The 81-year-old Bordaberry is the second former Uruguayan dictator sentenced to a long prison term in the past four months. In late October, ex-strongman Gregorio Alvarez was sentenced to 25 years.
The Latin American dictatorships that emerged in the 1970s were largely supported by the U.S. government, locked at that time in an ideological cold war – capitalism versus communism -- with the Soviet Union. The military regimes remained in power and - with the help of U.S. intelligence – killed and tortured thousands of “leftist” sympathizers throughout the region.
Late last year Chilean President Michelle Bachelet inaugurated Chile’s Memory Museum to memorialize human right violations that occurred during the 17-year dictatorship led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
Elected democratically in 1971, Bordaberry dissolved congress and banned political parties the following year at the behest of military leaders who seized power outright in 1973. The military ousted Bordaberry in 1976, and Uruguay remained under the control of a right-wing dictatorship until 1985.
The former president-turned-dictator has been hospitalized for breathing troubles, leading a judge to let him remain under house arrest rather than be jailed during his trial. He has been in preventative detention since 2006.
Bordaberry and his foreign minister, Juan Blanco, are the only civilians convicted or facing charges for alleged crimes committed during the dictatorship.
Ten members of the armed forces, including ex-dictator Alvarez, are in prison for human rights violations. Alvarez, Uruguay's last dictator, was convicted in connection with 37 homicides.
Prosecution of alleged human rights abuses during Uruguay's dictatorship accelerated when the small nation's first leftist president, Tabare Vazquez, took office in 2005. Bordaberry's son, Pedro, placed third in last November's presidential election that saw the candidate of the leftist governing party win.
One word for this: YAY!