(Never Again) - Report of Conadep
Secret Air Force detention centres
Many depositions made to the Commission indicate the existence of secret air force detention centres west of Buenos Aires. It has not been possible to determine the exact location of the centres which operated in Palomar Base (1st Air Brigade) and Morón Base (7th Air Brigade) as inspections were not carried out inside the bases. Nevertheless, witnesses agree that they were run by air force personnel. Descriptions of the internal layout of the secret detention centres are also consistent, as was the way victims were treated, which was exactly the same as in the centres run by the other branches of the Forces.
Orlando Llano (file No. 1786), abducted on 26 April 1978, gives information about the camp:
They took me out of the car and dragged me up a ramp into a place where they made me undress and began to beat me. The torturers were wearing greyish-blue uniforms. After three weeks, during which I was continually tortured, they bundled me into the boot of a car, and put another person in the back seat. We were driven to Haedo Police Station, where I was held, blindfolded, for a further three days in a cell measuring 2 metres by 1 metre. I was given only water. A person who said he was a member of the 1st Army Corps told me that my case was in the hands of the National Executive, and that I would be dealt with by court martial. On 7 July I was transferred to Villa Devoto Prison. My case went before the Federal Court, which ordered my release ...
Arnoldi Bondar (file No. 756), worked as a civilian on the Palomar Base:
I often saw police lorries coming from Buenos Aires province full of young people of both sexes. They were then put on board an aeroplane, generally a navy plane. I don't know where they were taken. This operation was carried out beside the main runway and patrols would nearly always arrive beforehand to mount guard around the plane.
The relationship between the Air Force and the El Vesubio secret detention centre emerges from Luis Pereyra's testimony (file No. 4591):
I was arrested on 16 September 1976 and held for the first two days in 7th Morón Air Brigade, where I was tortured. I was then taken to Castelar Police Station, where I stayed for five days. From there they took me to a place I'm unable to locate, where I was kept for one afternoon, then to somewhere else where there were thirty to forty people in a large wooden room. I later discovered that this was El Vesubio ...
At the end of March that year I was driven to Devoto Prison and a week later to La Plata Prison. On 1 February 1979 I was released under the supervision of the 7th Morón Air Brigade, until I was granted my full freedom.
Alicia Carriquiriborde and Graciela Dellatorre (file No. 4535) provide more details about links in the circuit of repression as well as the rivalry between different task forces:
I was taken from my house in La Plata at dawn on 19 May 1976. They took me to a place where they stripped me and tortured me with an electric prod. Afterwards I found out it was the secret camp El Vesubio. One of the warders told me that the Air Force had brought us there and that I 'was one of theirs' but the Army and Navy were taking care of the others, depending on what organization they were linked to. In July I was taken from there, along with Graciela Dellatorre and Analia Magliaro, who were kidnapped together on the same day. They took me to the police station at 28 Calle Caseros, where I was held until they brought me to Devoto Prison. There I met Graciela Dellatorre again; a, little later we both discovered that Analia Magliaro had been killed in a 'shoot-out'.
For her part, Graciela Dellatorre reports:
In that place - El Vesubio - they had divided the prisoners in my section into three groups. Each group belonged to a particular Task Force. On one occasion a girl was interrogated by the gang in charge of another group. When the ones responsible for her found out, they were very annoyed and they even told the young girl that if it happened again 'she should not answer them'.