Regiment "Arica" de la Serena
La Serena; Region IV
Regiment "Arica" de la Serena was the principle center of torture for this region. The political prisoners were moved from different centers of detention to be interrogated by agents of the Army, Investigations, Police and Civil authorities. The interrogators systematically used rape, beatings and application of electricity. On the first floor there were dormitories that were used as a Center of Torture. And on the second floor were the Military Attorney General's offices as well as those of Administration and Interrogation.
Here the detained were constantly maltreated and beaten, to be returned afterward to the Serena Jail or other places within the Regiment. In those days the Regiment of
"Arica" de la Serena was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ariosto Apóstol Orrego.The Valech Commission received hundreds of complaints from men and women who were held at this place - especially during the span between 1973 and 1974.
The reports agree that they were held incommunicado, threatened and beaten, that they were deprived of food, water, clothing and sleep. They slept on cots without mattresses or blankets and were not permitted to clean themselves. The political prisoners were isolated in a tiny cell about three and a quarter feet square, where they were kept without food or water. In many cases they were nude and were subjected to interrogations every night. Interrogations occurred in sheds located at the rear of the regiment, in premises on the second floor, and also in a swimming pool inside the regiment. The commission received reports from the prisoners, both men and women, indicating they had been subjected to beatings, application of electricity, hangings, breaking of fingers with pliers, cuts with "yataganes" (a kind of hunting knife), submersion in water, sharp strikes against the ears (with a telephone), burnings, being forced to eat rubbish and excrement, feigned execution by firing squads, being forced to observe the torture of fellow prisoners.
According to some testimonies, during the decade of the '80s, by order of the prosecuting attorney, a number of prisoners were moved to jails in other cities, especially Santiago, as well as to a precinct of the CNI in Santiago. The victims reported having been subjected to cruel tortures in their interrogations - such as being struck by heavy, blunt objects like iron balls; having electricity applied, being hung by feet and hands, being attacked by dogs, and being subjected to feigned executions.
On the 16th of October, 1973, the following were executed by a firing squad under the direction of the so-called "Caravan of Death" and officials of the military precinct. The political prisoners were: Oscar Gastón Aedo Herrera (23 years old), Carlos Enrique Alcayaga Varela (38), José Eduardo Araya González (23), Marcos Enrique Barrantes Alcayaga (26); Jorge Abel Contreras Godoy (31), Hipólito Pedro Cortes Alvarez (43), Oscar Armando Cortes Cortes (48), Victor Fernando Escobar Astudillo (22), Jorge Mario Jordan Domic (29), Manuel Jachadur Marcarian Jamett (31), Jorge Ovidio Osorio Zamora (35), Jorge Washington Peña Hen (45), Mario Alberto Ramirez Sepulveda (44), Roberto Guzman Santa Cruz (35), Gabriel Gonzalo Vergara Muñoz (22).
The "Arica" Regiment of La Serena Also is closely connected with the death and disappearance of Francisco Javier Santoni Díaz and José Rodriguez Acosta (father and son), José Segundo Rodríguez Torres, Bernardo Mario Lejderman, Konujowska (Argentinian) and his wife, María del Rosario Avalos Castañeda (Mexican).
Remember, general Cheyre?
(Source: part of the text published in the daily newspaper, Punto Final, March 2002)
"On the 6th of October, 1973, at lunch time, you arrived, Mr. Cheyre, accompanied by Planco and Ojeda plus a squad of soldiers. You broke down the door andanything else that stood in your way such as household objects. You destroyed the living room using "yatagan knives. You burned the books in my little library; the patio became full of holes.
What were you and your men looking for? Arms!
You didn't find any and this reduced you to a paroxysm of fury: the blows grew worse and worse against my husband and me. Your insults, like 'slut,' 'whore,' 'your mother's cunt' - still echo in my ears, like the terrified cries of my little children. With my hands tied and my eyes blindfolded, I was taken to Regiment "Arica" de la Serena. Your commandant was Ariosto Lapostol Orrego. I was thrown into a punishment cell from which I was taken to sessions of torture. Other women also suffered rape, beating, application of electricity to fingers, feet, nipples, vagina. Without food or water I drank what accumulated in the corners with urine and the remains of feces.
You ordered that I be shot, since I implicated no one and knew nothing about weapons. And the feigned execution took place.
Handcuffed and blindfolded, we were being moved to the women's jail when someone gave the order to halt. 'Free her hands' it commanded the guards - 'and all you others behind.' This stranger caressed my cheek, then she took one of my hands and placed a message in it. It read, 'Lady, I have had no part in this. Never forget the names written here: Juan Emilio Cheyre, Polanco, Ojeda, Osvaldo Pinchetti (alias Professor Destiny). You were tortured for a month."
Another testimony: "I was imprisoned in the Good Shepherd jail for a month in a punishment cell. This seemed a bit luxurious to me: it held a bed, wash basin and chamber pot. The soldiers always took me blindfolded to the torture chamber. Once I was no longer held incommunicado, I found myself with my little girls, Natacha, a year and 9 months old, and Yelena, 3 years, 6 months. These shared my imprisonment for 3 years."
Criminals and Accomplices:
Lieutenant Colonel Ariosto Alberto Lapostol Orrego (Commandant of Regiment "Arica" de la Serena - at that time); Lieutenant (in September, 1973) Juan Emilio Cheyre Espinoza (presently Commander in Chief of Chile's Armed Forces); Major Marcelo Moren Brito (alias "the hoarse one"); Colonel Fernando Guillermo Planco (Army. Chief of intelligence for the Regiment "Arica" de la Serena); Lieutenant Hernán Ojeda (Army); Sargent Salazar (Army); Corporals Polanco, Maldonado, Fernández (Army); Lieutenant (in September 1973) Ludwing (Army); Captains of Police Manuel Casanga and Antonio Hernández; doctor Osvaldo Pinchetti Gac (alias"Professor Destiny" or "Doctor Torment"); attorney Florencio Bonilla (Army); doctors Guido Díaz Pacci and Carlos Andren Albornoz (Army); Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Blanco Castillo (Army); Captain Alvaro Delgado Benitez (Army); Major Ramón Guajardo Laltierra (Army); Captain Juan Orellana Miranda (Army); Captain Raúl Pereira Sierra (Army); Second Lieutenant Claudio Prohaska Castro (Army); Sargent Verdejo (Army); attorney Luis Renato Valencia Querci (Army); The Guards at Regiment Pastén (Army); The Guards at Regiment Alegre (Army); Luis Humberto Ferández Monje (Army Petty Officer); Héctor Omar Valle Biriola (Army Petty Officer).
Sources of information: International Red Cross; Informe Rettig; CODEPU; Informe Valech; daily newspaper "El Siglo;" daily newspaper "Punto Final;" Association of Ex Political Prisoners, Santiago; Memoriaviva archives.