The Argentinean Unit of Forensic Anthropology (EAAF, in Spanish) confirmed to have found the remains of Cuban diplomat Crescencio Nicomedes Galañena Hernández, who was kidnapped by the military dictatorship in Buenos Aires, on August 9th, 1976.
The body was discovered together with two others still unidentified, in an area near the San Fernando aerodrome, in the outskirts of this city.
José Luis Méndez Méndez, investigator and legal representative of the two Cuban families in Argentina, is interviewed on the issue. He is also the author of Bajo las alas del Cóndor (Under the wings of the Condor) and La Operación Cóndor contra Cuba (Condor Operation against Cuba) , which are two must references to get to know the history of the operations carried out by Latin American dictatorships, under the protection of Washington, during 1970’s.
– Under which circumstances were Galañena and Cejas kidnapped?
– They were two young diplomats who arrived in the Cuban Embassy to Argentina, on August 18th, 1975. Galañena was 26 years old, and Cejas, 22. On August 9th, 1976, when they were both going home, they were captured and taken to the clandestine centre of detention, torture and extermination of the Operacion Condor, in Buenos Aires, which was known as Automotores Orletti. They had been reported missing since then.
– How was it possible to prove that both of them were kept in Automotores Orletti?
– An Argentinean survivor named José Luis Bertazzo heard from two young Chileans imprisoned in Orletti that the Cubans had been kept there. On the other hand, on July 19th, 2004, I was confirmed on the issue by Chilean repressor Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda during a conversation we held in Santiago de Chile. He commented that they had been interrogated by Cuban-origin terrorist Guillermo Novo Sampoll.
-Which was the CIA participation in this operation?
– That agency unveiled a secret document in which it is affirmed that the Chileans I mentioned had been kept in Orletti. An Argentinean repressor told me in Paraguay, that the CIA was sent the results of the interrogations made in Orletti to Argentineans, Uruguayans and Chileans. Sixty five of them got disappeared.
– According to what you have written in your books, you were involved in the search of the remains of the two Cubans since2004, and you even participated with local authorities in the excavations made two kilometres away from the location of the find. How did you get to San Fernando?
– We followed the San Fernando lead after a comment published in a book by two American journalists, who affirmed that the bodies of the two Cuban diplomats had been placed into 55-gallon tanks filled with cement, in the San Fernando canal. In 2009, I participated in the search made in the area by Argentinean divers from the Naval Prefecture. Local authorities actively participated in the search. Since 2005, we followed several leads, but we were confident that the answer was in San Fernando, like it has been affirmed now.
– Who are the repressors who are now associated with the news linked with the identification of Galañena?
– During the years 2010 and 2011, several repressors were tried for the Automotores Orletti Cause, and some of the torturers were among them. 65 crimes against humanity were tried, and their sentences ratified. There is another cause underway due to crimes committed in Automotores Orletti. The case of the murder of the Cubans was part of the trial, and for that reason the repressors were sentenced as well.
– Once the Galañena remains were identified, what is next?
– After the rigorous identification made by the Argentinean forensic experts, and the judicial proceedings, I believe the Cuban government will be officially informed, and the procedure for the repatriation of the remains will begin.
– Is there any possibility to find Cejas as well?
– The search for Cejas continues, both the historic and the forensic search, and we hope he will be found.
(Taken from Cubadebate and tranlsted by Escambray)