Repentance is Unthinkable

September 25, 2007

As the press has no access to the the press has no access to the imprisoned members of the Mi'?, the fol- imprisonedmembers of the MTP, the following interview is drawn from written lowing interview is drawn fi-om written an.swers to questions submitted in June answers to questions submitted in June s ta thezi law) e, s via their lawyers.

Why did you choose this iype of action Why did you choose this type of action rather thanrazhei than simply denounce what you simply denounce what you believed svcis occurring? believed was occurring?
Given the characteristics of this upris Given the characteristics of this uprising we believed that denunciation would ing, we believed that denunciation would notnot be sufficient Three uprisings pre be sufficient. Three uprisings precededceded the one that was underway in Janu the one that was underway in Janu-ary This time their plan was not simply to ary. This timetheir plan was not simply to blockadeblockade themselves in the barracks hut themselves in the barracks, but to take action like the paramihiary bands to take action like the paramilitary bands that proliferated with the 1976 coup We that proliferated with the 1976 coup. We also believed that the policy of continual also believed that the policy of continual concessionsconcessions supported by both the Radi supported by both the Radical government and the Peromst oppost cal government and the Peronist opposition encouragedlion encouraged those who would attempt those who would attempt a coup Our action was intended to nip this a coup. Our action was intended to nipthis murderous plan in the bud, and to put forth murderous plan in the bud and to put forth a different type of response not one of a different type of response, not one of concessions but of confrontation, from concessions but of confrontation, from the people, to put an end to this threat once the people, to put an end to this threat once and for all. and for all.

Were some of the participants tricked or Were some of the participants tricked or forced into taking part? forced into taking part?
Each compahero who participated did Each companierowho participated did soso motivated by the ideals we hold and motivated by the ideals we hold and conscious of the fact that they were doing conscious of the fact that they were doing what many Argentines would have done what many Argentines would have done had they had the opportunity. As in all the had they had the opportunity. As in all the struggles of our people, they were aware struggles of our people, they were aware that they were risking their lives. that they were risking their lives.

Did the intelligence services infiltrate your Did the intelligence services infiltrate your group? group?
No. What they are trying to accom- No. What they are trying to accomplish with that story is to play down and plish with that story is to play down and cover upall that has taken place,:summing cover upall thathas taken place,summing it upit up as simply a plot of intelligence and as simply a plot of intelligence and counter-intelligence. counter-intelligence.

What is your opinion of Gorriardn Merlo? What is your opinion of Gorriaran Merlo?
The history of peoples who struggle The history of peoples who struggle for dignity is filled with attempts to smear for dignity is filled with attempts to smear and discredit the men who stand out in and discredit the men who stand out in that struggle. Such attempts seek to cast that struggle. Such attempts seek to cast aspersions on the cause and to weaken the aspersions on the cause and to weaken the popularpopular movement. The case of Gorri- movement. The case of Gorri-arbn Merlo is one of a popular militant arin Merlo is one of a popular militant who for 30 years served the struggle for a who for 30 years served the struggle for a betterbetter country. For us Gorriaran Merlo country. For us Gorriarhn Merlo exemplifiesexemplifies an entire generation who an entire generation who chose to risk their lives rather than kneel chose to risk their lives rather than kneel downdown to oppression, and who today, with to oppression, and who today, with the same trust in our people, with the con- the same trust in our people, with the confirmation offirination of what was done right, the self- what was done right, the self-criticism of what was done wrong, and criticism of what was done wrong, and the same belief in the victory of just the same belief in the victory of just causes, continue to contribute to the causes, continue to contribute to the emancipation of our country. emancipation of our country.

WasWas this the beginning or the end? this the beginning or the end?
WeWe really believe that this is the be- really believe that this is the beginning of a new political situation where, ginning of a new political situation where, starting with the concrete defeat of the starting with the concrete defeat of the uprisinguprising and rooted in popular support, and rooted in popular support, there will be a serious prosecution of the there will be a serious prosecution of the military officers who murdered as they military officers who murdered as they pleased to clear the path for the powerful pleased to clear the path for the powerful who todaywho today condemn us to hunger. It was condemn us to hunger. It was the end 0 impunity. the end of impunity.

Do you feel you were abandoned by the Do you feel you were abandoned by the Left? Left?
After the events of La Tabtada, and After the events of La Tablada, and practically ignoring what ically occurred. practically ignoring what really occurred, many leaders nithe Ar'entine Left as ssell many leaders of the Argentine Left as well as many supposedly progressive journal- as many supposedly progressive journalists jumped to condemn us. as if to how ists jumped to condemn us, as if to bow down before the power of the military, in down before the power of the military, in several cases using arguments which several cases using arguments which favored the advance of the military as an favored the advance of the military as an institution. This attitude conirasts with institution. This attitude contrasts with that of the people as a whole, who even in that of the people as a whole, who even in the most difficult of situations never re- the most difficult of situations never responded with vaLillation or poorly under sponded with vacillation or poorly understood prudence. rather with decision and stood prudence, rather with decision and abandon. abandon.

What What do youdo you expect from your trial? expect from your trial?
Our Our trial will put in doubt the sup- trial will put in doubt the supposed state of peace between the Armed posed state of peace between the Armed Forcesorces and the people. It will put back on and the people. It will put back on the table what some have preferred to hide the table what some have preferred to hide or to twist: That we went to stop a military or to twist: That we went to stop a military uprising and that we were repressed with uprising and that we were repressed with the same methods the military used dur- the same methods the military used during the dictatorship-annihilation. cxc- ing the dictatorship--annihilation, execution of prisoners, disappearance, tor- cution of prisoners, disappearance, torture. We are certain they will try to hide ture. We are certain they will try to hide every thing in a fog of oblis ion. For the everything in a fog of oblivion. For the Right,RiQht, ours is an example which must be ours is an example which must be erased at all cost. erased at all cost.

We are to be tried by a Justice Depart- We are to be tried by a Justice Depart mentment which has shown itself to he an which has shown itself to be an appendage of the military. The entire trial appendage of the military. The entire trial hashas been rife with irregularities, as we been rife with irregularities, as we havehave denounced publicly. For example. denounced publicly. For example, the military refused to go to the court and the military refused to go to the court and instead gave their depositions from the instead gave their depositions from the barracks many days ater the fact. The barracks many days after the fact. The weapons supposedly utilized were always weapons supposedly utilized were always in the army's hands. and the judge tiever in the army's hands, and the judge never es en saw them. They haven't even looked even sawthem. They haven't even looked into our claims that an uprising was into our claims that an uprising was underway-and they charge us with re- underway-and they charge us with rebellion. The authors of the three previous bellion. The authors of the three previous uprisings have only been subjected to dis- uprisings have only been subjected to disciplinary sanctions, because the uprisings ciplinary sanctions, because the uprisings werewere said to be simply ''riots'' inside the said to be simply "riots" inside the arms. army.

WereWere coinpaneros you saw surrender later compafieros you saw surrender later listed listed as killed? u.s Lilled? l'he autopsies revealed that several The autopsies revealed that several compaeroscampaneros who died on the 2rd were who died on the 23rd were killed by a bullet iii the head fired at close killed by a bullet in the head fired at close range. In the magazinesrange. In the magazines Genre and Sotnos. Gente and Somos, soldiers verified that Ivan RuIz and Jose soldiers verified that IvAn Ruiz and Jos6
DIaz surrendered alive. Samojedny. Prov- Dfaz surrendered alive. Samojedny, Prov-enzano and Calvo gave themselves up enzano and Calvo gave themselves up alongalong with u on the morning of the 24th with us on the morning of the 24th and were held in the same room where we and were held in the same room where we were all tortured, hut the first is still disap- were all tortured, but the first is still disap-pearedl and the other two arc listed among peared and the other two are listed among thethe dead. Provenzano's body was muti- dead. Provenzano's body was mutilatedlated and burned. and burned.

,4re von Are you repentant of your actions or, repentant of your actions or, givengiven the same circumstances,(the)(same ciii)(umstani)(i's.)(would)would you (von)do do it again? (it)again?
We We did it with the cons iction that it did it with the conviction that it waswas necessary to respond in that way to necessary to respond in that way to that situation. Inthat situation. In those term, repentance those terms, repentance is unthinkable. We continue to maintain is unthinkable. We continue to maintain thethe correctness of that belief We are correctness of that belief.... We are militantsmilitants of the people and. like so many of the people and, like so many others in our history, we did what we others in our history, we did what we honestly believed was proper. honestly believed was proper,

Do you feel that von ate Do you feel that you are martyrsmartyrs fuir the for the cause? cause?
If If you mean do we expect some sort of you mean do we expect some sort of recognition, no. We only wish to be mili- recognition, no. We only wish to be militants of the cause of the people. But yes we tants of the causeof the people. But yes we do consider heroic the gesture of our co,n- do consider heroic the gesture of our com-pwmcro.s who palieros who gave their lives so that gave their lives so that ArgentinaArgentina would see an end to impunity would see an end to impunity andand social injustice. social injustice.

Tags: Argentina, guerrillas, La Tablada, MTP, repression


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