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Paraguayan Gov’t offers public apology for torturing victims

Asuncion, Jun 24 (Prensa Latina) On Monday, the Paraguayan State, through the interior Ministry offered public apologies to Eulalio Blanco and Ernesto Benitez, victims of torture by the National Police.

The ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Higher Institute of Police Education, in Luque, and was headed by Minister Enrique Riera.”I am deeply moved because, as you know, I am the son of Enrique Riera Figueredo, who had been 27 times imprisoned and 2 times exiled by this same ministry that I occupy today. It is not a minor issue to try to make this ministry, which was once a ministry of terror, truly an Interior Ministry, a ministry of reunion,” Riera stated.

The minister regretted that the Paraguayan State has waited so long to offer apologies not only to Eulalio Blanco and Ernesto Benitez, but also to all the nationals who suffered some kind of torture by the security forces.

Ernesto Benitez was a teacher and founder of a school, and in that effort, he suffered two assassination attempts and torture.

Upon receiving the apologies, he expressed, “The public apology made by the State generates two situations for me, a tremendous joy, let’s say, individually speaking, but at the same time, deep pain, because I am not only an individual, I do not fight, and I do not claim rights that only correspond to me. I am a social leader, a popular educator.”

In the case of Eulalio Blanco, who died at the hands of the police during a farmer protest in 2003 in the north of the country, his widow was present on his behalf.

In September 2016, a pre-agreement was signed whereby the Paraguayan State accepted its responsibility for Blanco’s murder.