The full testimony of ex-combatant Pedro Morales, on the torture of BIM 5 soldiers

After 42 years of war and 17 since testifying about the torture that his companions received; former combatant Pedro Morales, based in Río Grande; explained publicly, for the first time; the logging that he saw in the Malvinas.

12 de May de 2024 20:04

Pedro Morales, war hero in the Malvinas, and comrade in solidarity with those who suffered torture at the hands of their own superiors.

In a notable interview conducted last Tuesday by the journalist Gabriel Ramonet , the former Malvinas combatant soldier Pedro Morales told part of his life from 1981 onwards, why after the war he decided to return to Río Grande and what motivated him to denounce the Frigate Captain Carlos Ricardo Bianchi in 2007, who went to the 1982 war with the Marine Infantry Battalion No. 5 with the rank of midshipman; when the combat unit was commanded by Frigate Captain Carlos Robacio.

What follows is the final segment of a 34-minute interview, carried out in the program “Periodismo” that is broadcast from Monday to Friday and from 3 to 5 p.m., on Radio Provincia FM 99.9 on the dial , from the city of Ushuaia.

 

- Gabriel Ramonet: At what point do these torments occur, these tortures that you end up denouncing in court? You and countless soldiers too, but you, among those who inhabit the province (Tierra del Fuego), and that is why you have that interest for us, right? But when were the tortures and what did they consist of?

Pedro Morales: Well, the issue of torture was when not many ranches (the field kitchen) came there. They didn't get there, because, well; because of the bombers and all that. Food was a bit scarce there. And at a moment when we were going to eat and we were going around the positions, oh surprise; We find two soldiers, that is, two soldiers staked.

 

- Stacked?

Staked, yes.

 

- Did you see him staked?

We saw it. And well, at that moment we didn't do anything because really whoever untied him or did something, brought him food; I had the same fate. But after more or less the night, the late night, already getting dark, I told the corporal, the second corporal Chasampi ; that we had to untie it because they were bombing. I felt sorry for him, despite his age. I felt sorry for him because I believe that, I tell him, we have to let him go. And I face. I know I headed to where they were tied and I know that someone accompanied me. I know that someone accompanied me and that the only one who had a knife at the time was the corporal. And he extends the knife to me, he extends me. They give me the knife and I untie it and we run away. We ran because, wherever they saw me or us, we were going to suffer the same fate as Ricardo Sinchicay and González Héctor , who were the two soldiers who were staked. And always there, I say, there they ask me, they tell me, but who tied them up? And I don't really know, but the officer, the officer who was with us, has to know. He had to be knowing because he was close to their positions and I mean, I don't know. I don't think another soldier tied him up.

 

- And did it have any consequences, Pedro, that you untied these two soldiers? Did it have any consequences for you?

No. Because the next day, after it had happened, it had been untied. What I don't know was which was the first and which was the second, if it was Ricardo Sinchicay . For example, I was with him and he told me, no, you were the one who untied me. Well, I tell him, it's okay. He told me, thank you friend, thank you. After 30 years that was it; 25 years or so, I found Ricardo Sinchicay and he told me, thank you brother for saving my life. And I tell you the truth, I tell you that I may have been an instrument of God who gave me that strength to go and unleash. Afterwards I didn't see him again and I know that the next day, the next day, the Midshipman (first rank of officer among the subordinates of the Argentine Navy) was investigating. He had trained us all; He had formed us and he was very angry. He was very upset because he had been untied. And at one point he loaded the gun, I think he had a 45, under a shoulder holster. He charges, but never pulls. I was searching, I was very angry. I was looking for who it was and no one said anything. Nobody said anything and then, well, we had a while there and then we left; not step over.

 

- Pedro, and did you suffer some kind of torment, did you over your own humanity? Is there some type of torment or is this the closest thing you have had as an experience to these events?

- No, to me, to me, thank God, to me, thank God, physically no, no, nothing happened to me, no, no, no, no, nothing happened to me. I'd be lying if it happened to me, yes. The only thing we did, for example, our group; that it was that of Cape Chasampi , that we were practically all old soldiers; we fed them to lambs; We hunted lambs, we hunted lambs. We didn't care, but thank God, they never, ever caught our attention either. Once the Corporal told me after all this that happened, he told me, did you remember, did you remember Pedro? He tells me when you took the bones of the lamb that they had eaten to Lieutenant Villarraza . I say, no, I don't remember, I tell Chasampi . Yes, he says, he asked them to take the crime, the crime was the lamb, and he wanted me to take them. They say that I brought them everything, and they laughed their asses off. But no, not me personally; Yes, I have another anecdote, another anecdote, when, for example, army soldiers come, because they were all army kids, right? They were, they were walking, looking for food, they come and ask, they ask us for food, at most ancient; because always in jargon, in military jargon, for example, one always asks for part for the oldest; that is, the oldest soldier; Well, at that moment it was just me, and he asked me for food, and he asked me, can you feed us? I say, yes, I tell you, son, of course, besides we were all soldiers. And that marked me a lot, it marked me a lot because there were a lot of kids wandering around the subject, looking for food.

 

- Pedro, but was it prohibited, for example, you say that they killed lambs, that was frowned upon by superiors, that is, hunting for food was not allowed?

- It was forbidden, but I was very sure, very sure that it was forbidden. But we, since there was no food coming, not having food, we had to feed ourselves with something, and what was it that we had on hand? Lambs, and the lambs, the lambs passed by, and we killed three or four lambs, and there were twelve of us. to eat, and we ate two or three lambs a day. With the hat, for example, with the steel one, see? Yes, with the helmet. No, it's with the helmet, the helmet has two fibers, it has one fiber and one steel, we always walked with the fiber one, and the steel one we used to eat, to heat water; then we boiled water, and cut it to pieces with the bayonet saber. We had made it so sharp, that we cut that meat, and that meat boiled, boiled, boiled, boiled, and that was what we fed. Many times, but whole days we fed him lambs.

 

- And these two soldiers that you ended up freeing, who were staked, did you know why they had been staked, that is, what had they done? Had they stolen food or killed lambs too, or was it for other reasons?

- No, Ricardo Sinchicay was stabbed for stealing food from the midshipman 's tent, because the midshipman had COE rations (army combat food rations), but many times they did not distribute them. And well, he went to steal one and they hooked him up that afternoon. And then, well, the black man shot himself, we called him black; The black man shot, he left. He went to the town, which was about 10 kilometers away. They went out to look for him; They found him, brought him in and staked him.

 

- Pedro, were you summoned by the justice system to testify, by the Río Grande court, to say all this?

Yes, yes, yes, I was present, I was one, and when even (Carlos Ricardo) Bianchi came, who had come as commander (Chief of BIM 5 in March 2007) ; that I had previously talked about it, I had mentioned it to the previous commander, and he threw the name at us. I tell him, but how is this man going to come? I tell him; if this boy staked the soldiers there. In other words, he staked out the soldiers because he was the most immediate boss we had.

 

- What was Bianchi's name? Ricardo Bianchi.

Ricardo Bianchi. Ricardo Bianchi . And this is the same as inside your house, for example, a house; The owner of the family does not know what is happening inside your house. And he had his soldiers in charge, and there were soldiers who were staked, and he cannot ignore that, he could not have ignored it, and that is what justice is for, to investigate those cases. But did you see? We have been doing this for 17 years now, and of course, they are already dying, for example González Héctor . Another boy who had been staked has already died. AS Inchicay I have already lost track of him, I don't know how he is, he was bad at the time, and when the issues of justice come up, I believe that there will be no one left. As this pace continues, I don't think we'll see it.

 

-And how many years did you go without being able to tell all this? Now he says it in an interview, publicly, but I imagine he had it inside for a long time, right?

Look, it's been a while since I started talking, 17 years ago, but moderately, I didn't give interviews, I had commented when the movie “ Iluminado por el Fuego” came out, that was the one that uncovered the pot. Because at the time, I said, with my companions, other companions who were here in Río Grande, and they told me, no, it can't be, look what they are saying. I hadn't seen the movie. Then I come and watch the movie, I don't remember where I saw it, if I saw it here at home, I don't know where I saw it, but I saw it. And when I approached the Center (Rio Grande War Veterans Center) , and he continued with this; No, it can't be, I tell him; But if that happened, I tell you, with the soldiers here in BIM 5. You are crazy, Pedro, they tell me , no. I tell him, ask Chasampi, ask Chasampi if I'm lying. And he, Chasampi; He advised them very well, and well, whatever happened, that happened, right? Because he said, at one point in an interview, he said, he says; “In the war I went with my soldiers, and in this I am with my soldiers because my soldiers tell the truth.” So better, of course, I stayed. But well, after all that, a big process begins, because when you want to uncover a pot, and they were uncovering a pressure cooker. And then came the persecution ; but everything.

 

- Of course, I was going to ask you that, because BIM 5 is an institution in Río Grande, and with a lot of interference, right? It always had, like here, the naval base in Ushuaia, it always had a lot of participation in the life of local society. So, I was going to ask you if you were ever advised by BIM 5, or threatened, or told, don't talk about this anymore.

No, I was in a meeting. I had a meeting with some admirals, who investigated me , I mean, and I tell you, but what happens is that you don't really want to investigate how things were, because they were mixing, they were really mixing, because they were mixing in the sense that they took Another, not from another regiment, but from other companies that were further away, asked him if they had seen what we were theoretically denouncing. So, it is the same as, for those who understand, it is the same as asking me what happened in Ushuaia, for example. Something like that, no, it's true, I can't say something that I didn't see. So, of course, I tell him, but to the subordinates, ask all of Bianchi's subordinates , I tell him, ask them, not other people. And well, and the squeeze existed . I always said, but if there is a bad apple in a drawer, let's get it out, let's get it out. I tell you, not all officers and NCOs were bad. I take my hat off to this. There were great officers who had great balls, yes? And officers and non-commissioned officers. There are some who screwed up. And they have to say that to remove that bad apple, to wash the institution, because the institutions continue to dirty it.

I love BIM 5 very much, I love BIM 5 too, because I was part of BIM 5. And I can't enter BIM 5, it makes me sad to go to BIM 5 to be able to, when the naval events come and all that. And I say, I'm not going, I'm not going because I'm afraid out there. I'm also now 62 years old, and one has fear. Because when we started all this, when we just started all this, even my family was in danger . Then my lady herself told me, she tells me; Pedro, but why did you speak after twenty-odd years? I tell him, and I gave him a summary of something else that had nothing to do with it. So I tell him, look; We have a daughter who is a teenager, right? They mistreat a teenage daughter, they rape her and everything, and that girl, what do I know, at fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years old, keeps it to herself, eats it and goes all her life, and what happens is, what do I know? , one day he is walking along San Martín Avenue. And he finds his father, the person, after twenty years, right? Find the person who hurt you so much. I often ask him, what would you do as a dad? What would you do as a mother?

 

- It's a good example, yes, it's a good example.

I tell him, what would you do? I tell my wife, and she says, I'll kill him. Well, when I saw this man, when he came after twenty-odd years, do you understand me? When I saw him, I had an attack of anguish, anger, anguish, do you understand me? And I was, I was there, we were on a break, there was (Carlos) Robacio and everything. And when I see him, I told him; “torturer” , but he didn't turn around, he didn't show his face, he didn't say anything . They told me nothing, nothing, nothing. My classmates took me out because I was out .

 

- When was that, Pedro, this episode that you are telling me now?

And this episode was as soon as Bianchi took over as commander here , I don't remember, but it was seventeen years ago, seventeen, eighteen years ago.

So, but me because, I have also been left with so much pain, why were those soldiers there? I mean, why? If they were bombing, leave it. Because what would we have said to the family if they had killed him? If they had killed Ricardo Sinchicay , a bomb would have hit him. What would the Navy have said to Ricardo Sinchicay 's mother or his brothers? Were they going to tell him that he was staked to death because he had behaved badly or that he had fought fiercely with that fight? Great soldier. That was what they were going to tell him. But they weren't going to tell him that he died from stab wounds.

 

- Pedro, I want to thank you for these minutes and for the courage to tell this story and I hope that at some point justice can be definitively issued regarding these events and that it makes sense, that is, that those who committed these events are alive and that they can be judged with all the norms that establish legal procedures in the country. So I thank you very much for these minutes.

Well, thank you very much and we are attentive. And you know that when I start this, when I'm going to say, well, when we started this with the theme of good, the only thing I wanted, I really tell you sincerely, I look at the sky, the only thing I wanted was Ricardo, Ricardo Bianchi ; because he is also, today he must be 64 years old; We were 62, he was also a kid, a young boy, with another hierarchy, of course; come and come to come closer and say, yes, the truth is that I was mistaken; The truth is that I was wrong, I think it would have all come to nothing. It's okay, they They will still have a stain, but maybe we wouldn't have come to this. I mean, at least, in my case, I didn't even apologize, saying, well, I admit that it gave me a snot. And well, it will be at the discretion of the Armed Forces what they can do at that moment with that boy.

 

Closing Comment by Gabriel Ramonet: Well, Pedro Morales, a former combatant of the Malvina War residing in Río Grande, did not know that it had been so long, 42 years, since he went to do the colimba in the north of that city, he encountered the war , and he was one of, or is one of the ex-combatants who denounces that torture and torment were committed during the conflict. He did not suffer it as a victim, but he was a direct witness. And it also corroborates his testimony, corroborates a very strong line that is in the judicial file, which I have not read in full, but in several of its parts, and that is that most of the reprisals against the soldiers were for stealing, in quotes. , meal.

Either by violating that rule that the superiors had established that you could not, well, for example, kill animals to eat them, or look for food from different places. For example, some entered the islanders' houses that were abandoned and took food, because they were dying of hunger, not from enemy bombs, in this case, but from hunger. When they found them, they staked them, they left them for entire nights outdoors, in the snow, in the cold, imagine, some died like that, and there are even more terrible events narrated in the file, even more terrible than that of the stakes.

And well, all this happened, it is being investigated, I insist, in a case that has been pending since 2007, 2007, and still does not have a resolution, because now it is stuck, for several years now, in the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, so that it is defined, once and for all, I say, whether or not these are crimes against humanity, that is, whether they are prescribed or not, whether they can be investigated.

 

 

By Agenda Malvinas

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