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Part I
The Repression

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


Secret detention centres in Mendoza province

Mendoza Prison

Mendoza Prison, which was used to give official recognition to some disappeared prisoners, often functioned as a secret detention centre, especially when inspector Naman García took charge.

I was transferred to the provincial prison, where a doctor gave me a superficial examination. Despite my pleas, all my wounds and my generally rundown condition, he made a false report and gave me aspirins to 'get over the rough patch, forget what had happened, and look to the future'. Those months I spent in the prison were hard, lonely ones, with military discipline, regular threats of shooting, blindfold interrogation sessions, and often physical torture. That was Naman García's regime. (Susana 0., file No. 6891.)

On 24 March 1976 First Lieutenant Ledesma arrived at the prison with a group of soldiers. They interrogated us several times, but only through the bars. Ledesma told the soldiers that they must kill us all 'because they are subversives and antipatriots'. Santiago Illa was with me. In August, when our families were allowed to visit us for the first time, we discovered that Illa had disappeared. ..: On 24 June 1976 José Naman García became director of the prison and we were immediately given a beating which included even the ordinary prisoners. This consisted in taking us out into the yard in groups of twenty, where we were made to strip and they tried to make us shout 'Long live the military government.' This was all accompanied by beatings with sticks, punches and kicks, even death threats. The people beating us were members of the Army and the Prison Service. (Pedro Victor Coría, file No. 6917.)

When Naman García took over the prison it became an interrogation centre. We were tortured with electric prods and beatings. We were also taken frequently to the Communications Company and the service headquarters. From October 1976 onwards prisoners were taken away to the Los Andes camp in groups of three. (Guillermo Martínez, file No. 6892.)

On the occasion of a tour of the Mendoza provinces by President Videla in October 1976, they took three prisoners out of our block. They were isolated from the rest. That afternoon the second lieutenant, chief of the guard, gathered us all in the yard and told us that if anything happened to President Videla during his trip there would be reprisals against the prisoners. He explained that this was by express order of the Commander of the 3rd Army Corps, General Luciano Benjamin Menéndez. The officer was so nervous and terrified at having to pass on this order that he didn't even assume responsibility for what he was saying, ending with the words: 'It's those up there in command who are ordering me to say this.' (Manuel Armando Alfonso, file No. 7133.).




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