Ecuador's attorney general Galo Chiriboga says his office has conclusive evidence that the country maintained a secret police force in the 1980s. The secret police, known as SIC-10, were based in Quito and were probably responsible for the deaths and disappearances of dozens of political opponents of the military dictatorships of the period, says Chiriboga.
At the time, government officials denied the existence of SIC-10.
Chiriboga says his office has a definitive list of names and aliases of police officers assigned to the SIC-10 between 1984 and 1989, as well as the unit’s chain of command. The information was discovered when the attorney general’s office confiscated National Directorate of Judicial Police archives, as a part of its investigation into human rights abuses in the 1980s. "We now have proof that SIC-10 existed," Chiriboga says.
SIC-10 is believed to be behind 136 human rights violations, which involved more than 456 victims. Those 136 cases are being investigated by an Ecuadorian "truth commission" established in 2010.
The documents seized from the judicial police also contain the SIC-10’s blacklist of alleged subversives, says Chiriboga.
Former agents and commanders suspected of being members of the SIC-10 have always denied the existence of that unit and their involvement with any of the extrajudicial executions, sexual, psychological, and physical violence attributed to the secret police.
Chiriboga has not released any of the names that appear in the new documents. He said his investigation is ongoing.
Correa apologises to Peru for oil spill
President Rafael Correa has apologized to Peru for an oil spill in the Amazon rainforest. The spill occurred when a landslide caused an oil pipeline to rupture May 31, allowing 11,000 barrels of oil to flow into nearby rivers.
Correa made the apology in his Saturday radio and television address. “We are sincerely sorry for this and will continue to work with the government of Peru to repair the damage,” he said.
Ecuadorian environmental and navy personnel are engaged in remediation operations in the area of the Coca and Napa Rivers. The Napo flows through both Ecuador and Peru before joining the Amazon River.
Ecuador has warned Brazil that some of the spilled oil may reach its territory as well.
In 2014, Chileans will travel to the U.S. without a visa
Beginning in 2014 Chileans wishing to travel to the United States will not need a visa, thanks to a new agreement between the two countries. This will make Chile the only Latin American country whose citizens will not need a visa to enter the U.S.
Chile’s Ambassador to the United States Felipe Bulnes said that significant progress has been made with the US Visa Waiver Program. After several months of negotiations, the two countries are close to signing the two agreements to exchange the information required by the program. The exchange will include information on serious crimes and counter-terrorism cooperation.
According to Bulnes, one of the reasons for the deal is the low rate of rejections of visa applications by Chileans. Last year, Chile lowered the rejection rate to less than three percent. Also, Chile will be implementing an electronic passport system in September, a program requirement.
President Sebastián Piñera will travel to the U.S. later this month to meet with President Barack Obama and will address the progress of the visa waiver program, among other subjects.
Photo caption: Ecuador Attorney General Galo Chiriboga.