Juan Carlos Blanco Estrada was born on 19 June 1934 in Montevideo and is descended from a family of politicians. After receiving his license to practice law, Blanco worked for the OAS (Organization of American States) between 1962 and 1971. He became vice-chancellor of the Republic in 1971. In November 1972 he was appointed minister of foreign affairs under the presidency of Juan María Bordaberry, a status he held under the military dictatorship established by the said President. The regime appointed him representative to the UN in 1982, and Juan Carlos Blanco remained in office until the advent of democracy in 1985.
In 1973, a deep conflict emerged between the President, Juan María Bordaberry, the General Assembly and the army. The latter did not approve the appointment of the Minister of National Defence by the President. Bordaberry then suspended the constitution, dissolved the General Assembly to replace it by the State Council and concluded an arrangement with the army: the pact of Boisso Lanza.
This ensured the military for the advisory role and political participation in decision-making. The new regime was established as a de facto military dictatorship under close supervision of the army and proclaimed itself “Proceso de reconstrucción nacional” (national reconstruction process). This regime was based on the “National Security Doctrine”, according to which two blocks whose values are incompatible are juxtaposed: Christian and capitalist West (corresponding to the values of the new regime) and the communist and atheist East. The repression against political opponents of the dictatorship, perpetrated by the Uruguayan army in the name of this struggle was intense.
On 20 May 1976, parliamentarians Zelmar Michelini (Broad Front) and Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz (National Party) were assassinated in Buenos Aires, as well as a communist and two Tupamaros (members of the Movement of National Liberation), Rosario Barredo and William Whitelaw, as part of Operation Condor (companions of joint assassination of services of Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay against dissidents in the dictatorial regime). The assassination was to prevent the establishment of a common front against the dictatorship, composed of the Artiguista Liberation Union (UAL), which incorporated in 1974 the fraction “New Time” of MLN-T with the founder of the Union People (predecessor of the Broad Front) Enrique Erro, Michelini, the “Unifying Group of Action” (GAU) and “Militant Socialist Grouping” (AMS).
Detained since 2006, Juan Carlos Blanco was accused of having participated, with the former President of Uruguay, Juan Maria Bordaberry, in the assassination of two congressmen and two left-wing activists in 1976.
On 26 June 1976, again as part of Operation Condor, Elena Quinteros, a member of the Uruguayan Anarchist Federation (FAU) and Director of the Party for victory of the people (PVP) since 1975 was kidnapped in the gardens of the Venezuelan Embassy in Montevideo, where she had come to seek political asylum. Her abduction caused, moreover, the breakup of diplomatic relations between Uruguay and Venezuela until the return to democracy in 1985.
Elena Quinteros was then taken by the division of the army to a clandestine detention centre “300 Carlos.” After an attempted escape on 28 June 1976, near the Venezuelan embassy, she was returned to prison and subjected to torture. Elena Quinteros died while in custody later in the year 1976.
On 16 November 2006, following a complaint filed on 15 November 2002, Judge Dr. Robert Uruguay Timbal issued a warrant of arrest against Juan María Bordaberry and Juan Carlos Blanco, head of the foreign ministry in 1976 for violating the constitution, homicides and enforced disappearances against parliamentary Zelmar Michelini and Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz and the Tupamaros.