(Never Again) - Report of Conadep
Other methods of disposing of bodies: incineration and immersion
What could be simpler or more diabolical than the practice of burning bodies? Not even the bones would remain. Later, the grass would grow again over each place and no one could say that on this or that spot 'traps' or 'grills' had been made,
Juan Carlos Urquiza, a member of the Provincial Police, says (file No. 719):
There in San Justo - that is in the old Rustling Division which operated as a secret detention centre under the name of El Banco - they made what they called 'traps', which were rectangular pits 50 or 60 centimetres deep and 2 metres long. I saw these pits, the size of a person. There were some of these same 'traps' in the Gendarmería post, which is on the way to Ezeiza along the Ricchieri motorway. I know because one night I went there and we saw the fires. They put human bodies inside these pits, sprinkled them with petrol they brought from the tanks and burnt them to ashes.
In the account of his time at the Pozo de Arana, Pedro Augusto Goin (file No. 4826) confirms that this method was used to dispose of bodies.
I was there without a blindfold for about thirty days. I saw them unload worn tyres from vans. That caught my attention. And the petrol drums I saw in a corner of the yard. I couldn't ask anything there but later, on nearly the last day of my stay at Arana, I learnt from an indiscretion by one of the guards that they were used for burning bodies.
Also on the subject of Arana, the guard Luis Vera (file No. 1028) testifies:
... they also often brought in prisoners wounded or killed in earlier clashes who, like those who died under torture, were buried in a ditch at the back of the Brigade. As far as the burial of dead prisoners is concerned, they were placed in the ditch and burned while this burial or cremation was disguised by burning tyres; it covered up the smell and smoke peculiar to a cremation. I can affirm, as I saw it myself, that there were clear signs, evidence of charred bodies, in the ditch.
Alejandro Hugo López (file No. 2740) relates:
In May 1976 1 joined up for military service and was posted to the Navy Mechanics School. There they had jobs called 'operations', building 'grills' consisting of a steel trough with a tube to put in petrol, where they put bodies to be incinerated. I knew about this because I worked in the buying office ... at night they used to come and fetch a tank of petrol which everyone there knew was for the grill where people were incinerated, the one in the sports field. The helicopter that took bodies away arrived often too. Those were the two ways they made prisoners disappear.
Segundo Fernando Aguilera (file No. 5848) worked as a member of the Buenos Aires Provincial Police and in this capacity on 1 August 1978 he was on duty in the Intelligence Gathering Centre of the 3rd La Tablada Regiment, which was responsible for activities at the El Vesubio detention centre. His statement went as follows:
I saw the electric prod being applied to prisoners, how they were beaten with an iron bar across the knees, given submarino treatment, had polythene bags put on their heads and closed at the neck to suffocate them. I can testify that a prisoner died, and 1 was horrified to see the body deposited in a 200-litre tank to destroy all evidence. They threw in rubber from tyres or inner tubes and kerosene, and I saw this go on for three days until they told me the body had been totally incinerated.
Antonio Cruz (file No. 4636) was a member of the Gendarmería and worked as a guard in centres under the command of the armed forces in Tucumán province. He relates the following about his time at the secret detention centre at the Miguel de Azcuénaga Arsenal No. 5:
That night a civilian car arrived and they took three prisoners out. From what I managed to overhear, two of them were father and son. The prisoners were taken to the edge of the pit and told not to shout out or that would be the end of them. Immediately they came up behind them, took out their revolvers and began firing at point blank range. The three prisoners fell into the pit; two died at once but the older man was still alive. When they were throwing firewood on top I told them to finish him off as an act of charity since they were going to burn him alive, but they carried on with their task without paying any attention. They proceeded in the way I have already described and a little while later we went to check the blaze.