Gilberto Valentin Vázquez Bisio was born on 20 August 1945. He joined the army in March 1963. He was a Colonel of the Uruguyan army under the military dictatorship. He was also a member of the Defence Information Service (SID) led by Colonel Juan Antonio Rodríguez Buratti and of the Anti-Subversive Activities Co-ordination Organization (OCOA), an organisation active in Uruguay and Argentina.
During the years of the military dictatorship in Uruguay (1973-1985), about 200 Uruguayans – mainly leftist activists – were victims of enforced disappearance. The vast majority of these disappearances occurred in Argentina as part of Operation Condor.
The purpose of this operation was to find a regional response to the security of the Southern Cone countries against the subversive alliances in the south of the continent. The operation was to target the regional activities of the Revolutionary Coordinating Junta (JCR), composed of the MLN-Tupamaros (Uruguay), the People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP), Argentina; Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) of Chile and the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Bolivia.
Some intelligence documents found in 2005 show that “Operation Condor” was conducted by five countries, ranked in alphabetical order: Argentina was “Condor 1,” Bolivia “Condor 2,” Chile “Condor 3”, Paraguay “Condor 4” and Uruguay “Condor 5.” Brazil did not participate formally in the operation, but cooperated with its neighbours in the coordination of the repression.
Vazquez and other Uruguayan militaries, responsible for various crimes, were protected by the Act known as the Law on the Expiration of the Punitive Claims of the State that allowed impunity for police officers and soldiers who committed violations of human rights. This law, passed in 1986, under Sanguinetti’s rule -the first president elected after the restoration of democracy- was confirmed in 1989 and 2009 by two referendums.
However, the administration of President Tabaré Vázquez (2005-2010) gave a new interpretation to the Expiry Law, allowing judging a number of former officers for crimes committed during the military rule.
On 8 May 2006, Judge Aida Vera Barreto ordered preventive detention of Gilberto Vázquez along with Jose Gavazzo, José Ricardo Arab Fernández, Jorge Alberto Silveira Quesada, Ernesto Avelino Ramas Pereira and Ricardo José Medina Blanco, based on an extradition request from Argentinean judge Daniel Rafecas, who was investigating the 1976 disappearance in Buenos Aires of Maria Claudia Garcia Irureta Goyena, daughter-in-law of the Uruguayan writer Juan Gelman.