appalling condition of the prisoners:

I was abducted and held in the Pozo de Quilmes from 12 November 1977. On one occasion, when they couldn’t bring our daily rations as usual from a nearby army unit, the corporal on guard, nicknamed ’Chupete’, bought food with his own money and cooked it for us himself. In addition, the corporal on duty, Juan Carlos, who seemed to belong to the Army, would give us cigarettes when conditions of imprisonment improved…(Fernando Schell, file No. 2825.)

However, this is not the case with the majority of personnel attached to the SDCs, who generally contributed to the physical and mental breakdown of the prisoners, punishing them unnecessarily and capriciously justifying it.



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