Ernesto Avelino Ramas Pereira was born in 1936. He joined the Army on 1 March 1955 and began to serve in the Infantry. In 1962 he enrolled at the School of the Americas. Then he served in the Infantry Battalion 11 (Mines) until 1963. He was promoted to captain in 1964 and subsequently served in the Materiel and Weapons Service until 1972 when he was moved to Infantry Battalion No. 1. Since 1975 he acted as commander in the Coordinating Agency of Counterinsurgency Operations (OCOA) in the “300 Carlos” and then in “La Tablada” operations. Afterwards he served in the General Command of the Army.
The Guerra Sucia (“Dirty War”) is a term used to describe a period of state-sponsored violence in Argentina between 1976 and 1983. The Argentinean military regime under Jorge Rafael Videla’s dictatorship resolved to eradicate what the junta called “subversive thoughts”, as well as “terrorists”, namely “anyone who disseminated ideas contrary to Western Christian civilization”. Victims of the violence included several thousand left-wing activists, students, journalists, Marxist and Peronist guerrillas and sympathizers. During the years that followed, the military murdered or forcibly “disappeared” from 10’000 to 30’000 people. In addition, some 500’000 opponents of the regime found themselves forced into exile to escape from its repression. State terrorism was carried out primarily as a part of Operation Condor, a network of secret services of the military dictatorships of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil with the purpose of eliminating the political opponents of the different regimes, exiled in their territories.
Ramas Pereira admitted his involvement in the Coordinating Agency of Counterinsurgency Operations (OCOA), but stated that it didn’t operate in Argentina, thus denying his involvement in the clandestine detention center “Orletti Automotive”. Ramas Pereira is linked mainly to the Base Valparaiso, where insurgents were interrogated during the dictatorship.
By his own admission Ramas Pereira traveled to Argentina for “minor matters” during the dictatorship. He denied any involvement in the disappearance of Adalberto Soba and Alberto Mechoso, kidnapped in Buenos Aires on 26 September 1976 and in the kidnapping and disappearance of Maria Claudia García de Gelman. Regarding the matter of money allegedly seized in Argentina by Uruguayan military for People’s Victory Party (PVP), the ex-colonel claimed to have knowledge of the event only after it occurred. Likewise, he denied any involvement and knowledge of a clandestine flight that moved Orletti prisoners to Uruguay.
The former colonel has had more than one heart surgery and his health deteriorated markedly during the 50 days he was detained at the Army Division I in the Prado. For humanitarian reasons, President Tabaré Vázquez decided to allow him to serve preventive detention in his home, instead of in the Central Prison.
On 19 June 2002, with the help of the Center of Legal and Social Studies, the families of Juan Gelman and María Claudia García brought a complaint against Ramas Pereira and six other militaries for the disappearance of Maria Claudia Garcia Iruretagoyena de Gelman.