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Infantry Regiment No. 19, "Colchagua"

San Fernando; Region VI

     Infantry Regiment no. 19, "Colchagua" was one of the principle centers of detention and torture in the Sixth Region. The repression in this zone was carried out by the Military, the Police, members of Police Investigations, and local citizens. According to Informe Rettig "...in Rancagua, the prisoners were conducted to the Public Jail where around 1,200 people were secuestered in the months immediately following the events of September 11. Among them were many farmers and political bosses. Regiment Membrillar (presently Infantry Regiment No. 22 - Lutaro) was also used for the same purposes. In San Fernando, the detained were taken to Regiment Colchagua (presently Infantry Regiment No. 19, "Colchagua"), where around 250 were detained between September and November 1973. The majority later completed their sentences in the same city's Jail..." The exact number of political prisoners in this region is not known. Nevertheless, it is known with absolute certainty that physical pressure and torture were routinely used on the political prisoners that passed through this and other places of detention.

Testimony of O. R., ex political prisoner of Region VI: " As ex-political prisoner in this zone, I can make the following declaration: "I can testify that (ex-Army captain Ricardo) Manríquez Pearson was a torturer. I was tortured in the 'Comisaría de Investigaciones' of San Fernando. He, together with his Adjutant, Sergeant Marín and inspectors Fernando Yañez and 'Chinica' Morales, were directly charged with the physical maltreatment, electric shock, beatings, privation of water and food and psychological torture that were meted out to us prisoners of that time.

"Manríquez was the immediate and personal author of the near murder of then Provincial Secretary of the Comunist Party of Colchagua, Héctor Figueroa, aiming at his head as he ran from a neighborhood in San Fernando, where he had gone to persuade the people not to allow themselves to be provoked by the military and not to engage in any kind of activity against the authorities of the coup. The bullet grazed Figueroa's head.

"That Justino Vásquez Muñoz, a Socialist regent, never arrived at the detention precincts, but we always knew he had been arrested on the public way by 'Chinica' Morales, Yañez and Marín, plus some kind of direct intervention by Rafael Cumsille.

"That, equally, the repressive forces in that zone, under Manríquez, were directly responsible for the death of Eduardo "Chito' Morales, news reporter, dead of a heart attack while he attended his 'Consejo de Guerra." Similarly, the ex political prisoners Luis Bustos and Gerardo Saavedra, died in exile as a result of cerebral tumors from being thrown into the corral of the mules of Regimiento Colchagua where they were trampelled by the animals.

"That the repressive 'team' at San Fernando was composed, moreover, of the following personages: Attorney Ramirez (present Judge of the Local Police of San Fernando), ex-militant of the Radical Party, ex-lawyer for the police, directly responsible for illegal judgements, illegal deprivation of liberty, mounting of false 'evidence' and psychological torture against political prisoners, ordering recruits to beat people 'in the middle of the street,' throwing bound individuals into animal corrals - among many other measures

of maltreatment and humiliation. Lieutenant Thieme, brother of the gangster of 'Patria y Libertad' - I was savagely beaten by this official while I was handcuffed to a bunk bed in a room of the San Fernando Regimental Guard the 15th of September, 1973.

"If our aim is to reconstruct 'historical memory,' I should mention two individuals who displayed an entirely different attitude to the local reaction of Colgua: Maximiano Errazuriz and Fernando Jaramillo. Both had the opportunity to take out their rancor and political rage on us. Errazuriz appeared, dressed as a Reserve Lieutenant. He could have suddenly turned himself into the Caesar that decided life or death for the vanquished who were his enemies. In my case, instead of ordering my death, he called a male nurse to attend to my wounds. Fernando Jaramillo, landowner, expropriated and reviled for reasons of political expediency, demanded respect for our human rights and protested the conditions in which we were kept. Around San Fernando, General Arellano's helicopter, 'Puma,' gave us no respite. Much later, we would remember Captain Manríquez, with a bottle of pisco in hand, one night making us new political prisoners come out of our cells around three in the morning. In the Mayor's office, he told us that some day we would be grateful to 'this torturer' for having saved our lives..."

 Criminals and Accomplices: Military and Police: Captain Ricardo Manríquez Pearson (chief of "SIM" of the "Colchagua" Regiment and Chief of Police Investigations in San Fernando in September, 1973); Captain Crespo; Lieutenant Thieme; Army Petty Officer, Francisco Marín González; District Attorney Ramírez (presently Local Police Judge of San Fernando, ex-militant of the Radical Party and ex attorney for the "Carabineros"); The Police Officers Mario Ubilla Muñoz; José Valladares Salazar; inspectors Carlos Fernando Yañez Campo and "Chinica" Morales; subcommitteemen Muñoz Cartes and Plutarco Garrido.

 Sources of information: Informe Rettig; Política Cono Sur; Book "Tal como soy;" Newspaper "La Nación;" 24horas.cl; Archivo Memoriaviva.


La Nación

Chilean Cónsul in Honduras "accused" in case of "disappeared."

Tuesday the 20th of November, 1973, the city of San Fernando awoke with the apparent tranquility of those sunny provincial days when everything seemed normal, but was not. The Jail was full of polítical prisoners. As was his custom on work days, teacher Justino Vásquez Muñoz arose exactly at dawn to take the 7:30 bus in which he travelled seven kilometers to reach the public school of "Polonia" where he taught. His work as teacher alternated with political work: he was elected by the Socialist Party to be regent for San

Fernando; provincial secretary of the "Only Center of Workers;" and he had been the regional secretary of the Socialist Party in those months of upheaval when President Allende needed more than ever the backing of the parties of the UP, at that point already irremediably divided between two strategic and irreconcilable options.

That same morning in Mountain Infantry No. 19, "Colchagua" in San Fernando, captain Ricardo Manríquez Pearson, from very early, alternated his work between Section II of Army Intelligence in the zone, and his job as brand new chief of the barracks of the Police Civil Investigations in the city. The Army had intervened in this institution and installed Captain Manríquez to direct the repression and order the arrests of those considered dangerous or subversive.

That day, teacher Vásquez did not arrive at the school. He disappeared forever. The officer of Investigations of San Fernando, Carlos Yánez Campos, spoke that same morning to Vásquez's wife, Tania González, and explained that the order to arrest came from Captain Manríquez. He explained that on that day, the 20th of November, he had ordered his arrest in order to take him to the Military Intelligence Service at eleven o'clock. "'SIM' is in the charge of Captain Manríquez Pearson," he said to the wife. But Yánez continued that when they arrived at the house that morning her husband was not there and they could not locate him to arrest him at the train station before he could take the train. He said they never did find him.

Captain Manríquez, retired from the Army for years, is today an employee of the Chilean Consulate, and at present is the Consul General of Chile in Honduras situated in the capital, Tegucigalpa. His charge appears confirmed on the electronic page of the Consulate. In a photograph of the 20th of November, 2003, published in "El Heraldo" of Tegucigalpa that accompanies this account, Captain Manríquez appears posing together with the new embassador of Chile in Honduras, the ex intendent and governor, Silvia Correa (DC).

Ordered arrests

A few days ago, Captain (R) Manríquez had to return to Chile to swear for the second time before Judge Sofía Adaros Riveros, of the First Court of San Fernando, where a complaint for kidnapping and "disappearance' was lodged in 1979 by the wife of the ex director. In the process, several functionaries of the civil police Identified Captain Manríques as being in charge of ordering arrests at that time in the city and surrounding zones, a charge that Manríques himself did not try to deny to the court. "Within my military duties, I was in charge of Section II of Intelligence (...) Some days after the 11th of September, 1973 (it could have been the 15th), I received orders from the Commander of the garrison putting me in charge of the station of Police Investigations of San Fernando (...) With respect to the person in question, named Luis Justino Vásquez Muñoz, I have to say that I can remember no circumstance that would link me to him. But it is possible that in carrying out my functions as chief of Investigations, I could have signed an order that someone from Investigations arrest him (...) During my tenure as chief, I signed numerous such orders," the captain-cónsul recognized before the magistrate.


According to information gathered from the "Fundación Documentación" and "Archivo de la Vicaría de la Solidaridad," based on "Informe Rettig" and its complementary, Justino Vásquez would appear, up to now, to be the only "disappeared" from the Sixth Region. But nine executions are registered.

"Captain Manríquez ordered me to be tortured"

But beyond the hundreds of functionaries of the Civil Police who under prosecution admitted they operated under orders from Captain Manríquez - among whom were Carlos Yánez and Mario Ubilla Muñoz, subcommitteeman (R) Muñoz Cartes and José Valladares Salazar, and Commissioner Plutarco Garrido (who added in his declaration that "Manríquez was in charge of antisubversive activity"), is the army petty officer (R) Francisco Marín González who worked under the command of Manríquez in Section II of Intelligence in San Fernando and offered the clearest description of his captain. The petty officer told the judge that "I learned about Vásquez when on duty officer Yánez with another informed Captain Manríquez Pearson they couldn't find him to arrest him." Nevertheless, there are witnesses who that same morning saw "four civil servants" who "intercepted the teacher and made him get into a white car." The same officer (R) added: "my Captain Manríquez was violent and he was an expert in karate. When Castro Souriten (another officer) arrived, he placed limits on the Captain."

San Fernando ex-prisoner, José Madariaga Céspedes is more direct: in his book "Tal Como Soy," ("Just As I Am"), he writes that, right after arresting him and carrying on a conversation with him, he ordered him tortured. The ex-prisoner of San Fernando, Pedro Videla Hormazábal, declared before the court that the "carabinero" of that city, Carlos Becerra Herrera, told him one day that "they threw the teacher Vásquez into the ocean at Pichilemu." Revising the information of the Armed Forces concerning the fate of 200 "disappeared" based on the "Mesa de Diálogo de Derechos Humanos," while among 151 thrown into the sea Teacher Vásquez's name does not appear, there still appear 17 who were thrown into the "sea at Pichilemu."



Chilean Consul in Hondura charged in case of "disappeared."

The Chilean Consul General in Honduras, Ricardo Manríquez Pearson, has been indicted twice in the case of the kidnapping and "disappearance" of a teacher in the city of San Fernando in 1973, Santiago's newspaper, "La Nación" revealed today.

When Augusto Pinochet headed the military coup that brought him to power the 11th of September, 1973, Ricardo Manríquez was an army captain and directed the Intelligence section of the "Colchagua" Regiment in San Fernando - some 140 kilometers south of Santiago.After the coup, he was appointed, on top of that, Chief of Police Investigations for that locality. And in that capacity, as he admitted in the lawsuit, he ordered the arrest of many considered enemies of the military regime. One of those was the teacher and Socialist Regent, Luis Justino Vásquez Muñoz who, on the 20th of September, 1973, left his house to go to work and was never seen again.. In his declaration before Judge Sofía Adaros, who presided over the case in San Fernando, Ricardo Manríquez admitted the possibility that he had ordered the arrest of the teacher, but swore that he never saw or questioned him and that his subordinates told him he had escaped.

At the time, police functionaries told the family that they had not arrested Luis Justino Vásquez, and that he had apparently left the city by train. Even so, in the same indictment, an ex petty officer declared that the teacher was intercepted by four civil servants who conducted him to a white automobile and that some time later he was told that they had thrown him into the ocean. "La Nación" also includes statements by ex-prisoners that describe then Captain Manríquez as a violent man and a karate expert who beat prisoners and ordered their torture. The officer passed from the ranks of the Army to the Chancellor's Office, and at present, according to the paper, is known as a "carreer diplomat." After two appearances before the court he has still not been prosecuted.

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