Having lived thirteen-years under a military dictatorship in Latin America, I learnt quite a few lessons. I was interested in politics before but the experiences I had during the military regime administrations reinforced even more my interest in politics.
I saw the inner workings of the regimes with my own eyes while many people only knew what somebody else told them about. I did not need to be told about torture and political detainees and about the weaknesses of many so called mainstream politicians.
Some of the experiences of that period go beyond the levels of cruelty they tell us existed during World War Two. One of the scenes that usually appears on news reels showing Jewish people running towards a trench and being shot reminds me of what happened at Army headquarters.
The case of the Japanese corpses in Uruguay is perhaps one of the most gruesome events ever recorded. Political detainees were tortured and drugged, taken aboard airplanes and thrown from high altitude into the waters of the River Plate. The smashed faces of the victims, crashed when they hit the water surface, made people say that they were what remained of Japanese fishermen that had drowned.
I remember when standing dressed in kaki uniform at Navy headquarters I used to see political detainees hooded and hand-coughed being transferred. I had the most strange feeling. With their faces covered they had no identity, no detectable emotions. Life existed only in some sort of suspended state and there was no guarantee that they would be alive the following day.
I have many memories but many of those memories are far too gruesome to even mention them in an open forum. The most important lesson was 'never take Democracy for granted'.