New Commander-in-Chief of Uruguayan Air Force Takes Office

By Dialogo
February 02, 2009

This 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.