(Never Again) - Report of Conadep
Secret detention centres in Córdoba province
Prison Unit No. 1
Transfers of prisoners between centres included officially recognized detainees in the Buen Pastor Prison, the prison for legally convicted prisoners, and Prison Unit No. 1, who were sometimes taken away to secret detention centres. Files on this procedure have been found, recording destinations and departure points.
Prison Unit No. 1 played a particularly important part in Córdoba's secret repressive system, as it was virtually occupied by army troops from 2 April 1976 to November of that year.
The testimonies gathered show how the prisoners were kept in a state of total uncertainty about their fate:
I was kept in a cell with Gustavo De Breuil and Jorge Oscar García. As is well-known, they were both killed by the military, who claimed in their report to the press that it had happened in an escape attempt'. Jorge De Brueil witnessed the murder, as they forced him to attend the execution of the group containing his brother, telling him to describe it to us afterwards as the same was going to happen to us all. In the same way, prisoner Bauduco was executed in front of all of us on 5 July 1976. An army NCO beat him on the head and when he could not get up he threatened to kill him. He took out a pistol, cocked it and fired at his head. On 14 July that year I saw out of my cell window prisoner René Moukarzel staked out on the ground in the yard. They threw cold water over him and showered him with blows. He died in the early hours of the morning. Lieutenant Alsina took an active part in all this. As a result of the regime in the prison the deaths of twenty-eight political prisoners in varying circumstances were recorded up to December 1976. (José María Niztschman, file No. 7597.)
Sometimes prisoners were kept hostage:
In June 1977 I was transferred as a hostage from Unit No. 9 in La Plata to Córdoba, along with twenty-three others. They took us to La Perla, where an officer gave us a personal message from General Menéndez. He told us that 'The Hyena', as Menéndez liked to be called, had decided that if there were any terrorist attack during President Videla's forthcoming trip to the North, we would be the ones to pay for the crimes of others. The list was a curious one: if a soldier, worker or member of the public were to die, four of us would be killed; if on the other hand the victim were an NCO, the payment would increase, and so on up the scale until it reached Videla himself. In that case we would all be shot without hesitation. (Jorge Bonardel, file No. 5782.)
At the end of February 1978, fifteen of the hostages who had earlier been at La Perla were brought in. They brought them from Rawson prison, telling them that if anything happened during the World Cup they would be killed. In April that year, when the International Red Cross was allowed access to the 3rd Corps for the first time to visit political prisoners, four things happened.
Firstly, the fifteen chosen hostages and other prisoners who were not at the disposition of the National Executive were hidden in another block.
Secondly, some 'collaborators' on parole from La Peria were taken to be interviewed by the international organization, a farcical operation.
Thirdly, other disappeared prisoners, such as Porta and Carlos Massera who told me the story afterwards, were taken away from the camp so that the visitors would not see them.
Lastly, thirteen of the legal prisoners in Prison Unit No. 1, including myself, were also taken to La Ribera for a few hours, where Captain Barreiro threatened to kill us all if we were to say anything during the Red Cross visit to the camp. (Guillermo Puerta, file No. 4834.).