Manuel Juan Cordero Piacentini was born on 15 September 1938 in Montevideo, Uruguay. He is a former colonel and agent in the Uruguayan army intelligence agency.
Along with others, he actively participated in the Condor Plan. This involved a group of countries which were governed by dictatorial regimes that decided to coordinate their efforts to remove political opposition, by regularly torturing opponents. These countries were; Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay. In this context of persecution, violence was used to systematically eradicate the “communist world”. The Condor Plan focused on three main areas; political vigilance of dissident refugees and those in exile, clandestine counter-insurgency measures and joint actions to eradicate specific groups or individuals. Dedicated assassination equipment operated within and outside the borders of the aforementioned countries (including equipment set up in the United States of America and Europe). A total of 30000 workers, students, political leftists and academics were held in clandestine torture centres and killed by the military regime in Argentina between 1976 and 1983.
Manuel Cordero worked at the Orletti car centre, a former garage that had been converted into a torture centre in Buenos Aires; 300 people were tortured and killed at this site. One of the Uruguayan victims, Ana Inés Quadros, stated that she had been kidnapped in Buenos Aires in July 1976, tortured, and raped by Cordero in the Orletti car centre before being transferred to Uruguay where she was freed. Another example is the kidnappings of Marcelo Gelman and his wife, María Claudia García Irureta, in Buenos Aires, 1976, while García was seven months pregnant. Gelman was found dead in 1989, whereas García, who had been kidnapped in Orletti, gave birth to Macarena Gelman in Uruguay before disappearing.
Legal proceedings began in Argentina in 1999. At this point, the majority of crimes committed by the Argentine junta were still protected by amnesty laws that were adopted at the end of the dictatorship.