New Commander-in-Chief of Uruguayan Air Force Takes Office
By Dialogo February 02, 2009This Monday the Brigadier General José Bonilla took office as Commander of the Uruguayan Air Force (FAU), replacing Lieutenant General Airman Enrique Bonelli, who retired in a ceremony led by President Tabaré Vázquez. Head of the FAU since February 2004, Bonelli was acting on the orders of Vázquez, who took office in March of 2005, to investigate the whereabouts of prisoners who disappeared during the dictatorship (1973-1985). Bonelli’s research made possible the discovery in November 2005 of the remains of the Communist activist Ubagesner Cháves Sosa, who was tortured to death at the Boisso Lanza Air Base (in the vicinity of Montevideo) and buried shortly thereafter in a ranch. During Bonelli’s management, the FAU admitted performing clandestine flights during the dictatorship with the intent of transferring political prisoners – many of whom went missing afterward – from Argentina into Uruguay during Operation Condor, which coordinated the repression of the dictatorships of the southern part of South America in the late 70s. Bonelli himself admitted being copilot on one of these flights. The Uruguayan dictatorship resulted in 38 missing people in the country, according to the Commission for Peace, which took place between the years of 2000 and 2003, while in Argentina another 182 missing cases of Uruguayan citizens were revealed, eight in Chile, two in Paraguay, and one in Brazil. The new commander José Bonilla has occupied the position of Chief of the State of FAU since last year. Vázquez, Minister of Defense José Bayardi, Bonilla and other authorities visited the new air control radar purchased in Spain, at the FAU Command Base “Captain Boisso Lanza,” shortly after the ceremony.