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The Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU): Crisis, armed strunggle and dictatorship, 1967-1985 (Vários, 2009.)

The Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU): Crisis, armed strunggle and dictatorship, 1967-1985 (Vários, 2009.)

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Fede'racion .A.narquista. Uru,guaya (PA'U): Cr1e i:e, Armed St'I-Ut~,gle and D'.ic,tatorahip" t 7-1985

'T'ex,ts by Car]~oB' ~~'echo9:C:li-Jaim.e P'rlet,o, " ." Buglo Coree and. otners









trana1lated and edIted
bly ,Paul SharkfJ'Y'


ista Uru,uuaya (fAU):: "-'ris is, Armed Struggle and D:i:ctatorship,1 '96,7~1985 'I exts by Juan Carlos Meehoso, Jaime Prieto, Hugo Cores and others Ira 11:: ItlJl ed and ed j ted by Paul S harkey .
F ~niol Pub IE shed 2009. «~Kate Sharpley Library 2009" Copyright prevents reprcduction for profit 1SBN '9'(,81:87.360569:~ Anarchist sources #ru ] . KameSharpley Library

.~he Federacion Anar

fU'gu,,"ty ....


[1M' I lurrieane, London, we m 3XX~ UK N PM~~,820, 2425 Channing Way, Berkeley CA 94704~ USA www.lkalesharpl,eyti:i:)rary.:I1eil Visit our website for more anarchlst history and information on how you 'can helpihe
K nh: S,lmrpile.y ~ ibrary. 0 ~",09


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Juan C,.,. 1935F' de zac i cn Ana.rqui s t a Oz uquaya

British Library Cataloguing

in Publication
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ciOn Anaxquista Druguaya 2. Anarchism - Uruguay - :)Ot h century 3. Uruguay'" Politics and
n t - 1 90 4 - 19 7 3 lL. Pr i.e t o , Jaime -


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.. Cores,


The republic of Uruguay - orruglnal]y referred to as the Banda Oriental (Eastern Strip) on the eastern bank ,ofthe River Plate, with A;rgen~ina, onthe western bank - had ~tsfirs'~.ever labour congress bl 18'9 6. But 1900~here we're :2 g unions active in Montevideo and another ] 1 lntbe provinces. Immigradon from Europe after 18:80 brought .8 range of ideas about social cna.nge and the anarchist FORU (Uruguayan Regional Workers' Federn,~.ion)was launched in 1905., Under President Hallie' y O'rdloiiez~ a system of social security and labour legislation was. introduced. In 191:5 Llruguay feglslated the ,s-hour dayi nto existence. In the 1'940 there was a huge upsurge in. unionisatlon, chiefly amongthe textile workers, ral lwaymen, dockers, construction workers and meat-paekers, TIle period 1940~ ~955 was referred to ln Uruguayan history as the f.'faued calf" years: between ] 948 and J 954 the cost of ~ruv~ rose by :;g~0 but the wages of workers across 3l trade unions grew rig by ll 00/0. Uruguay has a relatively Hberal ruling class and the ,country was often referred ~oasthe 'Switzerland of'Latin America', By the 19505 the economic s~tuatWO'I:'l bad taken a turn for nle worse. The agricultural sector began to stagna~e~add~l1gto pressure on the' welfare statefunded bythe earnings of UruglJay"s wo 0] and meat exports. Between 1955 and ~'95'9'~he cost of l iving doubled and wages could not keep pace".This led to a :fllLfiry of strlkes and 1'9,64saw the formation of the CNT (National Workers' Co rIvend on), By 1965 inflation was running a~ lOOo/®I by 1967 at l40% .. Presilden~ Pacheco Areco proposed in m 967 to impose a wage freeze and devalued '~~"H: w'~','mcy"W()rkel's" ~ivillg standards began 'tn, :faU sharply, Troops broke c strikes by meat-packers, electriciansand bank employees, Emergency taws were introduced. oAjcJa~~y~ocounter the activities of the Tupemaro guerrillas (Ml.N) but ac~.u:ai,'iy used to stifle shop floor unrest The ]971 elections produced a. fraudulent victory for


Bordaberry whomaintained

Pacheco's policies, The fight againstthe Tupamaros brought

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~he:military a growing role in politics. ln june 1973 Borda berry and the military agreed to outlaw poliitilca~lpaJ,1iel:h Shll~ down eongress, ban 1P1I:b~icmeetings and suspend constitutional rights. The eNT called a general strike, on~y 'to be banned itself. Employers capital:ised upon themuscular repression by the; :army to break 'tile power of the unions. Between 19'7Iand 197,6 there was, a .35'%, :fa~ n:la' wages and 'by :1979 inflation was running at ~in 80% with wages limping behind at 4.5%". )'nthefi,ght against the collapse of the Uruguayan economy ,,~he austerity r-egime, the ·~sleeur~~y tate' ~egWs]ation and the dep~oyme~n ofthe military to use the br,e.alldng oftl1:e s Tupamaros asa pretext for breaking the working class, the FAU and ID'~S offshoots. '~h,e ROE and fhe OPR~13played.a dispreportionately sign~ficant role..

1\ II III - hi'.lu ~ n] u u p~ 1~11lI illl II1IHV'CUU:IJlI. I\nurd~~s~s take part ~f1 day-to-day snruii~es .( ~Jg~~ i n~t p WCf Iy. ~ ',I'i,'1:I'c in III n L U llY k i 11.d,\\1a r etc) a,nd a Iso promote the idea of compre'·m hensive social chungti. U~!!icdon bitter experience, they warn that new ~revoh.ion:ary~ bosses are no improvement: 'ends,' and 'means' (whal you want and how youget it) are

closely connected,


The FA U was set up j,n i956 by workers, stlldents and trade lJI1ionists,.lt~s, a pla;tfQnD~S~ organisation (it reaUy is, eventhough ~tdoes not seem to make much ofa songand dance about it) whose operational rules; acnvities, core concerns and methods ofsn'Ui~e!and tile demands that mustthen be collectively pursued are hud down at congresses. h enjoys a measure of social purchase in certain working class districts in tbe capita~and in certain trade unions. U claims a good hUW1:dlJ1~d members and can mobilise several hundred people at ~ts,public r,aJly in the ~eadfilJi;)to :Mary Day.

n is a class-based eeganisatlon which struck me as being marked by a degree of
ec onoruici sm. Ideological and counter-cultural issues, seem to be llttle dealt w~lht
at any



However, ir is notable that its practice ,at nelghbourbood level (sometimes re~ylrng on the existence of libertarian ateneos [social ,and educational dubs]) does not rlU~,e out concerns relating to culture and popular education, neighbourhood soHdarIty and the maintenance of social cennectlons. Us core fheoretical yardsticks ar-e Bmiamjn and especially Malatesta. The Spanish PAl (up to and wncludi~g, i.~saction groups) are an im'P0r~arn historical reference. That said" the FAU struck me as being eharaeterised primarily by a certain pragmatism and a degree ofempiricism that leads i~to be: eonstandy on the look-out for the best ways ofgaining a foothold ,amOt1~ the masses ofthepopulamkJw in [he special IIH!¥llionai context ofUruguay, They are rlght inthinking that lh.€; 'so~udons'tto [heir problems cannot jus~ beimported from abroadandthen ~graJft:ed~ to Uruguayan on
conditions ..

lear~y19'60s) when the majority of Latin American leftist organisatlons were caU:ing for power to betaken by means of elections. the Cuban revoluaion thrown up by an armed popular 1Jpds~ng opened up' fresh po]iJtm,ca] prospects and posslblllties for revolutionary groups. It pu~direct, self-organised and! violent: mass action backon the agenda. The FAU, Uke a number of other organisations, fen headlong in~o the political cracks opened up by ~he Cuban revoh.wtlon ;aJndbacked ~t for years, even after ithad become plain that that revolusion was turning into a. bureaucratic dictatorship and even after Cuban anarcbiss had been rounded up andexecuted. Moreover, it evemua I.~ytriggered a spl it in Its ranks, The FAU eventually distanced itself from that betrayed revolution and withdrew irs support from ~tt,. though does not appear to mean thai lt Is prepared to risk blunt criticism or the current Cuban regime, The guevarist and Cuban Jnyth is areally strong. factor in Latin America and once again tlhe F}\,U do es not seem to want to run the risk of findl ng itself "cut off from, the masses' by being too open in. its cri tiel sms of Cuba. If'I have dwelt upon these 'pecu!ia,rid,es~ of the ,F'AU- it isin part because they are 31so to be found to a greater or lesser extent runother Uruguayan anarchists. The' FAU does not operate an open-door policy, Like a number of other platformist

organisations, one must first graduate throug,h 'stages' of pol itka.1 education (readings and disc:ussions about organisation, lts operating style, irs ahns .. actlvities andmethodology)
before acceptance, There WS then ~ one year delay before one can become a fun member with all the assceiated en it~{mu:nts, Besides th~ refercncestn ;3J high~y organised anarchism, a. plainly militant understandin or nrganl!liB,'l'itm and 'the need for a degree of political homogeneity within it, theexperience or repression (and of direct action by its clandestine organisation, the OPR-,33) in the 1960s and t 9705 have certainty had somethingto do with the emphasis on allthesegraduated entry conditions, Once inside the organisation;, the member hasto op~ for his preferred theatre of 'activIty' (fJeighbolUm'l\ooo" firm, union, university). TIle FAU ls active w~thin the PIT ..CNT .. This Uruguayan labour federstion (90o/~ of union members in the country b~~.dong, it) is a re:formistfedelrat~Qln wherein the main to h,[lue:nc1e is the Communist Party, but ~f11 certain unions there are also. more radical elements (egged on by FAU activists, often in concert with politically non-aligned leftist :mil~.i't,antsmkin,g a self"'man:agerbd~ rank-and ..file approach) Thws opposlrion presence [which seemsto be quite pugnacious) within the bmg, national refonnlst federation surprised me but it leoks as if the ,m,ljority of workers are very aUa.che~ to ihere be,ing,a. lJmifjt~ng federation that appears to be almost unique, The FAlJ~ preoccupied as ever by its foothold) in the populace'~thus has i~seems, to choose whether to risk getting cut off from the trade Utlruon organisation where "themasses' are.U looks as if the' Pmint~ng Trades unicn Is under their influence and FAU activists are em. its ~ eadership,

it is noNc,eab~e~hat the FAD displays a. rabid ,and.. imperialism (especially obvious with regard taUS foreign policy) .a~d a s'~rong sense of
Again poH'~icany speaking,

w~~.h the whole apecrrum (here ~ wou~d stress this poh1!t) of revo~uti.onary movements ill Latin America (by the' way, note that they do, a 101 of work in concert with soltdarlty

anarchists frorn~l1e' Gaucha Anarchist federation (fAG) and seem to have regular dealings with the AUCA in Argentina). Wha~ .~mean is that movements likethe
CUi1U1~~Ulisl FAR, in Colombia or the Peruvian guevarists of the J\lJRTA. say, seem to

'Ihe lor'l IIhlIi'l ~hl!~c wre IJIIIMn:d ' 1~IUV'l':Ull'lll~ (twdl ~lIc rAt j hu"i ,I'hr~'n rd..,(, In ,III 'l'UlIIIJ1Ii~' I hs mi\lu lill1 the ~'Uli,~ l and still ackm~'\,'vl'd:l"'~ Ih nL'cl's",!III'dy 'yjnlcl'I'1 rh U!l'~t",I' 01 dilly l't'Vtl!'ulinmuH')" p~·(ICC~S). rcspt:'c'~,fo:r fisky fhl'lms uf ~nltlnui'Um.ml uml [01 "iUL:1 ilic~s uwdl! 'Ihr the cause' (ideas very deep:l,) rooted ill La~ilu AIUI;:,I',iltUn ,1,ll.:vnhil'l,ion~try uU'Lm,::)seem 1[0 underpin d1~S relative sym:pilI,thy

inspire a degree () syn'pa~hy from. the FA U. ~h"," ,~~mikinl~ilCl'ialw~m and lhc' 'iHk'II'uawifl'nu~isnl1lmd

which is very probably buund LIP' with lack of critical infofn1la~jOml about such aut hod tar wan movements. Take another example: Cuba. The FA U was one: of the first Uruguayan organisations to set lip committees i.:il soti:darily with the Cuban revolution. At a. time (late 1950sand 2


~nthe popular and working class areas (some, H~eEI Cerro were real anarchist strong..
holds for' several decades and thishas I:,ell its mark), the FAU partl cipates, in or has plain
and simply set up several community radio projects, sort of non..comrnerclal free: radio stations, focusing on ~oca[ social issues; 'these may not be legal but they are pretty much tolerated by 'tlheauth.orities (which did try, in vain, to shut them down), The FA U relies em these radio stations among other ~hings,~ gain a "Foothold ~n these Ileighbourhoods 'where to it can make contact with the huge numbers unemployed or under-employed, Us activists

-'An8,rcb'i-s,t.s,bad, more of a st(J,ma,cb for the :figbt;'! Jnt,ervlew With Juan Clr],os Mec'h.oso llOOI]1 JUNl Carlos Mechoso does not need much coaxlug '~Otum, to his subject - the E] Cerro district [Montevideo] - a subject that loosens his tongue and stirs him more than any other ..

Before the start of 'the interviev ; when the p~1Qttogra.phs were being taken he mentioned
that E~Cerro had a. population of some 8,0.,000and greater E~Cerro] 50,000. That, at best, young;stersc:ou~d only find casual jobs. That those who managed to :fin~ ,,:or.k for five, six or eightmo:nths were few in number and scarcely anybody has a steady job, _ says and be then he smiles because he is asked about the glory days in the past when there was no unemployment and when each family had somebody working in the refrigeration plants Swift, Nadona1 or Artigas ..,. .. "Somebody bringing home' a wage and! two kilos of beef a. day' - he says enjoYln~ our surprise. "there ~e~ families with three or four workers working in refrlgeratlon ,n~d bringing home so much beef that h was even given away lor free. Barbecues were held m the district and in the clubs. in those; days it was aJ5'0' the case that the workers built their own Un'i,ehouses and this required. masses of equipment, carpentry and glazing materials and there was a store on every block and the pawn shop, was part of the local culture, A dim view was taken of ,anybody who did nom cough up. ome the lay-offs, the' shops were filled wlth blue uniforms and clothing .. • · Supplied by th.fJjir;m,? _ "Yes, two uniforms a year and a pair of'boots. That was one of many gains made." And do the ,oungsters in El Cerro these days know about this?' · . ure, Y ou often hear them talking about such gains which were made in, the 1930s as if they happened yesterday, They ,ave engraved in the collective memor in BlCerro and

take part ln swap-shop and muwa~ aid networks! sponsor ateneos or social c~ubs with canteen facilities, clothing banks for the poor and v bicl host educational or cultural support, activities, Involved in the everyday lives of the locals the members of the FAU arc' not out to make recruits hand over 'fist but aim rather to gain a slow discrete foothold, Their headquarters (which houses the Iittle printing co-operative they haV' 6 set up and wi ere they print up reviews handbills, stickers and posters) wsnot very big but seems to suit their requirements. Two small rooms are being rehabilitated for use as a small Ilbrary and for some archival material (the apparently huge library coUection and massive'

archives the FAU once owned were destroyed by the dictatorship) _. donations of books and pamphlets in Spanish are welcomed,

From time~o

time the FAU pub~ishes B review ,enHUed Lucha Libertaria, well

presented in A4 format. Occasionafly there is a more theoretical review produced caned Rojo y Negro .. Recently they published (in Spanish or course) a weighty history book (w.~th

a wealth of detail about. FAU struggles from the mid ..1960s to the start of the dictatorship
'in ~911; its rltle ls Anarchis: Direct ACI,io.H,: a History of the FA U (aiboui 500 pages in ~engtlh,Ediciones Reeortes, 2002). It was written by Juan Carlos Meehoso, one of the fA U' S veteran militants who was abo a member of its armed wing,

pe-ople still refer to incidents and things and ways; of fire that are now gone,
You an'ived in E:l Cerro wUh yourfami.lYl then? "We came from Flores in the interior of the country [he was born in 19'35] and we came to Montevideo, like roR'my another family In the .~ 940sand settled into 81 modest home in La Tej:81. And any of us that could w\OrkwBn~. out to work . .I mys,eU went 'to school and worked. 'Then they offered me double p.sy 'to put in more hours. So you had 10' quit school? . "Yes, in :my fourth year. In those days in those barrios 'most lads used to work and, get this, it 'Was a rare shop that didn't display a. card saying 'Boy needed he-re" (Mechooo

From a profile of anarchism in Urqguay by the Syndicat lntercorporatif anarchosyndlcallste de Caen, France (SIA Caen, BP'2,;,1', 14013.)Caen Cedex),

erupts into, unc-ontainable laughter) .. if only! It must have been paradise'. "Yes U.was. Nearly all of us lads from the barrio worked. As did the grown ..ups, and youngsters, virtually all of them. It was hard to <carryon with one's, studies."
You worked in a warehouse which, J think; was facing "he glass factory where yow'

jathe'r worked.

"Yes, There wer-e frequent disputes ,at tha~ factory because ~t bad a very pu,goadous trade union \I ith ananarchist trade: union leadership. Bigote' was the nickname given to one of t!he leaders, TI,1e vaSil H ajority of my contemporaries from La Cachimba del Pi,ojo near wherewe lived became anarchist syrnpaihisers," You say Ihe union members were very mtluon: HoW'did that show itseij? ,.,; can remember the' factory cordoned off by the police because the workers had taken il over and were holding tbe bossies inside as nosrages. 1 was very aware of this because my father and brother were inside.' A rid wh,at .age were you althe time?

"Eleven or twelve."
. 4 nd when did you begin 10 jUrI with onarchism?

.•A ll my brothers became anarchists before me. ~.followed soon after, aged ].4." And who: did anarchism mean 10 you at thatpoim, what was us attl'a~t,ionfor you? "1 saw i'~ the workers defending themselves. I heardthe matter being talked about all as day at home In addition, though, there was ,13 fective, wen-or-ganised propaganda, Lots 0' anarchist workers were employed in the refrigeration forms and a group was UPI and running In the barrio. My 16 year old brother was active in it and ~ became active in ~ts't the age of 14·.' Xo;umean your brother who was murdered? I[ Alberto Mechoso] "No, the one' they killed was younger than me, There 'were four of us one of whom was a rUllaway from a home and he lived with us." Not' '{11ullbrother, then? ··No~ a brother from the str-eets. When he ran away he ended up in our house and stayed and became ano~her brother. He became an anarchist too, j USl as, we did" ln fae:t he rna' well have Jed the way for he was a couple of years alderman the eldest of us.' , What did rhal propaganda you mentioned consist oft "Conversation. Lots of conversations ex plaining ideas and what socialism was. There were two or three places we used '10 go for H. chat And what was the situation between socialists and communists in HI Cerro bac'k

"Of course" Even 'IDhoughthe communists, never gave up on their class approach, there was a live-and-let ..live arrangement in place at tbat point in rime..Then again there was sharpconeoversy from, the anarchists in that they had severed any connections with the Russian revolution. But they had backed the revolution in trade union terms. "To start with. But by that point .any hope that the revolution might aswas claimed. bring about a new 'c·vmsat~on, had long since evaporated." More than 25 years had gone by. "Yes, There was increasing fnction within the unions as the first communis; groups spread across the country when they a.ffUiated to the Third. lrnernational and when the COT was set up .. What was Jeft of the anarchists \i ere very critical," urhat 'Wer,e the main points of differt~nct~? Did they perhaps: have something to do with rejection or Q'cceplanC€ of the Soviet Union? ~n 3! sense, yes, because the main controversy surrounded the issue "sociliaJism plus freedom or authoritarian socialism'. And that argument had been raging from the very be,gh1:n[.flg$' when the union was being organised. These days, union membership is taken for granted. But in those days i't W,a5 a badge of the Ilbertarian school of thought A way of organlsing along fedend lines" "~

And wha: did the communi 'Is w tnt? 'A centralist fI rm o organis.ing, with m re permanent leaders

little involvement by

the people,"
ckoned .fhal was the only efficient way of prosecuting the sociai struggle. Goes to 1;/1ow how much distrust there can be of everybody getting involved, Bordering on what is often referred to these days as 'anarchy'. An.archy meaning 'disorder '. 'chaos' and 'corfusian'. Or as ~'say down here on the River Plese 'looseness'. "Anarchism stated, and historically has argued, thal we hav1e 'to rely upon the populace getHng ~nvolvedand to m,a'ke' that invo]vement greater and mo.:reimeuse as, time goes _

71'1' "


· There \ ere hardly any socialists. There were anarchists md, later, C( mmllni~ht lh P wa s'lowly gr wing . nd had w irker gfU,I1., in f'l I'~II',' s, ,,111,"in I u '~cja." ~'~!hu!do you rememb 'f 11' ,Iu If a lc unloil ar~ltMllJul,~' h ~/uv",'n auurc:hi~NS ,md 'ot:rmumi.st'.liba ·k then? If'hat l-K"'!:: th« most ti 'klish issues? "1 reckon the anar~ists had more of a st,oma.ch 01" a fight over demands, and claims and confrol1'tation. with II e c ass nemy~ Realryr-lVEbre 50 111'Q'1 COJ17/fnJni~'ts? t.he . Yes, At that point yes. The communisls were more moderate.' Maybe the war'14J'aS a Jacuw.

grow 'through participation. That' s what we believe. The greater the participation, the greater the growth and the learning process." Which is one lo/t.he IfIqiar rgumen« t'h. t'fentin'ism puts for participauon. 'Precisely. In the Narional Library ~was reading a newspaper, E1 Obrero, dating from )8:84 which contains a spectacular feminist outlook as up to' date as if it were yesterda . . The earliest feminist arguments in this country emanated from ansrcbist quarters.'
They wouldn't agree that women should walt for the revolution in order to be liberated and UJke up .the POSitiOM' they an: born to occupy . .I remember it' being said mat the feminist struggle per se is meaningless. WJwJ did that newspaper from t'/1:e 19th century

on. People


have to s,qy? 'lt said that besides the class struggle and moving beyond capitallsm, women had a two-pronged war to fl,ght since they had to break free ofthe patriarchy 'they had to endure 7

at home, And that the latter 'was a struggle ~o be carried forward since performance ill
those professing left-wing ideas very often fa,lls short of their ideas, And another- issue raised was nature conservation. Odd lhat these topics should have been raised over a hundredyears ,ago. "Yes. Whhin. the group there was [(1 greater concern withthe human being, Pd say thaiL

anarchy who wrote say a bookon prisons adopting viewpoints akin. to fouca.u~t s SurveUlance and Punishment'

But Kropotkin lived ,a cennay ago.

"True, he was. a Russian prince. When the anarchists paned company from the First [nternationa.1 in 1872:1he carried on, being active within what came afterwards. '
1 got off,the bus recently and walked as far .cIS your house looking a.t the run-down little houses and the bay yonder" lid like you to draw us a picture ofwha: Ei' Cerro was

the revolution encompassed


much. broader front. You were asking, me whar the poin ' at

issue were. Theymostly had ~:odo wmit forms of r,e~,ationshmp and organ, 1sat ion, 'indudi:n modes of relationship between militants, Insofar as there were no leaders, everything was up for discussion by everybody, The views [of those most respected carried some clout but this did not of'course mean that their views were not well queried," / imagine that In discussions 0/ concrete problems differences derived ,from in differing stances within anarchists would have carded some wetghl,. .'That's a fact Among the anarchists there were nuances corresponding to dIfFe'rWng strategic approaches. I mean the poHticaUy organised ones." }~ourseltfor instance, wer,e you.a believer in political organisation as ,Q priority? "Yes, I was a ill favour of a. specifically [anarchist organisation, a given scheme political work different from that of the anarcho-syndicalists who held that trade umon



work was enoughtc brlng about emancipation of the workers and subsequently reorganis
social life. Insidethese currents we ran into Spaniards who had come over afterthe ic,iv:U war ,and stated here, whereas others moved on to Argentina, From the word go these people used to visit E~ Cerro and La T[eja,ro give us talks.' . You left' school after four years of primtJry schooling. but you have an education 1m' ~nanJlan academic might envy. A while ago you were lalking about Foucault, who i-s na easy read. l was c,hanging tapes and 'yOU were saying something: What was it you W,er,e y,aying abo.ut forms of repression?

like' once upon .a time. Prosperous, lively. mUilanl. TeU us a lit'lle ofwhot El Cerro was like when YoOu were J 5, '. 'We lived in EJ Cerro and sought our entertainment in E~ Cerro. People didn t go into the' [cIty proper very often. There was at joke in those days" Whenever anybody bought a new suit they would be asked: 'Off to the centre then?' On Sundays and holidays we' would stroll down Grecia Street [as if in the countryside. There were some cinemas, dance halls, at theatre (the Selecto) near the bend in Grecia Street. And lots of calfs lire. where one could sit an night over two. or three cups of coffee. Left-wing cafes where left-wingers would stop off.'; The enemy wasn't .the Blancos nor the Colorados. Because the righ.l as such was non.. xistent. [Blancos and Colorados (whiles and Red) thetwo party system. in Uruguay] e "There were no :ri.:ghtwing parties, althou,gh there were r~ght-w~ng individuals inside ..

the parties


Ech goyen, for instance, was a right-winger. " [Echegoyen: Martin Recaredo
too. And Pacheco later, [Nardone:
Benito Nardone

Echegoyen, Blane :pa_f~leader] Nardantt ~tas [Cl righi-winger

Juan Carlos ,~~ echoso laughs.
'I don't know", Some nonsense, No." no. It was no nonsense.

'I ssidthat there are forms of'repression in matters economic, po~iticaland social gorulllg
dght back 10 the ideological roots and as they permeate the ody o l s [ j,lI!ly '.t ev ..ry level ,they anow the' sy tem to avoid jesortine l dir t r 'pre si n. ~t bing the citizen themselves l;"':J o upJ-old and 11"[1,;1'1 educe ItH~ild~I,Q'lloW'thaI serves th~ system." Interesting. r'h(!' questton if how ,lid ,Oll g[(;.1 }II he' e you ,ell" ' tlOw'?

an rchists, II' g l here th'~ough reading and conversations. Near here we had the Ateneo . erre where lectures, andtalks and debates would tale place,"
,a lot OJ


Wha: sort of r'(ladin&? ~'A I!1 son's. For instance, ~he comrades 'Used to urge us to read history from Greece

radio broadcaster elected president in 1'95~khe proved a sore' disappolntment to hisconservative voters, Pacheco: Jorge Pacheco Areco, president and Colorado Party Ieader.] "Sure, To get back to your question: we used to meet up in 'those cafes where we-talked about everything polities included, One of thecafes was the Mirambell and the other one down. yonder "vas the Viacaba," Tell me about demonsu anhliS when there was {J' dispuie on'. "The demonstrations by th Meatworkers Federation were massive really massi e tMr.n-outs. With gauchos [cowboys] leading them." Even the gauchos we're' involved? "Yes the guys who worked on the refrigeration ships would turn out. On horseback they would follow behind the Meat Federation 's joudspeaker 'truck as it play[oo the Marseillaise at full volume. No singing? "No, just the music, When folk heard the strains of the Marseillaise they knew right away that federation propaganda or a street. demonstration was, o:J1 the' way, Heading up the procession there also a machine firing rockets sky wards" The cowboys - many wearing 9

through to the First International

and Bakunin's polemics with Marx, the binh of the
K:ropotki:n of course, a theoretician of

workers.' movement, and good quality literature,


their p'onchos,,_white neckerchiefs and grey sombreros - were followed by cyclists ,and then by people 0[1 foot Enlire_ familles, youngand old" DrwnkJng yerbamate as they went"! All bound/or the Palace ... [the par~iarnent b1JUdl~ng in Montevideo] _ "The :final destination was the Palace' where sometimes they camped out" Tents, were er,ecti.ed alorgthe esplanade, And then thepolice would show up and wind lhjngs, up, Thai wes lnthe early i950s. Just as Uruguay ~ ,laking an economie down ..turn. ,"'~Yes,the ,n:::frl.~e:rated meatindustry was in crlsis and the foreig:nfi,n:ns we're starting fa pull out The Meatworkers' Federation was sorely injured and almost fataUy wounded and had stopped playing Us put The' Ateneo Cerro picked IP! the banner of ,~g~matlon. here' T were experts in various fields who used to come and give t-a~ks.About humour,. cinema ,and history. S~rne '~f~hese courses lasted six months. At tile same timeposalons were being adopted VIS a vis labourmebillsations and Hberaltion movements around Lal~n Amerlcs ... in Guatemala Santo Domingo all1d~hefigh~jng in Cuba ~eadwng up to the revolution A number of libertarian performers such as Carlos ~E~ Gaucho' Molina and .z~t~lrrosa.

How do you see the pe.rfonnance of the establfsnm,enJ in this context?

"The establisbment has become a lot more conciliatory .,W,e have a particularly

ruthless, capital ism spearheaded by :lfinancecapi~al and we have states creating openings for them ri,gt~Jt round the globe making laws for their protection, What have Menem, a Cavallo [Menem: Carlos Saul Menem, Peronist president of Argentina In the l'990s.
Cavallo: Domenico Cavallo, Argentinean economyminister in the 1990s.] and! others in Argentina done- but set in place the legal conditions enabling capital to do as, it pleases? Andenotber important polnt: no longer is this being described asimperialism, ~~.
it has been re-branded as globalisation.

"And the.f\€ in that change cf termlaology truesthe snare that disguises what is really going en, the' real machineryat work. Let's not use the words 'class', nor 'struggle' nor ~eOniO'Jltation')nor ~imperiali~m' any more. At. the same Hm'e they have conjured up a consensus around thrus lie, As Chomskyputs jt: '~Never have so manyinte~] ectuels of the Hr~tcalibre beenas compliant and ccinfortable \vi~in the system as '~heyare now. Nor as

productive of ~tsvaJues.~)
Asy.ou see' it what is the purpose behind these ,changes in terminology?' "To stop usfrom thinking about these things. To offer us a representation tha.t does not raatchtbe facts, Preventing a correct analysi s of them, Gaston Baehelardhas done some interesting research jlnto this." SO' lhts belongs in the sam« (J(Jt'egory as 'the end of ideology ~'r the lend of history" and ~/he'impa,ssfb'ilitJi a/socialism? "And as 'the~e are noclasses any more' and 'those daysare gone", As Chomsky says: 'If there' S one 'Chi that is se] f.. v ident, it' s the existence of classes. ' .."~ ng e There's an economist, an American like Cholns/r:y', Kenneth Galbraith who states in hisH~sto.ry of Economics thaI 'economics is a science g)"eatly cultivated by those who say what the r'i'ch are eager to hear. And 'Monetary measures are not politic.ally and socially neulral. "True, that's another thing they would have us swallow, One ofthetheorists of Thatch .. emite conservatism said that h was a good thing for social demoeracy to win :j101D time to time 'to intr{)duce son1Je' ideological OXyge,tl'. Obviously~,~his, raised certain expectations a_morllg'the people~ha;~made i~ feasible to p1lJ:~ immediate demands onthe long finger," Let's look a bit Jtlf'the:1' bar:k imo the past. Back 10 the days of the dictatorship. .You people' were hU q:l,~l hard tn terms of dead and disappeared, You yr.nJJ·~~,ellhada bJY)',lher te who perished in Odeui [concentration camp). "Yes, my brother [Alberto Mechoso] 15 one ,of those wJ1G1 disappeared in Orleni along wit~ Gerardo Gatti and Leon Duane. Along wwm another comrade.Perro Perez [Wa.sh;ngton ~Pierro~ Perez, FAU and PVP activist] ~ for instanee, they were founders of the FA U. Wewere active a.~.on_gside them on 3. range of 'tasks ... the: ROE andthe OPR (an ;31r:1'1:11fd

[A I'freda ZIta:~rosa 0 936,-11989)~, very popular singer ~ eompeser and writer whose son~s

were bal'r1,ed~n Unlg~y after ] 97] and who was forced out of the 'COUFlty.] used to turn up to play amld siog, And at the weekends there 'Wen! conversaricns with the Spanish exiles, The' rector of [he university even turned out: he was lmroduced by Gomensoro [Possibiy Jose Gomensoro, lecturer in medicine am the University of Morsevideo.] and Gatti and gave a talk on fascism at a street. :raUy., The Ateneo was always alert and active on Issues,
110t: j MS~ na~.i,(lna~j ,Iy

ibu~Ulrougbm.l,t Lat in America.'

Wha: is ,(he Atene:ojoc'USing on these days? _ .' "One of the things ~feel is imponam ri,ghl now is the needto counter- the fr,at~eJltation bemg ,caused by our new mstof,i,c,al circumstances." ,*" The undermining a/the slTenglh a/the working class,
,',,~'i':P'fe~jsely..Rl8h~ now scaUei'led

favour of not making, ma_n aprisoner of the collective ..~t


so as to

the~'~e]1,~omeans to make as much of an effon as, h can ~(),.!alb rebtnld the fabric of sociall soHdarity.We'v,e always been in

',The coliective should nat walt him in out shore him up', is' O,~l,€' (if yvut" prlm::i"lt·s. "Correct We are all forpersonalisatlon althmwg:hna.tural~y thnt has 1l[)'lhi~Jg 10 do \Nruth bourgeois im.iWvklJual ism, ;'1' Ulhich f:JJ~ rw'ming l~~'''JJU'ong right now. "And whidh has spawned a number or practices boosting the power of a tiny faction ~hatcarl do whatever it pleases, whereas ill: broad ma.sses~be.~ngaron1ih!H~d~ have I~st much of theiLpawer. \Vha'twe are looking for through 'the Ateneo is some way o(uning together and coordinating with every ether social instlnnion ~nE~ Cerro and then aiming to create a strong sccial movement w~th enswers to contemporary issues, bearing in mind especially that traditional polltical mechanisms have these days run oUlofste,am.~~


organisation thatcarried out a number of'operations)."

Such as the kidnapping of the' lndustrialist Molaguero, or the ,abduction of CostaGavras's Wlj€'i Michele Ray" or the .theft a/the '33 Orientales i,flag and the' kidnapping of Cambon, the representative of a number ofpaper-making forms. What was be'hind ,I'he

come back to hearthe response, They fetched him a few days, lab!t. 'What the response was
I dO' not know but IDknow tha.t' before they parted they hugged each other and Duarte

Molaguero kidnapping?
"Molaguero was an industrialist lnvolved in shoe-manufacture, a real feudal lord w'l1:0

wasflrlng people harassing the union and even beating people. At the time, Alfaro had an article prinred about the vicious treatment he was do~ill1g out to the workers, The ,guy was, 3, member of the JUP' [Juventud Uruguaya de Pie: Alert UruguayanYouthll and he was kidnapped in relation to fit dispute, " _It was claimed at the lime that yOZl had tortured him. 'Whkh is a complete l~e.,Our 'mhinkjngon such matters was. very clear. Torture of i defenceless person was not on .. Not just because' of what it did to the' victiln"but also because of the way it ~mpa,cted on the mHi'tant Hie was the only kidnap vlcnm who. claimed
to have been tortured and he was ~)'ing. As to the abduction 'Of the reporter Michele Ray, the, bject there was to gel some publicity for the reasons we 'had not voted in the elections .. We whiledthe n~g'l11l away chattingto

whispered into his ear: 'Get out: of here. They re going to km you.' That very same day Perro and his family applied to the Swedish embassy for asylum And survived, Duarte and IGa'tU 'Were 'disappeared'. Duarte knew that, money or no money" they were going, to be killed .. And Perro' is dead 'h1W.. "Yes, he returned from Sweden in 198.6 or ]987 fora tribute we paid to Duarte" He sa~d his piece and then sat down ..And dropped dead 'ten minutes later. His heart gave out.'

Interview conducted by Maria Esther GH10 from Brecha; UruguaY1 July 200'1
Juan lea'rlo! M,etbosiO The material below was intended for publication in ,0 Diluvio. a review circulating in Porto Alegre and distrlct in Brazil. ln it,- a comrade offers us a profile of the veteran Uruguayan anarchist fighter J van Carlos Mechoso, a lifelong supporter of the libertarian project and co-founder of the FA U in 1956. In the Interview Juan Carlos talks about politics outside' Ute parameters of reproduction of the system and analyses the fresh developmentsturning Latin America 'into, a thealleofstruggle for soclal change and the bui:ldwng of people's power. Juan Carlos Mechoso was born ~nUruguay in 'the town of'Trinidade (Flores) on 24 March :1935. His activism started at age 14. Born intoa family of workers, he: became a labourer and Mnotype operator, Along w~th the now ~,egendary Leon Duarte, Gerardo Gal'ni, 'Perro' perez and others, he co-founded the ruguayan CNT (National Workers Convention) in ]9'64. Self-educated, he was one of the founders of theFAU (Uruguayan Anarchist Federation) 111 October 11956., ears later he was behindthe creation of its politico-military Y wing, the OPR-33 [People's Revolu'i:ona~y Orgaoisatioo] an anarchist guerrilla warfare experiment. On 26 April ,196', he went to ground for 4 years aft,er a shed used for making homemade bombs was accidentally blown up while an OPR-J3 activist wasmaking an ,am_monia-b~seddevice. There was an explosion and his children suffered burns prompting Juan Carlos to change safe-houses every week IJndJ he was captured in ] 973. His 'brother Alberto M echos 0;, known as EJ Pocho was 'disappeared'. Alberto too had been a socialist figbterand guerrilla with gr-eat experience in bank. robberies and kjdnappings, He was a key figure in the underground Uruguayan resistance. Alberto served several terms in prison" One very rainy night in 1972, he managed to escape following, horrific torture. His mouth toothless his body torn, and his feet aching from longtorture sessions, he escaped through 3. baibroom window. He slipped through

her. She was very well informed as to the situation,

in Latin America and our chat was very enjoyable.
TeU us about those of your comrades who were 'disappeared' in Orletti. "Those comrades featured in an episode of what was, known as Operation Condor." TeU us about the. iM(;'ide'J11 when tn'ey took. Perro Perez to Orletti to ,get some,thing the Uruguayans involved in Operation Condor in Buenos Aires were after. "Here goes. Our people kidnapped an industrialist inside Argentina and got a ten million dollar ransom for him. J was in jail at the time. The military - Gavozzo and Cordero sind '[he' rest - got wind of the money and wanted a. cut .At the time 'they were'

hoM.ing Gerardo Gatti, and Duarte in Orletti. Perro Perez, a well known and very active anarchist and 'lFlJNSA [Uruguayan, National Type PIa:!]'!and its trade muon] employee, one

of the people most serive in thle1972 strike, was in Buenos A ires, '
·l,mg. l n hid! "l 0, [~vwng openly because there was no warrant for his, arrest, He had a sfr t...co ner newsagent's shop that supported himself and his tamil,y. ( ne day one of ~hc U u,~uu)'nn mB itary turned up and offered to tree his comrades from 'd~n;i ill I return fi r t w n,im n and sugges:med tha.t they '~ak,e him ';1 r~e'l~~10 ~.·on ou'l ~,h dt:luiJs. -I lit y 'looOkhim out to Orletti - blindfolded



se. Perro asked lu see '.'JC ardo Gatti but was told that he was

no~,there. He 'then asked fior Duarte and they fetched hirn.. J lc could scarcely recegnlse him. He looked gh8SIJy. lethlng in shreds and his feet bare. P'eJ'I"O looked at his feet ami
said- 'How come you've no shoes on? At whjch 'the soldier, who was ~istening, piped up to sa.y: 'There are hces mn that room'. with a smirk, When Leon later went ~o 'the room

there were more than fifty pairs of men's and women's shoesthere, Perro Perez had ;81, word with Duarte" He put the proposition made by the Uruguayan military and a.greed to


easily thanks to the serious weight ~08Sfrom weeks ofaorture" electric shock 'treatment and interrogation And made it onto the roof o:f the army 'barracks. He waited there for th changing of the guard and then, wmth w.1ila:tev,erstrength he could muster, leapt onto a tree
dung on to branch and fell to earth with a. 'thud. Getting

Q. 'Where does the FAU, which you have headed for so inarty years" stand on 'tap~'tans'm s
present condition and

relies upen huge profits going to. the big transnational companies thanks to political coercion by the ruling class? Can we expect anything

the lifestylethat

his feet, he made a nm for iii.

from politics? Where is the human face headed for?
A. For a start, we need to be clear wha~ we mean by pol rude'S. Politics is often spoken about ,and [inked only to parliament the cabinet, elections, the political class and the part leaderships who appear in the media, Such linkage swnts and belittles the idea ofpoHties., We ought to think of pofltics as being much more than these. There is a huge number of struggles that deserve classification as. political .. In Latin America, and in Europe there is tnepoHtical battle against g~obalisation and war. There are populations that refuse to be disciplined and which manifest great: discontent. The masses have their dreams and 8imibitions which are sHU alive and wen. People are fighting back, The United States thought the invasion of Iraq would, be a walkover and today we know ~t'to be a nightmare ..They have no idea of how to extricate ~h~lnSelves. from the mess they've go~ themselves into, In Latin America at any rate, ~t is plain to see that the capitalist model has failed ..

The troops. spotted him and opened fire. Firing doz-ens of shots, Alberto just kept on running. He came to a ditch where 'there was an open sewer, He ranon the stinking wal r up to his knees, He carne to a bumble dwelling, knocked OIn the door and asked. for he'ip', The family living in poverty 'there were afraid but showed solidarity with the fugitive, Once he had recovered enough, Alberto ventured into the street and made contact with the FA L&OPR 33 again The organisation pulled out all the stops to rescue the .miHtant who refused the accolade IOf hero and whose modesty was legendary, Later he made' a
physical recovery, The enemy 'was. never able to break his spirlt. He moved away to

Buenos Aires where he played a key part in setting up a bridgehead and an infra-structure offering at haven to those on the nm. Dozens of militants had been forced underground by [he brutal repression, Alberto featured in. and oversaw a number of spectacular operations ... .k~dnappjngs,attacks and bank robberies to raise funds for the mammoth task of resisting the military dictatorship. In ~976, Operation Condor [the cooperative efforts of military dictatorships in the southern Cone] tracked him down to a bar where he waiting to meet a contact The: military raided his humble abode .. His 'wife and chlldren were taken back to Mon~evideo under false identities. Alberto held his ground ,and refusedto 'sing', He has never been seen since, Juan Ca rios stresses his. brother's story morethan his own. RefUsing, 10 speak in jhe first, ps'rson is an old .anarch~st 'I·~~~ ,ition. The cult of the se~f is ne,garded as ~ackin.g in the
mo esty w:lich Ubert,arians priz,e as a central value, l,nrYiarlc, 7'., rum
I' ~

the so-called developed world there are great problems also. The huge [lumbers of immigrants W:lflO suffer from casual emp'~oymenl, are exploited and their ]wving conditions

arlos was

picked up with some comrades from the OPR-33 (the military wing of the FAU)" He was tortured horrlfleally over weeks. In 1976~ when there was a coup mounted in Argentina rhe torture resumed with 'the usual savagery. An International campaignl was mounted to save the lives of the prisoners. The torture was ha~ted. Juan Carlo stayed in jaw'! fo:r a further 9 years .. Juan Carlos was, released from prison in ~985 under an mn lSII)'. AI I \i ," ,';,1,e'l' 111 I back to the EI Cerro barrio [Montevideu] like the ; r diga I son, OJ! his [irs l nit:;111 bu' k~ there 'was, a barbecue w~th hi'S b loved I _b{urers, -Y II u Udrd U, y of I'r ',cdoll1 atler 12 years as a political prison r, he, as attendlng meetings again" especially FAU meetlngs, NOl one 'to dw U on the pas~, he s t abou~ inlippllng witt th future. Now b11 his seventies, he remains faithful to. U1,j! libertarian principles that have accompanied him through his Hre'"
He' is active every day, just as was as an adolescent,

are awful and the poverty rate is growing by the day. The hopes ofthese people are rising because tbey have an idea ~i1.athey are not going 'to get justice or better their Jiving eondit nons or change soda! relationships or begin a process guaranteeing every human bemg' s basic needs, hy follcwl ng the capitalist road. The aims of the big multinationals are bigger and bigger profits, .. Geopolitics rules the developed world andthe costs are ignored. They invade coudries!nd kin indiscriminately, And millions are starving 'to death, A. great French, thinker (Michel Foucault) said that: 'where there is oppression, mnevi~a .. bly there is resistance" and history ears that out. Oppression may be growing but so is resistance'. Resistance movements grow and bhmder around and look for new methods of resistance and that arch js not !loin ,t, be c mp~,et,ed, .ernight:, it;s a long haul. v These' days w re bre~ king free or (line'pan of deminetion, tomorrow we break free of another, odey \ e lake one step rm'w rdtomorrov we may have to retreat, These are not ]inear movements: they zigzag. But we' have every reason tomhink that the resistance fight is making headway, Q. Should we be hopeful? A. Yes, The s.ys'~ern~sn~tabout to. cmrunil hara-kiri. People are starting to think that unless we change everything nothing is going to change and if we don't change social relationships there isn't going to be EUly" meaningful change and the people ru'e waking up 'to this. This, is. a form of consciousness, an empiricalknowledge that history bas been impartI

wn,g us and which '~argely finds expression in demonstrations around the world. to.

[Adapted from www.vermeUloenegrO.Ofswebsi~e·of.Ule..FAG(Gau.cl13

Anarchis.t Federa ...

tion ie.Anarcrns~
·i ntervi

Federation of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazll), No name ,given for

ewer, but article ls said to .have been added tothe she! in January 2008, thanks ·~o comrade LV!.]
Saln:ta rEl


EI Santa Romero was U~e something out ofa poem by leon. Felipe. He could not brook this mean reality and iltS injllJsm:ices, With its courts that he could see were not worth a dog's piss, His was a rebellious temperament thatwas uncOlmOrt.able when surrounded by resiB~ nation or taking things ~11 one's stride and being. comp:lidt iathem .. He' suffered and fumed in due face of arbitraryacrions, And loved the people 'no whom 'he ger1Juinelybe~onged. He sensed that he 'had ~odo somethingand ,cotdd not reslgn himself to thlngs as they w~ereandl he found an this inequality unbearable. An order where the few had it an md ~he l'n3lly did 110t know what the next day held in store for them or whether tbey could keep a. roofover their heads and food on the table, This soeial sensitivlty of his was ··IDII~ing~~· and his llfe as an exp'~o~~ed him wm.ktr
poi.l1ted him in one direction ..

be liefs: he was facing anenemy, a systemihat worked. in favour of a. handful of priv] legedmcney-gtubbers who were swindliog the people.. This was "order" stood on lts head. He fe.Uthat the whole thing needed t~.king apart 'but:those at the bottom of the heap had no means of dloillg so..Of'eourse mo~hjng was done for rhe beoefh ofthe worklngpersen vJhQm.idl~ have to approach threbank io:r a loon tapay offhls rent arrears, 0111y to beasked (or so much in return ~hat he concluded that in order to get anywhere "you have 'to be well (1'1' and then your runterest rates, turn your head". Of course the bank was an oppressive lnstitutlon, 8! good $ymbo~ of the system. Even se he 'Would later app~y for a. number of loans on behalf of~he group. S,lrikes. were 00 a. large scale and leng1tll.y.General gains started to. be whittledaway at the top and they wererefusingto keep wages in lme with the costs of living. Then there was the: ponce crackdown, with workers from the Meal lndustry killed, The; students were battl ing for university reforms. Society was convulsed from his daly to day Ufie had nurrured

Libertarian activists had bandedtogether and set lip the Uruguayan Anarchist Federation (FAU). The Ateneo in El Cerro was e:n~~ed mIl intense socio-polltlcal work and in '~he thick of the struggleslocally and across. Latin America .. Backing. the fighters in the SIerra Miu~:S.tre whom others were a:M\ac.king by writing themTJJoff as advenbJ~e~rs. . the 'beardies' from the Sierra Maestra overran Cuba ... Sending the blood pumping

Having worked from chi~dhOOOthis had been an impoverished childhood that even al fool would not have asked far. He started working at the .age of 7 ina shop in Trinidad (lnthe Flores department of Uruguay) where he was born. A village with ]ots of landowners and little history of social struggles, Even in short trousers he was. wrestling with ~~feand earning the respect of hls coraemporarles when the need arose. After his moveto Montevideo he was shunted from job to job, lnthe end he 'fo!!:md regular 'Work at: RA.USA. The job: :Srack~ng lip 50 kilo sacks of sugar aU day long. A. tiny band of his comrades got togetherto press some minor demands. He joined forces with ihemandthey set. about doing union business .. The leaders of the twnruon, affiliated to the CSU~ were too moderate. 'Whi,ch merely doubled his workload He never complained about his work but he was outraged abmwta.rbitrary 'rrea:tmen~, abuses .and a numher ,of excesses ..No. he never complained, being Ute s,or~ of m.11l "who speaks n01' of pain Oil' love",
W'ham was required was struggle, mot whi.nilng. A.nd he was beilll.g drawn down paths chosen for him by his sensibilities and rebelliousness. 111e problem affected ev'e,rybodyand needed a unwversal r,espol\9,e. ~US friends, workmates, neighboursand the popu~adol1i at

through theveins of much of'theAmeri cas. In 19.59E] Santa arrived arihe El Cerro Ateneo, V\fhet'leone of its l1llany ventures. was
on at the nme. There hemet up wUh other 'misfits' angry with injustice who reckoned that the' on~yselution was to fight back, A fighter was listening to them.From then on.EJ Santa
~os~interest in certain, sometimes wearisometasks such as sticking lip posters through to 2,(]0 OT 3.00 am..) leavinglittle time for those who had to be at work by 7.00 am. But he hard~y ever' missed out on street activity. Almost ~~nll1edi.ate~y joined the E~ Cerro Anarchist Gm~oupwhich was part of the he; FAU. And he cuthis ~ee~hnlocal activities.jrade union agJ~a!Hons,organisational propao ganda and anarchist act~vwt~es out of the Areneo .. And got involved i,~!c{)nfllon~atiQns the stree s \\r~ththe; repression, Up, to his neck in on

the :FUNSA comrades thrust [oJ' the governmem building a.rnd tbe savage dash with dlte police, ~Ie was a tlutinstay of ~he lads 6'01.11 E1 Cerro who, together with the FUNSAun~on and the folks from La Teja Conned a powerful team thatrovedthe arterial routes of Montevwdeo, cha.n:filflg) comp~fdnjng arid showingtheir support almost 011 a weekly basis. And he flJ!~y embraced the libertarian socialist outlook. Dismissing theauthoritarian

large lived likethar, wi.th scarcely enough to eat in most cases; bdnging up ch~mdrenand educa:mirrug them and I"ooking after thelr health was a real worry.

approeeh to socialism. His socialism hadnothing in common with the USSR and the dictarorshjp of the proletariat, Much less thek str,i31~egyfor the Americas. He found social
democraeyto be too C]Os€ to, the system and that it had nothing to do with the cause of real emancipation .. HethoughtruJ1.dfe~ltthatin~he.absenceof.rea]inViol:vemen~.by ·~hepecrp!~,e." without solidarity and freedom, socialism would never be possible, He was a firm believer



educarion was a~most a ~UlX.ury,. They could scarcely afford ~'.rlmary

schooling paid jn Instalments .. It

too much for him, The education he had received

;in organisation, in an operational and flexible federalism through which his orprusad, III could operate and manage change without overruling the people; th,e; mainaim bemg a n,,··\1 order, with. improvements to. the quahty oflife for the individual, Those were stormy days and full of promise, MallY were starting to tee I, that eh Jill
was possible. Obviously there was a lot of fighting yet to be' done but it was possible
all that A number of direct action operations were mounted. Along came the~'

Yes; Santa, was blessed with this ~''peop~,ekin as we used to say of those who. are s straight-dealers with:no back doors no two faces. That s just the way be was. He was a battler no matter what the context. Remember the 15 yeass he spent behind bars when he stood firm and stood by the others; his vernacular language keeping up' spirits, He dressed

r 11

eccording to. h18 affections in a 'red and black shirt sometimes or in the Club Cerro, colours eve:rytlm,e he, turned out for a, ,game of soccer. After he began to frequent 'the Ateneo and read Malatesta, reading became a regular pursuit of his, especially during his. time inside,
He always took a.n active part in the political life of the FAU teams .. We stress this because' in his ever-yday' hfe was 1101 much, of a talke r, Santa s life was exemplary for a

Commandos ,ep~sode. Funds were needed and there was no money available and lots to h · doTi'eind ther,e were lots of ope 111 Ii gs for growth, And then there was Santa running out II n bank with a bag stuffed with cash. In 1967 the FAU was overhauled, structurally, wliill an eye COl the new circumstances and focusing on future prospects, Pocho I[Albel'h-'

person and fora militant. A mall of im,egrity.. We have lost, in him a chunk of the best of
our history .. Lost one of those militants from the people who gave their all for a better

Mechoso] had a word with Santa m accordance with one FAU resolurion apropos ( I
systematically tackling armed activity, Bulkling a sp cific apparatus within the parameter of FAU politica ~work. Santa,' s response was Let me thi nk it over, n This armed struggle was different from the "foco" approach 'that was trying to buiJ I struggle on a range of planes over a long-term process and it had a well-defined objec:~ilv" - libertarian socialism.

tomorrow, for a world of justice and freedom, We: were with him when his life was I anging by a thread and he realised that the game was up but he kept on battling to' the end. Chatting about everyday matters as if noihing was wrong, We 'told Julia, his partner, who. stood by him with wonderful devotion "It s as if there wasn ~ a thing \ rong with
'Iurn. , •

After joining the armed wing, he took part. in bank robberies.jobs related to i~kwdn~
pings." and procurement, etc, He happened to 'walk into one bank wUh .at 'f1!:l'cendy fil1c:d alarm system directly linkedto the ponce stationand thls was his undoing, When the alarm \. ent off he tried to shoot his way out wi'th his comrades. As the leader of the raid he ha I issued his instructions when he happened to glance thnliugh the window" A huddle 01 soldiers with rifles and snort arms were aimingat the exit, Hi thought we were dealing with a couple of bear cops who had happened 311on~ and that we had a chance of,gettiQg a\~,'Of after (1, couple ,of shots fired", he would later teU us. At no 'time did it occur to lli m to take n hostage; such things, we[ieWl1thjnkab~e to him. He rook his chance and made a run for it. Later, after he was captured, he never 'confessed to membership of ,any or,fPllisati' ·'L~. 'fl'lere,.bv protecting hi's ' lam]l~y~~[ue' .... 'L, . 'F'AU -y orotectin .. \,'
",£:. "'m ~, .

It was with great grief that a, huge number of people bade him farewell: his relations, 'libertarian comrades and comrades from the Ateneo miIiitants from other political organi-

sations he had a great regard For" his beloved friends from the La G r(ul gang and from Club Cerro, neighbours and acqualntances from the district, Those were times of pain and

'loss, happy memories and wisecracks. As Santa's remains were belog la[d lO rest Grief overcome those present and drained the colours from the landscape. Darkness in the

But there are parts of Santa that shall never die. Cherished memories. His c011DTlIib11.e'nt, his pugnacious approach, his solidarity, his Jove of liberty his yearning for at better world, The FAU feels proud '~O have numbered a 11l,iUtant of his stature among its members, Your exemplary life, beloved comrade .. win ~i,vefor-lever in our memories,
From the FAU s Lu. bo'Lib

in relation 'to OPR operations: they were llke two brother . They bad a liot run Ictlmmon one of them not least this feature of'his of.oc:r~ni ~mke a ]ioca~ !kjcJ from the workiog class barrio, something he. never lost, The wisecracks, the 'U51~dg,1I1g' , the jokes. Viva.,ci.o'IJs sound and dis,respeerfid of'prete nsions. They also shared this readiness to take a gamb~e ,1,00 to take trnin,gs,on seriously and Whh Pocho; especially

1'0;';0. May 2001

responsibly, abide by the decisions of'the Organisation and not kick over the traces, The director of the newspaper E1Dia, kidnapped by the Organisation said, "This subversive swipedaway the flies lest they might bother me", as if pointing up some great contradiction by this. No, Santa was a. sound, tGugh guy butat the same time he was very soft-hearted" brotherly and .set high standards for himself. Be could no~ mistreat a.defence .. less man; he just felt that that was not right This wasthe struggle, nothing more,

J alime Prlete, Rebel Born in' Vergara in Treinta y Tres province, IUruguay in 1932, he married Susana Y:ara.ldi wMh w.i1',omhe had three children. As a student~ trade union; politic'aland social activist, within the' .law or outside it, he /oU:o'Wfld ,a political' pafh that encompassed th«

an.arc'histsfrom the Libertarian Youth (JL)t .the anarcho~syndicalists and the Uruguayan
Ana~chist Federation (FA V), before moving on to WOfkerBStuden.1 Resistance (ROE)" tH'e People's Revo.Jutionary Orgonisatton (OP R-.3 3) and then. less of an anarchtst, to the People IS Victory ParlY (PVP). {1¥ha.1!ollQw,'S' is a series of extracts from an i:rlJef''IJ{.ew covering his personal experience and evolution]


There was a lot of'talk abolJl politics in our house. My father was an independent na~'ionl~ll'" ist a liberel who believed in plain ..dealing, I had an uncle who smdled f~om home, ,I very
decent doctor with ideas differ,ent frommy father. And then there was my uncle Ademar Gomez, a big noise in TreInt:a y TresWhen they tried, to appoint him chief of police h, publicly declined the appointment and joined '(he' Communlst Party" So I inhedled hls

make rnolotov cocktails. '.. We were in the Uruguayan Student federation hut we; were active as anarchists.
How much a part of your lije was activism, alongside' studies, .lov,{!:-.l!fo, friends? They were all one" We 115,ed to go to meetings ... and to Don Pab10 ... Oh yes, Don Pablo IS on the corner of AgrQciado and Marcelino Sosa: .. beer and snack: Beerand snacks and a 'placard that r-ead 'Nazis not welcome on these premises . During the war that placard had been in German. W,e used to hang alit there and chat Gerardo", for instance, had a real loud horse ..laugh and Tnever heard him use sarcasm '... But the others. Raul {Carboni) coold demolish you 'With, sarcasm and leave youfeeling like an Idiot. Hugo (Cores) could make himself enemies with his sarcasm. But Scaron was very sarcastic too. Pichon was a one-off and we became great friends' he was a very open very capable who (aught himself German in a few months while he was living with the barbudos (beardies), You know who I mean by beardies? The reader might well think that the reference to 'beardies refers to the Cubanguerril/,(18 but infur:t' Machado was referring to a [Hutterite] C'hri31icm community. We 'Were open to a range of influencea in those days, The 'beardies were' ell Christian communi~ who followed the teaehings of Pastor Hutter a German, They 'were English and French and German war-resisters, pacifists, They bad no particular rites but supported themselves by farming and they had toy factories ... no war toys, When their kids grew up and saw the outside world the notion of sharing everything began to pall with them and they blended into society at large. So. the community was opening up. Communuarism t:2J.1d cooperativism would have been: some of the' other influences you mentioned, Yes, partly as a result of the influence from the 'beardies and partly through Luee Fabbri .,.,. We set up,a farming commune on Route 7, al most j ustafter the Comunidad de~ Sur wa founded ..There' s a Luce Fabbri pamphlet called El camino; published by the JL. It states

anarchist book collectlon which I devoured. With my father an antl-communlst

and an

uncle who was. in the CP, you can imagine the s011 of arguments I was exposedto, The YO'UHg: Prieto 'was politic/sed €tJr/:'y Oft and the left had a v,arlety ojopr.ions to' ()_ffir. However, he and his fiends chose the libertarians. l was active ln 'he University Reform Group (ARU)~ the ARU mark one, in a sizeable grO'l,.lp that used to meet at the plumbers union in Durazno Street, There were Perk, caron, Ge ardo Gatti, Raul Carboni Rama ... I'm talking about the I '950s., Later] joined the' Libertarian Youth operating out of the bakers' union all, Arequita Street, Whic:h ls where I met another great guy, 'the doctor Juan f"~neyr() Maf~SCUrrenEt" Together we set up 1he worker-student coalitlon, the first aUempt to orchestrate people outside 'the uor whose hold on the workers' movement was loosening, The first time the university struck over autonomy, we began to come into contact with the anarchist movement especially the a narcho-syndicalists, This marked a resurgence of direct action trade unionis,m., We were concerned about building a synthesis that would lend enarchist ideas more
impact and make them more palatable to society and act as at corrective 1:0 bolshevik

authoritarianism, Not that we were against organisation or socialism. W~'ithin the libertarian movement they used to c all us ~the other anarchists'. In. 1954 when the FAU was launched, we managed 10 rally lots of'people and yet they called us the bolshies'. When you s.ay 'they used 10 call us who are you talking about? And how did you get I'D'

be a 'we'?

W,e caine together oet of a fondness, for discussions, because we thought of ourselves as anarchists and as a Iibertarian collective. Vle were fi'iends as weU as comrades, Gerardo [Galli] and ~ were especially friends and had been since adolescence; then there was my partner : usana and Marta (Casal), Gerardo's partner ..But there was a fair number of us. .. "ie Vi/ere about 16 or 17 years old and we used to meet in an ank.[.".] There was Scarssl " 'Corinstance, who could multiply a four ..digh number by another faur-diglt number" :in his head. And .lsito Aldao~ ,3 tall and highly intelligent guy who tended to say thin_gs backwards andwhom ~heJ·e. as no correcting, Our treasurerwas David Rosemberg who w

that society has to be transfonned on the basis ofcultural improvement, ideas of solidarity and sampling of different methodologies .... that was the way (,e'~ camino) .. ~t was practically our B~ble" W,e began seuin" UP11tO"Ops, in EI Cerro and people's ateneos, ,.,.and when
the FAU w ' launched it took til form of a federation. I Ijked the craziness of iit aU but then all II came the ..uban revolution and we took. the bait: a snappier seizure of power .. Despite OUT reading of'criticisms of that approach, the idea overpowered us. Another influence on some of us was a brand of literature that might be described as social ..pacifist John Dos Passes, Sartre, Jules Romain, Albert Camus .,. My own nom de guerre was Camuso because I was at big Camus fan and especially a. fan of The Rebel. And of The Just J dare say. Every time we set out to do an¥thing The JZ:iS,lwould come 'to mind. As did The Ol~{. ider and Camus s whole philosophical output Not ev,eryone knows that.

had a DK W practically made up of cardboard held together with nails. This jalopy had a
hole in '~h~floor but no starter, so David would peddle furiously and off he went. -.. They . , ere crazies but a breath of fresh air! On the student scene we were involved 'in .~ 95;~ m the gremios solidarlo strike and ln the very first ANCAP dispute, I began t,o come into contact with people from La Te]a and El Cerro at a. farmhouse where we used! to go' 'fill


Ruben '~'Pepe;Prieto

There ~sa big difference between the Libertarian Youth and the PVP with a lot of SI,(J1J~\ between where' t1 lot of people gat on' board 0,' stepped off Orgards,ati'onal cha"g,().~" changes of nome, chan;ge,s of d~finition.How' do you see the 'whole trip? When the FAU broke up, with ~.hepeople from the faculties of'Pine Arts, and M,ediicE[lc_ illllil tthe Erraodoneas foemingone faction, D'Ottone dropped in on meat the bank to bring nI the news. I' told h~m: 'Look, you ar-e stiH the anarchists; those guys have nothing to do witl anarchism. And I' m with the others now .. ,.'

Ruben Pepe' Prieto was active ~n the FAU and in the Worker-Student Resistance (ROE) ~nthe 1'96'05. He was a co-founder of the People's Victory Party (P'VP).
On' the FA,u~the RO£ and t:h'l!'PVP

But a decision had 10 be made as to which/ae,lian would carry


wi',h the name FAU,

Yes" we held on to the name' FAU. And that was a, mistake by Gerardo and a costly one. 'Gerardo was never ready to sever ties with the anarchist tradition because they were marvellous people and because many on the left would not understand a new choice' of name, But it was a mistake, because we lost the traditionalists and, on the other hand, we created confusion when we ought to have adO'p~,edat new name. In Paris, when we wer discussing the PVP - 'the discussions may have started off in Buenos Aires, but the eontin .. ued in France - [ sald at one 'meeting: 'Count me in, but that's in spite of the MarxlsmLeninism. This is not just Marxist it's Leninist as wen. Hugo sneered at this, but i.t was a, fact," And ·that was another mistake. Wh,Gt exactly was your point? [ am notanti-cnmmunist, lam, a follower of Camus. I'm ell for organisation, but ~et it be a

l¥he-re'w€r-€ you active in' the 60s? t was active ]11 fhe FAU and worked within the ROE from late 1967 onwards, The FAU was set Up' in 1956 with people such ,IDj Gerardo Gatti, Juan Carlos Mec:b080, Mauricio Gatti, Hugo Cores, the Errandoneas from the Faculty of Fine Arts and so on, lJy Ihe' time you jomed the FA,U there' was another process underway, Vies with Gatti as the driving force the FAU had taken a path that mlght be described as Malatestan ill 'the sense that there was an awareness of a need to' establish a specific and centralised organisation. That and the decision to offer critical support to tbe Cuban revolution and the adoption of certainMarxist-Leninist methods, of analysis ~riggered a. split in theFAU. A number of groups pulled out and one group - OIl the basis of the trade
union activity of Gatti himself Leon Duarte Hugo Cores and other comrades from the trade union movement of the day, plus others within the student scene, like Gustavo Inzur-

ralde, Elena Quinteros" Lilian Celiberti and ourselves ~ sponsored the formation of the ROE by way of'oppositlon to 'tlle readiustments entailed lnthe growing hegemony of international finance capital. Wha,t happened come the J 973 coup d 'eta: ? Come the coup. most organisation were gravely weakened. By ] 972 extra-perjiamentary groups, trying to mount direct action or aJ med struggle activity were already being m'! hard. [0 1973 many of the FA U s activists had fallen back. across abe border to Buenos Aires in view of 'the infra-structural difficulties. in shielding undergr-ound activists. although there was still a notable presence within Uruguay which enabled many ROE activists (it hav~ng ClI, higher profiIDethan the FAU) to jp~ay leading roles oon the banking, FUN8A~ beverageworkers or healthworkers unions, And' how did tl1;f!' form a tio n of thi2 P VP come oue of fhal' wilhd'r:awai'to Buenos A' ires? From Buenos Aires erard 'Gatti resumed lh~s. reparations for a congress that had been p thw.arted by the repre sian. There was also open ac1ivi'EY such as support committees and liais n wi,d~Ar entinean political groups. Together with a team of comrades Gatti worked on drafting the basis for the launch of'the PVP'. , The P'VP'also drew in armed groups such as the People's Revolutionary- Organisauon

libertarian organisation, not a party. Parties throw up bureaucracy ,and chicanery and
socialclimoers, I was no apparatchik; [bad Uttle to. do with the FAU apparaimS. I" joined a farm commUIlle and dropped OU~,or several years but there was always this proviso: that if f the 'comrades needled me, l'd be there, Later I finished up as a bank offid,a~but even then ill couldn 't stand the apparatus. Edid whatever needed doing In Buenos Aires. I survived 'the disaster m 197 0 by the skin of my teeth, but it left its mark on me on us all, Even later when I becameactive again on ,my return from exile, I made non..attendance at party meetings a c,omi.ition.I was available ,though and everybody knew it.
1 1

It was a~ways an outgrowth of the lFAU. ,it was not an apparatus with a life of its own, nor did it have any decisionmaking powers of its own. Everything OPR-3,3 did was determined by 'the leadership ( r the FAU which acted as a political party. It had, as Gatti 'put h. 'rwo feet. Onehandling

OPRaJ.J never actually headau independent life of its



Enterms of trade unions, student life and neighbourhood issues" 'et-c" and Lh other deslgnedto il1terv,ene in popular s~rU!gglesby means of direct action Of'R-33 mounted impor,lant operaiion« 'wi'thm Uruguay, s.uch as ,the theft' qf the jJ Orientalesflag in 1969 and a number Qfkidn,appi~gs such as' that of the lentN]preHe~w AtJologuero. Yes the Molaguera kidnapping had more to do with his being linked to at trade union dispute then on in the rubber industry, The FAU had mounted that sort of ope rat ton before in connection withthe f'UN:SA O,r CICCSA disputes. The m'uitanu based in Argentina decided 10' 'raise junt:/s '. There was the ,(Jbo,r.t'iv attempt to abduct ,0 Pepsi Cola executive and then they plumped/or ,aDutch enrr.epr ,,neur HCJrt. .


w ith ill, raid on a caravan in Colonia ferrying, propaganda into Uruguay. 10 April Telba Juarez was murdered and .Ary Cabrera, and Eduardo
.fl:r ntlna, It started on.2 ~8March

'hlzzola were '~dis,a:ppeaJied~. hen on 9 June they abducted Gerardo Gatti, T

The GaUl case marked the start of the repression mounted in the secret Automotofles ( rlen.i camp [inside Argentina] .. nul how much of the Hart ransom n10n'ey had been spent on buying house'S and

premises up tnapoim?
All in all, towtLng premlses, ,li'cccmmnodlat-1,on"vehicles and ;lle upkeep of'scme peeple.no more that 50'0;0100dollars, And to give you some Idea of values art the time, an apanmen~ within commuting distance of Buenos Aires in those days C-OlSt around 6;;000 dollars. The price of a car 'these daysI.Propeny was very cheap in Argentina. There are two clear phases to' the repression from Or/eta. One starts wUh the Gatti obduction and ends with the firsl flight ou'l of Orl'eul on 24 July' when 23 prisoners wen:' flown back to Uruguay. A second phase in Septembe 19~6 ended wi'th the second flight' out of Ot,letU on 5 October ~,e.n they flew in further- 2.'2 who are now 'among the missing'. The forces .of repression seized money at both stages. but haw much did you manage to Sffl''llggle abroad? Ro~hly 1,,400,,000 dollars were smu,ggh:~dI ut and used to fund a worldwide campaign o exposing the Uruguayan dictatorship, Th(J~sum, plus th« expenditur-e on premises and the money spem on publicity within Ur-u,guay can be rounded up to' 2 ,million dollars. Wha: became' of the O't:he'''' ,8 mIiU()'n? The' military stole it, In July, foUowin'g ,lh.(~ Gatt! kidnapping in A r,genlina, th,e forces of repression bas ed in O,.letti tried blackmQ'il~ The people who kidnapped Gatti on 9 June used one of his comrades, Washington 'Perro' Perez, in,an auempt to demend a. :2 million dollar' ransom, A few months agp 1 mentioned. in La Republica dmt a sequence ofphotos was sent OUit by the mUi.tary showing If! naked Q,atti. pbotogrtt;p,hed face ..,oo, in profi~e' ,and from behind end plainly in good hea!th. One snap showed him holding the ace of spades and the aee of clubs in one hand, symbolising the 2 mil~mo:n they were demanding Somebody took those snaps before they started to torture .him., They also sent I! tape of him reading, 'the date being established b" the fact that he was reading from the sports pages of El Pals" Shortly after that another snap was seIU~1 one that has survived, showing Gaul lying on ,I bunk in a very sorry state, alongthe side Perro Per-ez who is holding a. copy oICronic'(l newspaper, The negoti'al.ions In;volved Perro Perez making five trips between the gJ{Vs in IOrle'''; and the PflP. Wh.at did you make ofttt? On the day the photos came we' were in an apartment on Luis Via~'eStreet in Buenos Aires
1 r

Yes. Two or three comrades were arrested Enthe attempted kidnapping of the 'Pepsi Cobli executive. But the Hart kidnapping was, a. success. I wasn't in on it as I wasn't in Buenos Aires. at the time but there are ,aC'C0W15 of what happened, The operation netted ten

million dollars.
That lva' some figure
A rgemina.


those days, just about the largest ransom paid up to then ~·n'

Actually the biggest 'was from the Bunge Born kidnapping carried out by the Momoneros

which netted 60 minion dollars .. Theil came an, ERP kidnappingthat raised a, 14 million ransom paid for Esso executive Samuelson, but the Hart operation brought in 10 million. A huge sum of money. ~flhcabecame ofthe money? For one thing it enabled p~annin,g fur the congress to 'proceed. Comrades set up the requi-

site infrastructure


fund an underground congress in secure clrcumstances.

That congress in October J 9 75 saw .the launch o/,Ihe People's Victory Party (PVP) as a

public and ,legal set-up. 1,(was launched as a pol t~~,ca.1 party, hut: as. a clandestine one. At the time it WM urntbinkable that any leftist partycould take on the dictatorship whilst operating within the' law.
The congress's conclusions provided for a plan of action and a programme of amidictatorship .aclivilty suggesting resistance and the imposltion of a provisional governmera of naHona~ sa~vadon made up of aU who had opposed the dictatorship, and a. call for a constituent assembly 'to determine the new institutions for the Ic,olJ.m~ry. proposal won This support :from dozens of left..wjng. activlsts, many of them, dlrawn from the Workers' Revolutionary Front (FRT) a Tupamaro faction that made a. massive comribution to 'the

f~ eshLng out of the propose I.., [.",]
And where did the remainder a/the mon.ey gO'? Here ~ should refer back to a conversation 1 had with Mauricio Gatti prior to his trip to

France. The PVP had a core leadership made up of Gerardo Gatti Leon Duarte, Alberto Mechoso and Maurici 0 Gatti .. ln ~976 the Uruguayan army swooped on the comrades in 24

whereI was, living with my partner" my daughter and Tota Quinteros, lt waseonsnued


an intelligence operation mounted to buy time so that they could trade down and round up

an the mher mllltants ofthe organisation very telling that on 13 JulYI following ""om Orletd told Washington 'Perro' over.' Suggesting that they now had the information, 'the money fmished up in away. These gllYs we killers, " That flgure tallies with the figure given

and; above all gettheir hands on the money. U is, the abduction of Leon DU2u1,e' one of the bosses Perez: "Right, Don Perro, the G,attw business is 2 minion or were about to get it According to our two locations. '00 Duarte told Perro Perez: "Get by the Argentinean 'irformom' ,~,'lie.dthe

details leading to the discovery ofSimon Riquelo and the exposure oj ,.. ..undflight out of Orieu). He says that they got two million dollars during the .July phase. TfU! other
six million \1ferecaptured in

September then?

They got the ]01". In conversation wlth Mauricio we reckoned that they netted 6 miliion from Alberto Mechoso s capture .. Some of the money might have been captured with Adalberto Soba and there might have been some money in other people's homes. But the top 'Ieadershi p wa S rounded up and a ~I t he money wmmh them. [".. ] Roger Rodriguez [adepted] \'Vha't Wou~,d I Va~tle About My Experienee 'With T)1(~FAU'?

[Ahhough [lot a FAU member tor long, (PVP and Frente Amplio leader) Hugo Cores's
account of his own movement and the: shift of FAU personnel towards theun ..anarchist PVP is the n105t detailed explanation I have seen.] Personally speaking a 1.01. 1 found it. a short-lived but enriching experience. It brought: me into contact with people of extraoedinarily high calibre, such as Raul Carboni, Gerardo Gatti (who would IO.f1g be my mentors), Leon Doarte.Wsshingtom Perez, Juan Carlos Mechoso Ruben Barcos, Julio Mancebo, Alfredo Errandonea Jr. and Ruben Prieto from the Comunidad del Sur. AU of them activists of the highest calibre, My own life took such a turn that although J and many of these comrades adopted different poUtk;a~ and theoretical stances, our connections survived and there was mutual respect: between us aH. Even when OUIi differences led to significant polarisation, in the early ],9605. ~.remember that in April .~ we were publishing a fortnightly caned Lucha 959' Libenarla. lt had been coming oum virtually e er since the FAU had been launched. One eveni n,g we: ~'ef~ editorial meeting with Gerardo 'G,atti, E~bia Leite and Pedro 8caron a.nd an made for ... where there was a rally on, The speaker was Fidel [Castro] from the vietoriOUS

The w.deolog1ca,~ gu~f widened later when th.,e revolution in Cuba began ~o describe itse]( as socialist and embraced ihe precepts .of Marxism ..Leninism, Whenever f began carefully [0 read into the issues of rebellion and revolution, I was largelyguided by wnat we knew about Cuba: the' magaaine Pen:sam'i,e'.rlto Critico,ridel"s speeches, the writings of Che and the effervescent, critical Marxism that grew out of that, experience. The 2,6 July Movement (Fidei's, movement) and the FAU shared the same red and black colours, but their political thinkl ng was 'comph~tely different In those days a number of comrades, headed by Gerardo Gatti, reckoned that that the FAU, or most of ml at least could support the revolution in Cuba. This ushered in a fairly ~engthy period of fierce argument, I subscribedto the line pushed by Gerardo, Duarte and other comrades but I began from the acknowl ~dgement that it was not compatible with the' label 'anarchist'. Besides, that was the experience not jus't of 'the Cuban ansrchists who were' ar loggerheads with the 26 July Movement, but abo with anarchists around the workl, I did not take part in the argurnents that led to the, split [in the FAU]. For one thi(\g~the :F' AU at its foundation [in 1956] had been a mixed bag, theoretically - taking in the Fine Arts faculty, the Comunidad del Sur. the anarche-syndicalists, the libertarians from the Faculty of Medicine, and Luce Fabbri. Divergent ideas spinning off in djffering, directions, Those who put ~he case for them in the debates were sound ·th . 11"" I d .. cO:IDrad es WII: ,., great pOdl1lCa" nous an. rea '1'comrra tment to activism. B,ut t:here was no J unity in their thinking, ~etalone their action. fat a. time, anarchists. were very open and appreciative and had a positive vlew of a wide variety of shared experiences in eommuniiy life, hard ..fough~ strikescedvertlslng lcampaigns~ the experience of'commuael life and work, gaining ,R foothold in the barrio and denouncing price hikes, When the .cuban debate erupted, relations between the various ideological outlooks


became muchless cordial, Anarchist thought as it n en existed inspiredby B.a.kun111l and Malatesta, was not much use as a gluide to activity in a Uruguay on the verge of a cycle OIf events dictated by the fMf, w~'Chhe beginnings of a conservative s:llIift and a. slow steady perversion of democt
racy that, would evolve into dictatorship, Anarchiss thmnking 'was not 'taking this on board, H was lar,~y' genetic thinking~ invok;111& broad princip.li,es such as back the flight for freedom". The .~ 956 programme placed great stress .onthe .fight aga:inst statmsm-, against taxes, against clericallsm ,an-d militarism The move from 'the' broad principles of freedom, justice ,equanty to activism on the basis of a. prescribed policy line was something that anarchism failed to promote, It did not beHev,€ in change effected tbr-ough a political instrument such asa party Instead, it insisted Utat such things, were perverse 'exercises runpower' and' dlctatorship In emb.ry,o' ..


Cuban 26 .July Movement He was explaining the logic of the incipient revolution. .

Which at that point was irrepressibly popular democratic and an~i..imperialist. That day membraced {he (for an anarchist tetally heretical) notion that liberation might be' achievable from government At the 'time J was a rank and file an but politically illiterateactivist, but I stlll cling to that idea, 26


There was 1wttle in sllch lhi nking that was of any interest to me, whose concem was polltlcal activism within Uruguay geared to helping change reality mn Uruguay. Doing my bit alongside other folkfrom other social and political organisations. Joining forces: with other comrades who might not see entirely eye to eye with me, At ~lhattime at any rate classical anarchist thinking had not. taken on board the changes that had taken plaice within the state. The Uruguayan state 'was undergoing at period of invol ution No longer' was m't the j udge ... nd-gendarme state it had been in the 1'9~h cen~ufy. a h was a state that had grown up along paternallst lines, Later it drfited away from its [t,dk of democracy to authoritarianism and tightened its grip as a strait-jacket squeezing the whole of soda I 'life. That was the state 'we were bumping into everywhere 'we went, But since the late 1950s the syndicalists ~n the FAU had been push.mng a llne very d~ffere'I)tfrom classical anarcho ..syndicalism, It was 110 longer good enouj!11irust'to say uno truck whlh the representatives of the bourgeois state '. Dating right h,,,k:_ bJ the rule of Battle y Ordonez, the whol,e labour question tended to be regulated ~ ~;, And the unions had been built up from below. fighnng on those terms. .. ln 1960s UrugllaYJ like today panicipatien in the real struggles of the popular movement meant grappl ing with the issue of government. H was not enough just to invoke general, principles such as freedom and justice and some generic anti-statism; what, Wd,S needed was resistance to and defeat of conservative government And that required some alternative proposition .. Taking ,ij! stand on this ground, the unions - including the ones driven by FAU comrades and sympathisers - engaged ~n a practice and programme of struggle that tackled au' the big issues raised at national level: the programme of 111e1965 People's Congress, That programme could only be carried forward by grappling with issues of government And shortly after chat the issue inevhably srose of turning the lwgh( for that trade unIon and popular programme into a poHth:a!1 fight to drive government pohcy, In Uruguay tha~ move carne ill 1'965 with the People' s Congress and with the formation of the Frente

'I .. in 'the' process ofchange in be attempted and.or-ganlsadonwi matters were a. few of the: r - om; behind a spUt which, depending on who tells, 'the stQiry" W,as mOJ'1e or less violent III'f! FAU name and its .symbols were retained - albeit not without harsh criulc.ism from the n~l1_rfacti,on - by 'the:faction then headed by the 'old hands' Roberto Frananoend Alberto Marmno,.the 1b.rodlers Gerardo and Mauricio Gatti" Leon Duarte, 'Washington P'ere2, Raum

arb oni, and Juan Cad os Meehoso, Li ning up against them was the more ·communitarian' t}u!tion dingiog to. the traditional anarchist view" revolving around 'the Comuaidad del Sur and the Jibertari.an groups in the facuUy of Fine Arts (especially Ruben Prieto and Alfr'edo Errandonea) and Luee Fabbri, 'The ones who held on to the FAU name .souiht lncr:easing~y to gain ground on the' political scene by co-omm.ating with other grO~, 'bent on revolulion' Gust such an arrangement ledto the refloating of the newspaper EpoC'a) or working 'towards trade union unity (F AU 'i,eaders were to phI,), a central role in the establishment of
Ute CNT),; The ,deepening of the ideo~qgicaJJ processes flowing fromthe l'963, s,pl:it and the pojitical ap-proach per se meant that graduaUy several key "figures in the FAU began to dOYmp;~,ay the anarchist label .0,1 at .any rate to import 'elements' fir,om the more: ~mavlerkk. brands of Marxism. At. which point people began to talk about a UFAUwitb.out the i7uU stops" and dropping 'the ~ni.Ha~s. Following the entry into (he FAU in the late 19605 of'Pablo Anzalone, a student leader in those days [,... ,]1 .' TIle organisation 'Was no longer describing itself as, ,;;uDn:hist' and was focused on the' need to achieve a ".s:ynthesis' between Marxism and. anarchism, The thoughts of exponents, of the structuralist school of Marxism, people Iike P;oubmtzas and Althusser, began 'to be tossed around.end Gramsci later on. The ofplisation had a lheoreHca~. outlook that consisted of ineorporating elements from :revcdutionary Marxism whilst. hoMling, on to .Hbertad,an, ideological values, deriving from anarchism.but di.s:mn.cing itself ,c.~eadyfromanercho ..syndicalism, Can~s de'FA U (one' of the organlsatlon's publl ... cations back 'then) used to talk about the importance of the party and dlscuss what it should be m~e..lt was an organisation that prior:itis'81dl politics. ~~ ThEIl organisation, the "fAU 'without, Ihe {un stops', An~aJone says" :saw its,elf as a miNMe',n.gine driving work on ,8', nwunbeii of fronts, mto whWd, activists with (UttereD', ori,gins IcouJd drawn. This was mhe case with the ROE which had been devised inltlally as an UJ1nbreUa,for tl _ factions, making up the Fwghting Tendency {rC) - people drawnfrom the

Amplio [Broad Front] in the 'late] 970s.
We also discovered that wen-tuned political thinking Is vila~ lest we finish up doomed to some "never-ending replay", a cycle played out over and over again .. The sort of thinking 'that was up '[.0 the task of investwng 'things 'with meaning and of moving us beyond the situation in which \-ve were living and in which we were ourselves active, whatever lessons and reasons there were for moving ahead and carrying em the f gilt for victory. [ ... ] At the same 'time the creation of the PVP rang down the curtain on our anarchist pan .. W,ewere looking to set up a party (ratherthan a federation) and we inv~ted comrades 'from pol itiea ~backgr-ounds di fferent from the FAU;' s to. join i11. ,[ '••. ] .•. _ • in December ~9 63 the FA'll split. The: incipient Cuban revolution as w,eU as differing emphases on political work arguments about the centrality or otherwise of the working

MLN (N3J.iotl:a~ Liberation Movemenrt- Tupamaros), the GA'U or the MRO (Uruguayan It vohltiona.myMovement), A short ,t il11e before the 1913 coUJ6 many of the Slctivis,ts from th dent·--B.e~ ,- onar Frcmt: FER, o~~ m,fiuenced b)! "revo~udona :c~ Marxism', decided to join fhe ROE ,and, in~he medium, term th~s, was '~O' a~eleEate the ·,'lOC'e8S, ._

whereby the FAU e'vdved in!o ~somethln, other ~han' its original anarchism, The other ':wIDg~ of ~he movement was 'Ihe armed WiI~& as embodied by the OPR ..33, into' which members ofthe Workers' Revolutionary Front (FRT), close to the FER also flooded. "'We weremoviog towards a. party organisation and increasingly dd"fting away from anaechist 29




deflnltlons, but this re-think, which began in '~968- took place agai nstthe backdrop of very intense activity within trade union disputes, The process was, of course interrupted due to the repression and the imprisonment of lots of comrades, including morethan half of the leadership," Anzalone was to be ernong thos-e invo1ved in the setting up of the People 5, Victory Party (PVP) inl 9'75 and remains a member of ~t. Hugo Cores (7 November 1937-,' December 2007). From Brecha 17 November 2006. Roberto Fr,an,IDO Active in 'the printing trade since the' l~ 9305. A mind open to new developments and social change, His undogmatic outlook was an inspirationto younger FAU members, His steadfast militancy placed him on a blacklist with printing bosses and he was forced to do odd jobs to get by. A number of comrades - including Gerardo Gatti - learnt their 'trade on 'the linotype machines in his workshop, Wi th others. be tried to set up a FAU [n the 19305. And he was among the most consiste:n~promoters on-the establlshmeru ofthe FAU founded in 1'956. From the' outset he 'was wnfavour of the liberation struggles mounted during the 19'609.. And a critical supporter of the Cuban revolution from the word go. His trade union experience and his foothold in the populace as weU as his view of a politically organised anarchism was a highly positive factor in the internal I ife of the F'AU. A~be',rto M:a,rino Anarchist activist since the ~930s. Self-educated worker and acclaimed sculptor. Practical supporter of organised anarchlsm .. A man lomuct in with concrete effort's. He had a deep ..seared sympathy for _men of action on ~he'anarchist scene' ,along the River Plate and acted on those' sympathies.He was the organisation s quartermaster for many years. And managed the' first significant .,sums of moneythat helped with the' initial launch Steadfast, emphatic but not sectarian, Not fond of the long-winded but welcoming of 8JlY comrlbulions made, Also 1I10tfond of fai hrres to live up to promises end could be scath~rlg run his harsh but fraternal criticisms, One of the comrades who shaped theFAU~ he grapp,led with .a. range of ac't.v~ties wiith wonderful, responsibility and modesty Both from Eucha Llbertaria; Montevideo

OPR-33 emerged as the military wing of the r AU; it was one of a rash of paramm'~,a,ry!, armed struggle groups to appear in. Uruguay. U was essentially Em emanation of the FA U which determined its 'line'. h was not an autonomous orgaeisation [l was supposed to deploy armed force in support of class: struggles engaged iln under the auspices of the ROE, the front organlsarion of the FAU. As Sara Mendez of the FAUexpJai,ns: "The embryo of what was to become the OPR emerged from inside the FA U and pad of the OP'R was a section dealing with mass activity, in the student unions, the trade unions" working at
nelghbourhood level and w,i'lh social organisatiens; they wouldmake up' the embryo of a mall group' ( .".), then there emerged an embryonic mi,Utary apparatus the OIPR..33 which

OPR·..,l3 (Organizaelon Popular Revefuclonarta ... JIJ),

would 311 aU times be under political direction. The criticisms being voiced at tine time against the NIL said that its military machine could overrule the political element, whereUpOIl1the mounting of guerrilla operations would become the be ..all and end-all ... So ther-e was this real concern with ensuring that the direction came from the ideological" political side and that the two areas! mass activity and the military apparatus, should take: their lead fro m there,"

The FAU itself was, outlawed in late ~961" It. had some Foothold in the trade unions
and at neighbourhood ievel, a!llnong trainee teachers and secondary students and in the faculties of Humanitles and Medicine at university level, By the early ~910s over half of the FAU's federall council were behind bars. The OPR-.3J had only around JO clandestine operatives Inside mile ,counCI),. The ROE was an attempt to bulld a blioad..based class .. based revolutionary movement outside ot' part)r politics, It backed and largely carried ~he ~5 day general strike in ] 973 after the Uruguayan Communist Party 'withdrew ~Issupport and sought to open a d •alogue wlththe country's military rulers, ]6 July~96:9': OPR ..3,3 bombs and! completely demolishes the Banco Comerclal in Monte .. video [This according to Colonel 'Nmo' Gavazzo admined torturer]. 16 July B~6,'9':An OPR-33, team !ed by H.ugo Cores, '~ajds a mU5,eum and steals the histo:I'ic Orientales 33' flag, (symbol of Uruguayan independence): it has never been recovered, Cores was insistent that the flag was recovered by ~ Iino' Gavazzo fronll .. '··'PR·,33 homes raided in [976. 31 ltdy 1970;: OPR-33 'tries unsuccessfully to rob businessman Ignacio Parpar, manager of tl 'fl; National Brewery P~ant .29 December 1970: OPR~3J raids a number of private homes, forcing the owners (Candido Eizmendl, Pedro R. Core and Asdrubal Corbo) [0 sign over cheques which are then imJllediau.dy cashed. 1. January 197t: The F.AU releases a, tbeor tical study of the feasibility and conditi ns, lor successful armed resistance. This document, code-roamed COfEl and nmning to 5 + A4


pages, attempts to draw the lessons from the defeat inflicted on the Tepamaro campaign It is highly critical of'guevarist theory and of the theory of the guerdH.afoco.. 19 April 19'7ID; OPR-33 C6J'LTies OU~ ,9, wave of gun thefts. from Dr Armando Mutter, Javier Pietrioplntn and Ri cardo Rimini, among others. to boost its arsenal. 23 June 11'97]: OPR ..33, kidnaps, the businessman Cambon, manager of the FUNSA (Uruguayan National Tyro Plant) holding, him for ransom. I[Duf.ing, a sit-in strike at the fUNSA] companyguards are disarmed by OPR-33 personnel], ]:8 August 1~i7]: OPR~3J kidnaps Luis Fernandez Llado, the manager of the Frigorfflco Modele plant, '~1 October 197'1: An OPR raid 'Onthe ~EI Mago S.A firm nets. $4,053, 22 October 1971.: Upset by tendentious rnlsreporting OPR-33 kidnaps Jose Pereira O.6'mez. Director of the newspaper El Dla and secures a. retraction .. .29 Novernber Tv'Zl : OPR-33 kidnaps French reporter Michelle Ray.,,~he' wife of movie dir-ector Costa-Gavras. One theory suggests that this kidnapping was a set-up designed to generate media interest and provide an opportunity for. the OPR~.33 to express itsaims, 16 ,March 1972:: OPR~33 mounts a raid on the' Paris 'Television' 'firm and finds itself Involved in a shoot out when security forces happen an to the scene. ~n the gun..baru]e 'Willmar Martinez Dura. is killed and Marfa Rosa Mendez Diaz arrested, ~1 Ma.y Ig72: OPR ..33 kidnaps e-ntrepr-eneur and shoe manufacturer Molaguero in relation '[0 a strike. He is held for 10 days, After his release Molageero claims to have been starved and tortured, a charge denied by people' from 'the FAU-·OPR 33 sector ..Among his kidnappers, allegedly, was Jorge Vazquez later a member of the' Frente Amplio administration in

tIl tatorships ,of Ar~ntim, Uru,gua.y", Chile and Par.a.guay., The document :is.a dletaUed list II 4 named. O:PR-3,3 'w,anted' men and women, 22 of ihosenamed are: women. The l.ist II dudes details .of their whereabouts, home addresses ID numbers" aUases and, in some l' ises, past operations and th~ir roles within the organisation.

Alberto Mechoso (brother of JIWm, Carlos Mechoso) was cited as "one of currend;y 1III'ee leaders and stiU involved in ,miUtary activity". Pablo Leoni Farias Ledussea was ~ med as 'implicated in the Mobllguero kidnapping ,as were the brothers Franclaee Jorge II ·onj Marenco and Wa]ter Omar Leon Marenco, as weU as Carlos Alfredo Rodriguez MereadJer who. "received ransom money', Susana 'Wilda. A~ve,z Sosa de Marti,ne.z was, suppo.s'edto have 'kept ,I watch on the Molaguero place' U was noted that Juan Pablo Iticagno Ibarburu had his roms in the MLN (Tupamaros), whilst Robero Luis SUva
t.adiifio carne from the Revolutionary Communist P.arty (peR)., Adela.MaFi~ita VigU de .'Uva had passed thro~gh the 'MIR and 'the' peR before fmishing 'up in the O'PR-33 . AdaJberto Soba Fernandes was said to have been in charge of the m..iUtary leadership since 1975". After the OiPR..33 began to. mount fund-ralsing operations 00 Argentineat'll. SOU~ the

Uruguay. 28 J!lil~ ]972: OPR~33 kidnaps United Press Intern tional direct r [~ec1'01'Menoni,

fuguayan security forces were able to secure the co-operanon of Argentinean colleagues and established a clandestine detention centre IOn, the Au~omotores Orletti site. An attempt to kidnap Pepsi Cola executive Nelson Laurino. for ransom. failed and Pablo Leon Farias Ledussea and Anibal Griot were arrested but managed to pass, for ordinm)' c.riminals .. Another OPR-33 activist Omar Zina was arrested after another unsuccessful operation but equaUy passed as an. ordi.nary criminal. Following the successful Ol'R ..33 kidnapping of Federico Hart, a Detch-Argentlnean businessman (for whom a 1 0 mU~iondo.~~,arransorn
\\Va'S paid to O'P'R..3J) and the imposition ofmilitary role in. Argentina. as weli, Uruguay.am lurces were able to raid the homes and haunts. in Argentina of' many OPR-33 suspects, e .l.tec'Uv,ely dismantlmg 'the OPR- 33 apparatus, ,13 July 1976: Led by Jos'e 'Nino' Gavazzo, a jomn team of Uruguayan and Argentinean , .',id~ers.kidl_napped Sara Mend,ez (the partner 10m Gerardo Ga;tti's, brother :M'.auricio, Oa:I:ti) and her friend Acihi Mareeiro, Sam, woke up in the Automotores Orlettl hold:ingltort.~e amp ,flU dl \1 as not able to track down hermissing infam son unt.;] 20002. That son, born under an assumed name Simon Riquelo was taken from her and adopltion 8J'rranged for him" Beginnlng on 24 September 1976., ,I. four day joint operation by Uruguayan. and Argen ..· tlnean intelligenceand security forces rounded upsome 11,0 suspected ,OPR ..J3 members and asseciates. IvIany of ·the better known OPR-33 and putative PVlP leaders, such es a.aUil and Duarte". were br.t,etly he]d in the: Orletti centre Oldy 'to be '~djsappe!lred' and never heard from a pin.. 33

~n ] 973~ OPR-.33, which had had up 1(0 4 columns operating across the country, is down to about 300 underground activists .. lln the face of escalating r-epression, which has dismantled the much larger ML, ..Tupamaros threat, the decision is made to make a strategic v,ithdrawal of compromised OPR~33 personnel from Uruguay to Argentina, Argentina was not then under military rule and was a more attractive option. One column remains in Uruguay ~nder'ldnio De Leon Bermudez. April ]'974: OPR-33 kilts the businessma Manuel Tosio and a soldier Nelson Vique, who happens on to the scene, OPR-33 activist Jnlio Larranaga is also killed, October l'9'74:I'dmo De Leon Bermudez is killed in a shoot ..out by the Joint Forces I army and polsce) after shooting dead soft ddnks distributor Raul Cantloni,
The US ational


eeurity Agency has declassified a document drown up as part of Condor', the name given to the cross ..border co-operation between the


Of the '~m 0 suspects a.bdu.cted, 89 have never been seen again..~n ,a~ least two cases, infant children of the suspects were removed from their parents" Some myst,ery surrounds the' fate 'Of ransom paid for Federico Hart's release" Mi':1_ny argue that the money was recovered (but not returned) by the military In the wake of the' raids that smashed tile OP'R..33 organisatien.». Colonel 'Nino' Oavazze who has admitted his role in the Automotores Orletti detention/torture centre insists that the whereabouts of the ransom money and of the stolen 'Orientales 3,3 nag, remain unknown, but former OPR ..3,3 personnel insist that the money was recovered during the anti-OP'R-,J.3 raids and
most Iikely, the fia,g, suffered the same fate, Idilio de Leon known as 'the ]wnle gaucho' was a militant dedicated with utter devotion,

Roberto Larrasq :11VSISCO (The Ba.squ,e) IIh 'tbe seeurity services' OPR-.3] suspects US1he ls named as, Roberto Va],endn Larraseo ~)ulreda aka Gordo Arturo (Fat Arthur) and Grandote (Big Ouy)] He was involved in libertarian ~ctivlty prior to the foundation of the' FAU. And while li~l ve,ry y'~g set up ,8; propaganda 'team that en,gaged in very intense and ~ystem81dc w rk, He was, involved in the wade ,~eadjng up to 'the l,aunch of the FAU and later cUd bls I it as an activist from the barrio Sur and from the old Bakers' Union, premises on 'Ole Calle ;requi1a. from where various education and propaganda aeti '¥ides were mounted, EI Vasco (The Basque) VII,as a tireless worker during the early years of the fAD,. And fhis was a featm,e of his that lasted through time. He was unfazed by any 'storm' but. was
~~Wi\Ys co,nsisb~;n;t and qUliet~y determined, HI Vasco was a selfless sort, his ,ethical conduct at model 'to us all, His brotherliness, ,rl od bumour and optimism made a big 1mp3ct on wherever he carried lOut his ,8c,uvis-m. AU ~fthese features, plus his unparalleled modesty" helped him, introduce ,I ,style into 'the rfJr~rusation. Wre~ought, 110' stress this land ~m falls to lIS to do so because he was a comrade who favourred modesty; lie would tum his hendto an;y sort rof activity . And wastremendously versatile It would take too long 'to list the day-IO-day tasks that he carried out. He was present ,at the me tings where the formation of the R:OE and 'OPR~]3 was, considered and decided. He wasinvo]ved in the orgemisatw,onal s,~deof the launch of the OPR.. He took part in bank r bberies and in the' big 'kidnapping' in Argentina, After the' dictatorship heplayed an active part in the rre~~.a!Unch the FAU .. He never turned up his nose at .any .activit)' and of carried out every task with the same unassuming modesty. W~th El Vasco we lost a, chunk of the best ef'the entire history ofthe FA'U,.
2,4 ,July 1'71: The KUling O'fHeber Nie"to a:k.a El,MoNje' avage murder by dictalorshjp,~~"the headlines of the ROE '5 newspaper Compailero read

ldilio de Leon

commitment and selflessness to our libertarian cause. Be came from an economically very llilode'.st fami~y and was toughened in the struggle tor his. daily bread. As a boy he was subjected to a lot of exploitation and denied basic necessities and grew used to facing ordeals .. From personal experience he learnt the meaning of the words rebellion, justice, arbitrariness, freedom and a society with no oppressed, When he joined the FAU in 19 64 he broughtwith him a. degree ofexperience ilil 'labour and popular' activities, Be could be found by the factory gate sellingnewspapers or handing out some' manifesto or leaflet And be was tremendously active in the La Teja ateneo, In ~'964 he went on the sugarcane workers' march as the representative of the crganisation, And took part in the ROE's street demonstrations. He lived and was Involved in turbulent times for Uruguayan society. Times when popular struggles and cornbat organisations were making great head "",ra.y. Awarrarn was issued for his arrest in 1971 in connection with social and revolueionary activities and he went LWn~lergJl'ound. Only to be arrested the same year, Jailed in Punta Carreras, he broke out in the 6 September 197 ~ escape, And promptly resumed his activities with the armed front the OPR~3J, He was gunned down in a shOOt=01.1~ related to such armed actlvity on 29 October '1979,



itreported the death of Heber Ni,e~oaka El MonJe: Heber was a. 11' yeC&f old,


lad who

h d felt the brunt of tho system fer h1mself and, refused to back down. A student at fhe

Shippin;g.lndustry School a worker, he was, active :~nthe, ROE and in 'the FAU;, a1ways in. '(he (r,ay. supportin,g, dlis,pUf,e.ssuchas the ones at TEMand B.P COLOR. He wasmurde:r~d
by the slavish lackeys of'those eagerto keep the people cowed, Whj~s,t several very young comrades (aged 1,2 'to '14) were pkketwng near the nac In. !iuppor~of the workers ln dispute at the CICCSA paper-mill, two 'marksmen' ~nthe area targeted them for ferocious repression, opening 'fire on them. With some others who were working 0111 drelEC site, Heber started stoning the' shooters, The latter moved on to 'U:le lawn in front of the BPS and 'trircdshooting at them from therre. After a wUe the lEe was cordoned off by troops" large numbers, of whom arrived t penng up IOnthe Jnstitute (lEe) wi~h rifles and handguns, including some weapons fitted



with telescopic sights, Comr,ades at 'Work on the roof of the buHdlng, tried to. seek refuge ilnside the lEe..And had to pass, through a doorway leading fromthe rooftop!' As Heber was sl ipping through the doorway he was shot through the chest. The gunflre came from the roof of the BPS buiJding which was under construction at the time ..And as ifhis death was not enough; some 50 youngsters 'no older than 14 were rounded up .. and a nUJnber of people sustained gunshot wounds. But to make matters even worse" the wake held for El jWonj'e was desecrated w:i,mhtear-gas used and those a~'~,endedeing clubbed. b However steadfastness and courage was the people' s response to the outrages of the Pacheco dictatorship, The CNT called a general strike for M'onday 26, ju~y beginning at ].00 pm., annouocing that (the C T) had sounded the alann against the stance' adopted by the government and its police who; under cover of the emergency laws we're creating a climate of terror throughout 'the ~,andand our warnings have been proved true. For its part, th!e:FUNSA trade union stated: "Yet a.. gain the oligarchy demonstrates that the only peace 'it seeks is the peace imposed by fear, They resort to gunfire againstthose supportive of the workers struggles, just as they did with the CICCSA workers. ,[... ] Our union and its entire membership clenches its teeth. with anger" resentment and hatred for 'the liepression and the ruling classes who have robbed us of oUrr comrade Heber, Yet: again we declare our solidarity with the struggle and pledge that we will not rest until the oligarchy has paid for ~ts crimes every one of them," [... ] 1911 was .1 election year; 8lyear when the political class and bourgeoisie sought to 'pacify' the country and yet this sort ofthingwas going on. Little over' a month later (on '~September) the forces of repfression were to take the life of Julio EspOsIto at 'the'Chemis .. try Faculty, Such was the bourgeoisie s brand or pacification and its "democracy . The' ROE issued the following statement, :rejecting the brutal murder of '~El Monje' .. '. From the Worker ..' tudent Resistance (RE) to the peop~,e., comrade has perished. 0 muc~i' for' the pacification they preach, They talk of imminent: elections and of'their desire to br"ng peace to r1ecotsnry. TIle want to break the' people's morale and to put paid to worke rs -,struggles and seek to finish off the peopl e' s initiative by gett~ng them to drop a piece of paper lmo a ballot box. So that attention focuses on the famous 'political judgement' that everybody knew was not about to come off. Other heroes must take up Heber's place so that the struggle can carry on. There v ill be no peace in 'this country as long as the people goes hungry and as long as the: rifles of the military can)' on targeting the grassroots; they have claimed the life of a comrade. A militant of the people and of the RESISTANCE. one who backed the C]CCSA workers. But 'the fight goes on, Urnil we wimess the destruction or the last remaining vestiges of this slinking regime which onl!)' the organised force of the people can topple.Wli CALL 'PON EVERYONE: Hold flrm, Carryon with the fight. Carryon with the struggle. Let us unite and stand shoulder to shoulder 'inthe struggle against the oppressors. And taking up the atchword that he made his so much 36


he gave his, Hie for the people, let us teU our com.rade:. UNT[L TI-IE FrNAL VJ 1I0RY UP'WITH THOSE WHOI STRUGGLE." 1[.... ] The red and black 'fla:g ,and the flag of the ~,3j orien,tale's' [the symbol oftbe fathers of Illrup.yan independence] accompanied him to his resting ,pi ace' and to that final fareweU Iii the cemetery, An enUr,e people walked wUll him with 'the sense of loss that 'the mur-der of 'I of our finest brings. Our Organisatlon [the FAU] lost one of its best militants, his youth and his promise and aU his, n~vo~UitioDary belief and great appetite for snuggle. After his death, the ROE's student youth groups bore his name.

Gerardo Gatti (193,1",'11 976,1) I he anarchist movement ln Uru,guay has been a. special case, Especially dming the stormy ecades in Latin America ~ the 195.os, 1960,8,and 1970s. In ]956;stler a, leogUly pr-ocess
'Uruguay,aD Aoorchis,t

tl'~ debate

and plenums, the Uruguayan Anarchist Federation (FAU) was set l1p,fed by two n in sources - the Libertarian Youth and the 81 Cerro-La Tejada dis,trict Ateneo, Outstanding among, the younger generation that was tomake upl the libertarian segmem of Ihe left in Uruguay was Gerardo Gatti, officiaJllly recorded as one of the "disappeared dur'ing the genocide carried out in the Southern Cone" as is his daughter Adriana. r.,.. ] 1mthe wake of the Cuban re'VOI~U~-Lon nd the process that it unleashed across the eonti .. a 111 nt Uruguayan anarchists adopted a stance in favour ofpopuar and an1j..imperiai:is,t 'Ill!lses. From lOll 'to 1965 this, red 'to intense argwnents. about 'what was going on in Cuba. nd lts itl,p~icati,o'ns far Latin America .. The split: that came in the ranks, of Uruguayan marchism - the fracture' ~as the his rorian of 'the FAU [J uan Carlos M,echoso] describes it cruaUy centred upon the Cuban issuewhich provided the' badge and the pretext bur. more far-reaching issues were at ,slake:: whether anarcm.slm ,s;'-,Lddta'k_e a class ..based , pproachor was instead at whoUllhumanistic and thus multi ..class stance, ?P:l ..... in fact thls dne'mma affected mot just Uruguayan anarchists but anarebism in general 'heneV"ell' promotion lor its, ideas brings it contact with the masses of the people: Sp'a.in 191J16~1'g'39, dll~ing,the events in the Ukraine in r',e'Yolu:rionary Russie, du_ring the anHfascist trugg],e iIlltaIDy" etc. The factionthat broke awayft-om the FAU then formed the ALU (Uruguayan ,Libenar,Ii mlA1Uance) a bodytbat petered om. within months even 'tbolJ,gh it was, heavily influenced hy [theRocker-ire tendency ~hat tuned into rlldjca~ liberalism in a Cold War oonte.X1t. The fact is that, from the Spanish revohaion on there have been two reading of l!JI1IUiChDsm ~ the class-based reading and the liberal il1i~er'pr'etadon. The fWs1 'friction between the two carne at the rw A 'congress 'in 1953 where a major'ity 'rejected, the theses of I ,elmu~ Rudiger, the delegate 'from the Swedish SAC. Of 'the Spanish civil Wal ,ana.,c:his,t



leaders. there is no questlon but that Juan Garcia Oliver (d. 1980) pushed the anarchocommunist ~ine, run the early ~9'505,. the Rocker-ire current hoped to get libertarians to embrace the anarchist refo~msm of the: SAC in Europec jhey withheld funds from the ansrchocommunists (Diego Abad de Santillan Fidel Mire, Jose Peirats and the like) who influenced the Spanish CNT-.in-exHe (] 965 saw the initiation of conversations between the so-called IfUgo group; and Franco s vertical syndicates, an episode later referred! to as
i i


alongside lots of other comrades ..In 1973, the underground apparatus was relocated to' Illuenos Aires but there he was picked up by Uruguayan military i:nte.mgence and taken I tck to M'onre:video where he was incarcerated in. Orleni, the d:ictat.o:ship's secret concen~ I utlon and torture camp. B,y If}76 be wasamong the disappeared. ~~lhis later years be had n ouraged the ,estabUsnment of another libertarian sociaHsr~ganwsati:on, the PVP (~J ple's Victory Party) to grapple with the realitles of the fascist dictator~hip and ·the pros,pects :For the pest-dictatorshipperiod.

Clncopuntismo' ).

1933 (he died in . lew York in 1958J, Rocker's thinking changed greatly from the radicalism ofhis years in Germany, the rise of . azism and reports from Russia having prompted hlm 10 hold his tongue befor-e the war, For instance after referring to the 'working class' in his draft of the [\VA Princip~,~s 0'922). by 1945 he drilfted away from a class-based anarchist stance and published The: lT7:flut!nce of Alu;oluHt Thinking in Socialism ~ where he mistakenly equates the nQ~~,onf o

~I' after moving to the United States after fact,

~.' loreal Castilla (Venezuela)
Labels bourgeoisie's power is fleshed ou~ through and ama~gamated ·wUhthe State, There is


~nation' ,and "race' with the idea of ~class', ~,eavingan opening for anarchism to fimsh up

no way of transforming society wi~hout the destruction of the bourgeois state and because WI.: are fighting for a classless socie~ we warn to see the ·eruimination ofthe whole bureau ..
'r~ililcstate machine, all division into rulers and ru]ed.Dovm ·lhrcHJgh ·the ages, the priviI B;ed,ofwhatever brand, horrified by the prospect of losing theirpr:ivil,e~es!, have always l'I,,'~irnedthat this is. impossible. Just the way it used to be said thatthe wodd was flat at

as a strand of US llberaljsm, Many years later in an interview with Anarr.:ho-syndicalisl Review in Chicago ~ Chomsky conceded that. Rocker had eventually accepted capitalism .. TIle same thing happened with other anarchist thi.~ers from the Rocker school, like Santillan, Souchy etc..SantiUan was perhaps the most pathetic case as he ended tUs.days ln the arms of holy mother church, The author was a ~ot younger back then bu~ he can remember perfectly well that in the anarchist veteran circles he used to frequent, especially those who had .~ntheir· ..OlLlml,.· r day been direct action-ists in Barcelona, Buenos Aires ,and Montevideo, ~Souchy~j.snl;'·had become: a rea.~bate noire. Souchy it was 'that international anarchism dispatched to Cuba at rhe time of the Cuban revolution of ·19'6~.~le publishedtwo pamphlets on Cuba that were translated into Spanish bythe Argentine chapter of the Santillan faction: his conclusions. were very ambiguous but predicted the inevitability of USSR support. for Cuba. ]t also helped ensure that th~ French and ltafian anarchist federations passed motions condemning the Cuban revolution. The panish CNT ..in-exile, run by revolutionary anarchists at the time, issued DO public s~a.~ement ofany sort of which ~am aware. __ Anyway Gatti was one of the fM'OI1t runners in this class strugg~l,e wWthi.il Uru~.!!Jayan anarchism. The second' FAU emerged from the fracture and was bound UPI wath the workers' movement with a po.lk: of a Iliances an updated line f r· volutionary violence. and a rejection of the very dear cut and more lnmenisric, multl ..class approaches Ilha~we

~uare:. It. .is our belief that when it: comes to the political administration of soci'elty private Ir perry should be done aw.ay w~th"a.nd that we should ,rn.ij~paid to a situation where some L"{ ulmand and others obey. ounells and federations of workers' committees. and residents' cUI1l11i1iiftees; eommuaes or rw.aJ~peasants' cotm.cils.... these are some of the different ermats dUlough which the workers have organised themselves in, order 10 defend revolu ..
processes against the counter-revolutien within or aggression from witlhout and in Il I'd. to administer,. Qf1chestratt and run the life of societyas a whole, 'Our view is that
Ili'l nor)'

today would call ~~beral. .. .. . . .. ln ~968 the FAU was outlawed and forced underground and forced also to equtp itself with the self-defence mechanisms needed to survive the attack from the bosses. Out of this there emerged ,8 range of initiatives and Gerardo Gatti turned up, in the best thought-our
.38 (oUF,--&."f'tO/J
'rft. ~\

'" _le·ly's bodies should be buHt upon these foundations. Effective workers' power, the' ratest ,amount of (nrect management, the least amount of indirect representation with no snrmof~lg_§"dlfferenHf)J1s~ no prebends or any sort and no privUeges. That is what we mean. Ihy people's power. None of tbis ls new. For those ideals, workers arouad the world have ~I,iad ,r'ev'()lu'~oflS". celebrated v~ctur.ies and suffered defeats. And for upwards, ofa Ic,entury ~ w, :men drawn from the working c~ass and others who, whj~st not deriving ·ftom lt, have "\:uutindy placed themselves in its service, have been erganising plots" drafting mamifes .. ~nesandcellectlng funds, for the workers' cause and showing solidarity, Experiences were 'CUI wng together and we workers have been ,comiqg. up with explanations for our misfertcnes ..

Knowing nothing of that history, witho~t having read the same books and indeed ·~wimoutkno:wjng any such explanatlons, around the world every day milllons upon mi mons. of human beings who suffer buUywng yearn for equaHty:;those who hunger yearn

,U eat those who go cold and have no roof over their heads and nowhere to shelter, who

-rrn..lbt.lJ: ~ Pt(l",(DAA


~~~l./En .A[;D\i ,~,


endure humUiaUon, crave brotherhood and [hose who knov that they are ignorant crave schooling, for their children at any rate .. In a very often vague fashion; sometimes giving wt different names the .mijod'~ of those who know suffering" dictatorship, misfortune, despotism and poverty aspire to 'wen ..

TIle comrades from the FUNSA [National Tyre Plant union] arrivedto offer their
support and make their experience in unien-buikling available to the Seral Un~on. Once the S oral Workers' Union had been set up with the 30,8·..strong factory workforce, Leon ~)uarte was seconded 10 U because, of his experience in the handling of at bitter dispute ... M.oi,aguero stuck by the awee:m:ent tor nine' days, Then, he threatened to. close down the ~,a'ctory if he was Jloi.n,gto be required to honour the agreement, To show that he meant 'Iusiness, he' sacked thirty junior employees and the two mechanics whose 'faces he did not like, Ferthefirst time he' was facing organised workers and for the: 'first tirue those workers were in a position to respond On the thirty-first day of the strike, every single item of the 'l treement was upheld by the natieral authorities which expressed surprise at the powers It ~ "fh to the shoe factory owner and the latter's contempt for the labour laws, protecting his workers, But contempt was all the rage at the time: laws imposing obligations on the Seral ( mpany were ignored and the workers got a taste .of what it was ~ike to suffer persecution fur union ising. Literally: the authcrlties endorsed their rights but back in Santa Lucia I when!:' the Seral plant was located] they 'Were 'treated mke prisoners, Whh a firmness UI usual ina union only three months ill existence, d ,_Seral Workers Union unanimously decided: "~Weall. go back in, or nobody does", The army and police (who had not yet taken lu referring 'tbeR15e~'YeS, the Joint Forces) embarked upon a task that did them no credit, as ALer a number of painfu~ episodes, workers were roughed up' and camps razed '10 the ~ro'Und.The workers' response was to set 'Out. n the March of'Dlgnity. o '~15everythlng is in place for the M'o~atgUiero kidnapping?" Gerardo natt.~ asked at a
11I\!t:ting f The Board [this was how the 'top echelon of the FAU was referred to]. ~~ of just yet: there are a few details to be' sorted out in the corning days", was the

being, solidarity and understanding between human beings.
No lofty raison d;,eta~, or government, party, organisational, factioeal or movement considerarion lies at the root of or provides a rationale for OI.U struggle. At the root lies pain and the aspirations of the zreat human race to which our people belongs. Because' we know that man is. a social animal we want to see his ability grow and placed in the service of humanity t because 'we want an decisions affecting society to be made and resolved socially, because we: want wealth to be vested not in the individual or in the few but in society, in all of us - this is why we call ourselves. socialists, Because we have mort': confidence in agreement than In i.. mposition 10 understanding rather than in coercion, in freedom rather than in authority. 'Which is why we are
]ibertarians, But 'we have been learning that sometimes labels can be misleading, Which is why we

do not care to hang a label on 'the struggle of the oppressed. There 'may be folk who go by some description but do not quite know what they want, and there may be others flying different colours (or not e:venkno,wrnng which colours 'to. fly) who. are after the same thing. 'Comrade' is a label we hang on all who struggle for these ideals without self-seeking,
according to their'

lights and means,

Uruguayan anarchist and disappeared' opponent of'the dictatorship, Gerardo Gatti

Buenos Aires, June ..July 1975
The FAUver' ion of tory oflhe ' eral dispule and M.ola:gu.ero 'Iddna'pplng: [.as p,ubl'is,hed .in r.rl,cl"aL,iberta'I';a'Jl Seems to me that Adol'aguero, the son of the owner; himself an octive share ..holder in the r:OI'npany, )vlio has been fn'su.lting 'workers and groping the femal.e staff and actively encouraging a crackdown 0'11 the factory's workforce. is due jor ,a kidnapping. If may well be that we have to look beyond trade union action/or a resolution to this dispute", h was runroughly ~he3e terms that Lebm ~'E1 Loco' Duarte put to ,the 'FAU the sort of support that he reckoned should be available as an option. And so the gathering ofinteUigence began .. 1. was no, easy undertaking, given the distances wmlvolved and 'the initial vagueness of the informatlon. Things dr31gg,ed 'On, little by little, In the end, after almost 20 days they settled on a couple of locations where Sergio Molaguero could be ~~ifted", The details were investigated as thoroughly as they were l able, lt was eventually decided that the operation should be carried out on a local rood

from the OrR operatlve in charge, "There is no, question but that the time for.this 11U:lilli,eail operation to be carried out is near. The dispute is ready to collapse and we cannot 11"1 lt such a defeat 10· h spells defeat for that union and has wideri mplications, W,e have m ~f1 strike asquickly as we can" (he added). ~"We reckon it: could be on in a couple of weeks. The team hancUin,gthe opelmlion hL already been picked ..

TIle term "comm n ~,' was neve employed. 111_ preferred 'ten", was team'; the libertari n approach required thai. The expression' commando' was only ever used jokingly,
Ihe vast :rnajor:ity,if mot all, of those of worker extraction dwd whatever they had to do but

along which Molaguer() made his homeward journey on certain days and at certain times, 40

~ rr 'posH)' embarrassed them. .~'orry comrades from Seral set off on 8J march from Santa Lucia, but, village after viU, ge ~h,ei,rnumbers grew. But. so did the deployment of the forces of repression, ~n Las Pil lras themarchers were dispersed, Bu~ cutting across, country slwpping.across farmland und hiding OUI! in the hills, tile comrades managed to get. as far as La Paz. Eleven of them ...ere arrested there and brutally beaten. The miHtary were out in force and had very clear rders: this march must not get beyond La Paz. But it did. Under cover of dark, cutting ,'I,CroSS, ountry and through farms and laying low in the hills, the workers - by now c


200~stroAg ....arrived in Pensrol. There they received a warm welcome from the rlJJi.~liJ11ion which was generous with its solidarilY support and material assistance and that same day the march moved 011" bound for E~ Cerro. As it arrived, the factories shut down; the comrades at the Portland Cement plant downed tools and joined the column. By the time it reached the town of Carlos Maria Ramirez, the marchers numbered almost a: thousand, There they set up camp, And a pathetic sight i!t was, There were no trees and no. shelter .. Bumthe forces of order were determined to son out the: problem; their response was to raze the makeshift shelters, destroying everymlng and burning the very footwear that was much the worse for' wear fromthe trek, "The job 'could be pulled off there' that was the spot and as we waited 'we hid min this ditch welting for our comrade on the 'walkie ..talkie to alert us 10 his approach.' Comrades fromthe team were watching the "pick-up' location, missing no detail, The pollee nniforms that would be worn by those who would stand out on the road to. balt 'the traffic wer-e ready, Since "roadolocks were commonplace just then, the reekoning was that this was the best way of stopping his car" Every door in the neighbourhood was open to the marchers at the time and again the solidarity from their fellow workers was obvious. Using whatever they could find- with tarpaulins rescued from rubbish tips and the sheets loaned to them. a fresh encampment was set up iln the grounds of the church of San Rafael, But there ton they were attacked .. They were beaten up and dragged away.the number of'those on the' Match of Dignity who. saw the inside of cells and the worst treatment that can be inflicted upon somebody, Three of those sHU a~ large began a, hunger strike. "Yes, no. later than tomorrow night, very tiling s in place" El Abuelo 'told the gathering of OPR operatives (,"ChtJ'la' wasthe code [lame u ed when speaking ~n public or over the phone about these matters). The ~imllingcoincided wi'{h a meetirl,g ,of leaders of the above: ground p811 of tine FAU (or Alejandro as it was referred to for security reasons)." t~We'jn keep' in tOUd1, 1 m going to be a~ the Alejandra meeting and £.1 Loco will be' there too, waiting. It is essential that it go ahead then. The union and. the ROE worked flne and fought well but in thls instance, if'the Chola operation does not come off; things will backfire badly. Let's doas follows: we tl stick with EI Loco and Mauricio and wait in a cafe after the rneetieg and we'll give you a call" Gerardo sa~d. Early morning 11 May 19'72., "Didthey ring?" Gerardo asked over 'the 'phone. "No, not yet, but there s still time, Can back In an hour and 'we sha~:i see. "The wah was a tense one. Had they? Would the')"? The 'phone rang again and 'l voice said wearily; ' Martin here. W,e,'r,eout on. the spree' with Orlando; he s mad about the' ladies.' Serglo Molaguero .~1!.S 'in our power. This ushered ~na new stage in (he labour dispute", armed action can advance so many other' things, Later we found out 'that everything had gone off smnootWy with no problems of note, Molaguero's car had pulled tip', w~th OUt comrades dressed aspolice and deployed

up~)roprm~ely. M,olaguero had not been 'botherec[!' initially. It seems that once the car had JUliliedup and our comrades were on top of him he smelt something fishy ..He was quickly I~ erpowered anda weapon seized :ttom the glove compartme:nt He was blown to carry a um, Then came the transit through pre-selected streets. Moving'tluou&h the streets was not l ~~s,yo.rthere was, a, sizeable' ponce presence out there'..But the operation Clune otlwithout f II I .tcl1 and ~he'tooth" - as he would later be referred 'to - ensured that the Setal dispute ~t.}k a differenttum, making a political impact drlven by trade union 01' popular struggles I k n '10 the ~rnmmt.

;n'l! demands

p,ul to ,Molugue'fo senior

lhe fb~l.owitlg day, after a meeting to thrash out the details and wbat was, to be done next, U, Orgaaisation comacted the Seral Company's lawyer who was also a friend of

~M I',~guero senior; his addr-ess ,had been kept .handy for use .. 'I h flrst message we sent read essentially as foUows::
'Montevideo. 12 May 1972 'I -

~), Ithe I ~th you. had a phone ca:t~ from


'We Indicated thml since eady that morning we

I uJ been holding Sergio Hugo Molaguero Brescia. and we named the locatton (the. female ~nU Is at the Bar E1 Jague) where said person's ddvin,g n'cem;:e could be found,


:RE,ght e hlid down two conditions to be fulfilled before we get down to brass tacks. w ,~ 20.,000 pesos to be handed over to e'very employee of the Seral ,company working in IlunilLs on 1 August 1971: we are allowing you 48 hoursto do this,

~1 I

('hih.:llli'e~"s earto be set aside for the dlUdr'e:n of Santa Lucia city. W,e stated that we g I,~d fiunisll funhe.r details about 'this.

II, ~e they are: III·~nd...)·· ··ood ,fi r Schools No 1.40and No l56,

~,) for thechlldren


resident h1 ~he ~] AbJ00jal b.'~;rri()~~50 pairs of children's shoes, izes; ~ (_ kfJ on. : ume: 15 . ,aim, of j ans same; ~50 wa.terpr,oof jackets

I me;

ernentetiolehind 'the G'ravie'yar-d) barrio, 100 sets of lll- I.~forementioned goods (shoes, topcoats, jeans, waterproofs, school tunics, etc.) \ Ie . ay again that these messages are to remain. confidential between yourself Senor I II 11 llllu:ro and ourselves. 'I J it uoods indi'cated should be purchased from ,I variety of stores in Santa Lucia Idly. And hl.iUldbe delivered to the aforesaid Schools and barrios by Tuesday 16M'ay" IIhb$ message showed a signaaure that was to be e,mp~oyed in all deaHngs related to the

] _() ~. lmo I umlcs, same .. I-O~·lhe' 'hiMr,en of the Aldis del

'H:erconcerned -. Orkmdo Pieri.


Next another message was delivered deaUng ww'thother matters, U staled as follows: CO_ DITIONS ro'R RES'OL 'TIO~- OF THE U' ,D1RLYING PR.o'BLJ&M 'I) An end to the dispute, ,at the Seral company; the firm to reach agreement with the Seral StatT and Workers' Union. 2) Publication ill fo,ur newspapers in tthe clty and in four newspapers in Canelones (Santa Lucia included) of the terms of the agreement arrived at. Said insertions are to be paid for by the company, signed by it and then endorsed by the trade union, I'll the city editions i,~ should .appear on page 5 of the newspapers Ahora (V4 page in size), El Dia. El Popular

,\~I of these demands were met: the back-pay requested was paid ov,er~the union was recognised, aU of those sacked were re-hired, the donations to SChOO'~S, and neighbourhood children were made" the FAU received its damages and Sergio Mol.aguer.~ was freed
~ ,Iort~y afterwards,


the' second last kidnapping carried OUit in the country. Throughout the time when Molaguero was being held, there was escalating repressionand the streets were This

and Ef Dfariu I( 1/8 of a page),
3) Once we have verified publication of sa~d insertions we shan immediately forward details of the financial damages payable by the company' it shall amount rough~y to the cost of meeting the conditions set out earlier in our first message. 4) Once work has been resumed and the terms of the agreement actually implemented and adopted, the company should announce this in the press and over the airwaves, 5) Once items]: and 4 have been carried out, Sergio Hugo Molaguero Brescia's detention will end whhin 72 hours, Orlando Pieri NB. We say agaln that 'these dealings and terms are matter to be ke'p~ strictly between yourself, your cllent and ourselves,
A message on ] 2 J ul:y reported that Molaguero had mel the demands put to him and, added a few flnalconditions set bythe FAU" This ws, extract; an

l ristling wi~hsoldiers,

'We said second last' because the FAU carried out one more kidnapping - of the head ,f a news agency - 'in order 'to rebut the accusations made by Molagaero, This too is part of our Organisation's rich heritage,

f rom 'VVWVIi!, espectadol".comJnota,php?~ dN ota~4 7626 l·\~IrgioMoleguero, now a bigwig in the Colorado Part)! of Uruguay t makes much of his I~tV~n.g boon an innocent victim of a terrorist kidnapping, He denies having had any . mnecrlons with right ..wing extremism" presen ..s the company and himself as victims of tusiders stirrieg up unrest and st~n claims to have been kept in a we~1in poor condmtions~ I (I rly fedand subjected 10 beatings, He is to launch a book of rnemoi rs, Part of the reason I(u his media p:rofUe is this plus the fact that he alleges that the brother of ~he current l 'mguayan prime minister was a member of the OPR commando that held him. PS] Albel'tiO Mecbo o1[endez aka Poche (1'936,..1'9'76) Ilhi,li tetter ~~ written while he as being .held by thft' 5t.h Art.lliery Regime'll in .. ' tter from
PiriSOll by

Montevideo 12 July 1972 Sr Jose Hugo Molaguero Given then: I) rille two preconditions set ~ in '.he message of I.2 Ma~ ~972 - before addressing the nub of die' issue, have been met. 2) That 'the insertions giving notice of the ending of the Sera] dispute have appeared in accordance with what was agreed we hereby state: '1) When work resumes and the clauses of the Agreement (with the' Unmon) have been implemented and honoured as normel.jhe company isgoing to have 10 declare this ~n the press and o\'er the radio. 2) Details oft] e 'financial damages payable by the' compallilY, wi]] be forwarded. 3) Let it be said with utter cJarity that the mechanics of the delivery of 'the' flmllflcW:al damages must be known onlyto Sf, Jose Hugo Moloaguere, or fairng 'U1SJt, :'Usbrother, J


J, trucks beside the Northern Cemetery .. He tater escaped and fled to Argentina ,from

wit. ;, It hewas obduatea back into Uruguay and ~disappe.aredI.]


SIJ~]ns I n L~'lit ~ tween (I Au, 11.~ an nou l've ~ rut much much more than J learnt 1..1 om II ~ 10. y-';~l . ~ s[1 rI~In 1, unl'. arretas and it trikes me I,ha~ ]'~ve lean-It much more than

35 years r my ~Ue. n the one hand there's my experience inside the Ih rrac .~ lac' 10 face with thu~goons, and the helping hand from my comrades. Pilus what un' a rberwards on the outside. The night after '[escaped I saw my picture on television, I . L wanted as a known associate of .... and there wasn't a word said about what IIII I re Uy heppened; Later J was able to read further wanted lists, : 1y compaolera· s name the nr

II -u ~dl one such list. J discovered that the house I shared with my mother" my companera
md my children was. sealed off and guarded by the Joint Forces, I learnt ,that a servicemen \ lth several stripes, had stated :tha~,the house would be handed back only if I gave myself

Sr. Luis Mo~a,guero. [. "J
7} Upon irnplementation

of these conditions Molaguero Brescia shal ~cease",

within 72 h urs the detention of Sergio


And this is the intense experience shared in one way or another by hundreds of thousands of Uruguayans. Lots of children have been cut off from their parents because dle)' ere prisoners or because they've had to go elsewhere in search of the work that cannot be found here .. Many a mother does not see her children because they are wanted or because they work from sun-up to sun-down helping to halt the wave [of repression]. Many a woman reaches the end of her working life without a roof oyer her bead because they cannot payout. their miserable pensions 'OF' because the rotten minds of the hangmen takes revenge against them for the defiance ofthe chru~dren that she' managed to rear with

laner a friend of Simon Radowitzky. IGommsorowas wi.tl1 t:i rra Y' ,Lfbe'rtad in S:pain for six months .~n ~'9l6-19'37 and associated with the review 1~\I"erzo published in Uruguay after he. Cotelo and Bcttero f,etu:med to Urug'LBY" Pedro II urr,6and Juan Rua, Uruguayan libertarians, were in Spain also and killed durlngthe May
I ) t,YS '~93'7. A report in Lucha Libertaria (1999) on the foundation meetingofthe
FAU says that a

Ind Carlos Maria Fosalbathe

lIluutber of groups and individuals attended supported and encouraged 'the launch of the F U. A Comm iss,w for 3. Uruguayan. Libertarian Federation' (which included Jorge R. on

such love'.

And ~n the face of all this, what other course have we? In the face of an this, how are we to make life worth n ving? There's only one course, only one way to live without shame; fightrung. Helpiing to glee '~:O ilt that the defiance spreads further, helping the victim of persecution and the unemp'~oy,ed10 join forces, helping the "subversive' and the exploited worker 'to see each other-as comrades and to learn through struggle that they face the same enemy, For all of these reasons" comrades I want you to keep' me a place ... for all ofthese reasons 1 shall return soon. Liberty or Death .. 'Poche '
From the FA'U review ,Solidaridad No 1.6(no date given),

1Iut'tin~z, whoever he was) had been busy in. the run-up to the launch in October] 9 56. iUcl.€'gates from La Protesta in Buenos Aires. were present (Gregorio Nassoand Jorge I I'~";) and Fernando. Quesada and Enrique Palazzo, attended on bemalf of the Argentinean I ihcrtarian Federation, FLA. Someone called Jus (no further details) spoke on behalf of the I\CNT nucleus' (presumably the Spanish eNT as the Uruguayan eNT was only estab ..

II lu~d in the ID'9'60s.)Also present were Roberto Frasnano (n~~presenu~ CeRA .. the

merican COJI1j~ineflt,a.l Anarchist Liaison Commiss:i,o.n) Wild Alberto Marino (representing

I,L: AlA. -International Anarchist Archlve-LibrMY). A big influence seems 'to have been Ihc Agliupacion Voluntad set up in 1938. Messages of suppo.rt 'for the new FAU were
I "l'

lived from the CRIA (Anarchist Internatlonal Relations Commission) and the Mexican n:u'chjst Federation] In the 1940s,~ llbertarians espoused a nen-aligned position in the contest between the

I \11

Tile FAU': F~ft),Years In The Fig,ht For Socialism And Fre,edo:m, The firsr signal of an anarchist ideal in Uruguay was the appearance in the newspaper E:l Uruguay of a translation of Prnudhon s The Federcll P:rinc.iple in 1863, W',e have documentary evidence as early as. 1872 ofthe presence ~nthe country, of Internationalists' - workers. banded together on foot of the ideas of 'the f,WMA (I ntem ations I 'Wo.rki'W1g"' Men s Association) and the very first r31.IJy by the ~WMA s Uruguayan section was held in ~ 8i'5~ drawing a 'crowd of I 500. The ~WMA emeraced a range of outlooks ranging firom

:lreat power blocs, the capitalist and 'the communist, a. stance mat came: to be known as.

I·· 'Thi:rd Position, which was s.talIDchly championed in s.tudent and ~aboW' circles, B.u~ by JI II~l th FORU 'had, all but, petered out, with libertarian labour activists retreating into I'll iii unions, whilst on the student scene they carried out activities within the Students' l lul m" ·13.EU)and tried to connect it with the workess' movement,
"fl"~ FO,NIU/tltioli

federalism to republicanism to anaecho-couectivism

and Marxism, and the following year

saw the establishment of the Uruguayan Regional Federation CFORU) as a fu~~yned~d ., . section of the I.WlvLA.. In the 1'9305 llbertarian activists opposed the landewners' dictatorshi'p and were active in the workers' movement and in strikes and offered their support to 'the antifascist, revolutionary s'truggle of the Spanish CNT a number .of Uruguayan mill:itants fighting on Spanish so:j'~~ hese comrades set up the Libertarian Youth in Uruguay upon their return in T
'19'38. [Many of the FAU student members carne from the Medical Fa.cull!y. By no coinci-

was slgnlflcant labour mobillsatlen in Uf\uguay, with impor111111 strikes in II,:VL.:ry sc'ct, "r. In 152. in the' - i erro and La Tej,81 m:ighbourhoodS, the E~ t ' '1,1"0-1..[1 "Ii, 1 I·~. A ~ "t L! I' W 1" II 1 UlJC~ xl ~ y mi,litants who. had earn d their spurs standing I IIpo I nil I. l k I,l wn on st"like s. ,I' Ateneo w s funded by dues paid by 220iilltial II 'lIUh~~'~, nnd h~_ ame ,a.raUying, poim for the organising trade union and soelal actlvities ,_ ~Ill! ti:l~di 'pUles, opposition to fasclst gangs, take-overs, trade uruongatherings,. debates III I -du 'llirm screening,movies, holding dances ..'. II .I.dy 11955 the newspaper Volun tad carried the very first call for the ,es~ab.~:ishlnent of IIII II~" .F·~~inionfor Uruguayan anarchists and from then on the liberterian gFiOUpS and 11 I'lilliisutjons set about making plans for a National Anarchist P'~lenum that lasred for

ly 11-. early ~C)I . o· 'ih

o!,'"e FAU

dence .81 number of a narch is £s, were' prominent ln the SMU (Uruguayan Medical Union)people like physicians Jose B. Gomensoro Roberto Cotelo, haemesologisr Vir-giUo Borrero

U • ldy 8. month,

The foundation: congress, met IOn 27 and 28 October i956 and, resolved 'to, ,e!Jtablish the I· d c,radon Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU: Uruguayan Anarchist Federation) whicb was,


fi'om the outset up to ilts neck 'in the labour and social strugglesthat were 'Starting to take' a dramatic tum around the ,country. From the outset, the FA U 'was. determined to fortify the unions and work towards labour unity." criticising reformist deviations and the ~ernptation to tum the 1Jn~onsinto transmission belts acting out party polltical directives. In 1'957 the

t rmalion of the Fighting Tendency (TC) and served.

the Co-ordlnatlng Body, a body I'lvoudng the armed stru,ggle in concert with organisations such as the MLN (Tupamaros)"

MIR and. others.
.8,)/ ]97~.tbe FAU was, ops,r,8'ting, from underground, During this time at number of its houses were captured ,and i'ls militants must have gone fuUy underground, for their
IIIlU1!le·s appeared on public wanted lists. At one point upwards of 500/0 of its Federal

organisation's newspaper adopted the title Luelu: Libenorio and the first pubUc rallies
were organised and drew a, good crowd. Throughout 1'957' and 1958" the Impact of the 'crisis' wasmaking itself felt by the most disadvantaged groups in Uruguay and their answer came' in the form of'faetor take-overs and workers' control, robberies carried out to raise funds for organlsational activity, and the setting up of consumer co-cps in working class districts, Arrangements were entered into with farming co-ops. ther-e were meetings, demonstrations by workers and by the FEEU students and sit-ins in university buildiogs .. and repression followed. By the start of the] 960s the government had embarked upon .9 legislative and police offensive against the working class, backing fascist gangs banning strikes and solidarity strikes, banning [actory teke-overs and att,ackin.g 'the University and the secondary schools. II n August }963 some FA U comrades raided the' Spenish consulate lin Montevideo, hoisting the Libertarian Youth and Spanish CNTf1a,gs~ in protest at the executions by garrote vU of Granado and Delgado, 1).I'uiercn).u'fl. d ,org,an isati'oll, direct aetio« ,anti' the arm'(!d wi'ltg 196$ 'saw a successful trade union unification' ith the launch of the Uruguayan CNT (N ational Workers Convention) wi th the drive coming from the non-aligned and fig1hHng unions and within the CNT there was the' a tendency driven byFAU workers ar][~.urging a fighting strategy, In .~ 967- followtng a campaign launched by the right wing press, against the newspaper Epoca (8 jo~nt venture l,y the FA and other . eftist organisations such as the MAP 'the MJ R~ The ·MRO [MAP': People's Action Movement, MIR: R,evo!lutionary left Movement MRO: Oriental (i.e, Uruguayan) Revolutionary Movement - Castroist group' fbunded in "961] and the Socialist Party), the police attacked its, premises" seizing its presses and taking over the po~i~ical groups,' premises, arresting dozens of people and shutting down the paper and ordering severai organtsatlors - including the FAU- to

un. II were be~l1J.g, in seou_rity force barracks. held

Alongslde the mass activity, the OPR ..33 (People's Revolutionary Or,gamsation) was , 't~ve~the FAU"s armed wing, it proved quite a success, carrying out a series of opera~i,'1'ItS - sabotage attacks, expropriations of funds, kidnappings of polltlcal 'bigm.gs, and I , 'us especially hated by the people, and offering armed support to strikes, factory takeIlVl!fS etc, The fAU saw armed action as part of a political and ideolo,fjical approach very III~-rent from most of the Latin American national l~bera~ionmovemenb, which were 1111 '-ly influenced by Castro's Cuban revolution and the theorists of the 'revohalonary h o'. The: FAU's armed wing enjoyed only tactical autono.my and aU its ,o'pemtions were I~termined by-'the overallpolitical circumstances. It is reckoned that its gro\Vtih and the II II ' f violence in which it engaged had to be kept related to the workers,' ..people's

nrterU across the country. Escalating the vi<:.1,ience to levels

unsuhed to. ,c·ontext was

vnided, as was, isolation (!If armed activists, At 'the same time a series of steps. was taken I l h sure against and pre-empt any such 'militaristic' eventuality. The whole culture of I fienee had to. be resisted. J\g.~jnst a backdrop of lmcertainty and declining levels of resistance, with 'outr~gh~

disband. The FAU went unde·rground. The F AU revamped ruts acttivity ~n the Hght of the new situation by developing an armed
wing, issuing an, underground weekly newspaper, distributing documents, setting up' safehouses for or,ganmsati,ona~ activity and storing - lI"opaganda material and fund-raising ... and training its militants in general end personal security, The WOl'ker-l~udent Resistanee (ROE) was launched as an umbrella organisation following the outlawing of the FAU., Funds were replenished by means of bank robberie . From 1964 onwards the FAU was a Jot more cohesive and effective. It hiunched and invigorated work fronts and built up a presence and clout a:~national level, I~co-ordinated with other forces and took part in the important People's Congress." l~ issued a call for the

looming on the horizon, the' Organiaatlen weighed up the situationend saw a I III wUhdl",aw some 'Of Its forces, The: 'QPR ..33 comrades were ,a;mong the first it evacu~II II. fheir' itllJI11.edi,ate'task, once in A'rgenti.na, was 'to raise me, fund.ing :fOf what it was !II ~Illl was going 'to be a lon,g and drawn out :5tt~e d against the dirCtll!~orshtip.UT,o I II I uul by d jog, 1 'h Id ul by fi,ghring'\ as die sayin_g was at. tile time. lu June I 9173, wHh lh in I ~s,ilt~(Jn r mHLary di,c'la.t()rsl1ip;) the precess of tyrannisation o II t ~ Jrngiu I. iu _ ., ntin 'n~ iII', ~y nu l·kJ.:d by military dictatorships .~·nBrazl], Chile, I I ~,I' i, II ~ 1 II In~' " ,eE 'W"" )mplc\,c. Uruguoyon prisons were already filled with
I ~


luI nt'S hip

II~mldh.·~11'1,1 I nlhh.:ul, prisoners,


,of tie

n~v,oh.n;iOrna.ry organisations, bavi:ng been


II l'

d 'II he FAU put everything ~t irao a general strike' that brought the ,country to had 1ill! r,r ,R fortnight It had to redouble hs efforts. because the rm~jor]ty force, the

rarty~ chose that PQwnt10 stand down~y of i,is mi~itants and seek dj,a~ogue \ Ih 'I he mil it.ary. The general strike survives in the memories of workers in UrtJguay as an I III' llt( J1 of their stomach for a fight. AmJ then in September 1'976 Iher'e was at lDilwtary take-over in Argentina with the III~lil1attDn of a brutal" gen.ocidal dicta:rorship .. Cornered by jcint repression 'ffom the I ."ial forces of the Uruguayan and Ngentinean. armies carrying QUI. Oper'3t.ion Condor,
llllH ~III


ng Fascism, [Operation/Plan Condor: 1'976 mu~ua~ security agreement between the armed forces of Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazi), Bolivia and Uru,guay providing for the monWtorilng of exiled opposltion groups. This secret eo-operation extended to extra-legal pr-ocedures
,abducri,ons torture

Dav d icoll The

~nlSCIlsm in

theory and

by th




and unexplained


with the

security forces often misrepresenting disappearances as escapes and deaths as j-nt,ernedne feuding among the' subversives, This international connivance between 'national security
states' had the blessing and encouragement (politi call and financial) of the US administration.] SOlTI,eifty comrades were 'disappeared' f after being subjectedto aU sort'S of uaspeakable torture, with others given lengthy prison sentences. Those murdered included comrades such as Gerardo 'Gatti Leon Duarte and Alberto Mechoso ho had shaped the fA U s history. Eventually the Uruguayan dictatorship collapsed and the political prisoners were am nestled, March 11986 saw the holding of the 7th FA U congress; at 'which the organisa-

tion promptly set about reorganising in the trade union, neighbourhood and student
contexts, without neglecting the demands of internal structural reorganisation consolidat .. ing 'the wnfrastructure smashed by the dictatorship, Scarcely had the restructuring begun than the .FAU was faced with a further crackdown, withthree of Itsactivists jailed. and tried. A sustained campaign was immediately launched, attracting solidarity from other libe rtari an organ.isaNons inlerlllaHon:all,y. That campaign was crucial to secu_ring~be comrades' release.
T:lu! FA V toduj'

The FAU today intervenes at every opportunity: in the uniors, schools (through parelilitsassociations and In all sort of neighbourhood issues it has been ereenng suitable: vehicles for 'Such lnterventlorr, as \:ven as consolidating community radio stations and libert an an ateneos, Tile f AU has a printshop which is common ground and a m eeting point for dle~ Uruguayan ~eft The:presses have long been the property of the FAU organisation; so they have enough legal experienceto ,e.f15UT'ethat their patrimony runs, no risk whilst at the same time they leave the workers+group enough autonomy to run the day to day operatloas of

the presses for themselves,
radio stations up and runnln_g~ as wellas 4 at1eneos and 3 libraries. Toge'llher 'with 'the steneos and the radio stations d:u:~yhave formed the ' Solidarity and Mutual A~d Spalce'~o co-ordinate with other social organisations on a range of activities and Icamp1aigns such as the wat r campaign wbkh has had such a, wide impact F.AU members. participate in various areas such as 'the environmemal eomrnission, the community radio co-ordinating committee and a social housing co-op, and i:s the driving force behind the VCRUS [Union of Solid Urban Waste orters ,acti'Ve~y resisting pri vati soli on. of'waste serv ices], .
At pr-esent the :FA has 6 community Solidaridad Libertaria CGT·,Burgos, January 2.007 50

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