- Al Gore’s climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Army’s 3-D printed bombs will create ‘a whole new universe’ of deadly capabilities
- Hamas calls on Hezbollah to join in fight against Israel
- Senators to FIFA, others: Don’t reward Putin with the World Cup in 2018
- U.S. condemns Israeli shelling of shelter in Gaza
- Obamacare shoots premiums up by 88 percent in California
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’
- U.S. chemical sites vulnerable despite millions spent on security: Congress
- Driverless cars to hit the British streets by 2015
Uruguay’s Congress upholds military amnesty
Question of the Day
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — A proposal to overturn an amnesty for officials from Uruguay’s former dictatorship fell one vote short in the country’s Congress on Friday after a bitter debate that reopened divisions from the 1973-1985 military government.
The ruling center-left Broad Front party had pushed to overturn the amnesty for soldiers, but one of its congressmen abstained, leaving it one vote short of a majority in the 99-seat legislature.
Hundreds of leftist activists ringed the Congress building to demand an end to the amnesty which had protected soldiers from prosecution for kidnappings, killings and other abuses committed by the dictatorship.
Veterans groups, meanwhile, were rankled by the fact that the measure would have left intact a similar amnesty for Marxist guerrillas who fought both the dictatorship and the elected civilian governments that preceded it.
The amnesties were meant to help Uruguayans reconcile after a long period of conflict, and before the vote, Mujica, himself a former rebel, raised questions about how the military might respond. He warned that scrapping the amnesty would create “political dangers that may be impossible to overcome.”
The Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that the amnesty was unconstitutional and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled this year that Uruguay must remove roadblocks to prosecuting crimes against humanity.
Human rights groups argue the official amnesty allows government crimes to go unpunished, and Broad Front members say that the government’s “dirty war” continued long after the Tupamaro guerrillas had been defeated.
The issue has divided this small country of 3.5 million people almost down the middle.
Uruguay’s Senate approved the measure to annul the amnesty by a single vote in April. Two popular plebiscites to overturn the amnesty failed to win majorities, but by thin margins. Forty-six percent voted to overturn the amnesty in 1989 and and 48 percent voted for the measure in 2009.
A peace commission found in 2003 that the dictatorship killed 175 leftist political activists, 26 of them in clandestine torture centers.
But the Tupamaros also committed killings, kidnappings, robberies and other attacks after taking up arms in 1963 against democratically elected governments. They were defeated a decade later.
Leftist activists on Friday commemorated those who died under the dictatorship. The day marks the anniversary of the 1976 murder of two Uruguayan congressmen who were killed while in exile in Argentina after a military government seized power there and cooperated with the soldiers running Uruguay in attacking leftists.
TWT Video Picks
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- Senate overcomes first filibuster of Obama's border-spending bill
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world