After being a fugitive for almost 20 years, Juan Carlos Vázquez Sarmiento, appropriator of Ezequiel Rochistein Tauro –who was born in captivity in Esma in 1977– and repressor of the Air Force was arrested. Federal judge Daniel Rafecas ordered his arrest. He was circulating under a false identity. “It is a triumph of the struggle,” they defined from the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.
Vázquez Sarmiento was a member of the Air Force Intelligence service during the last ecclesiastical civic-military dictatorship. Federal Court number 6 was looking for him since 2003, when he began to flee from Justice. Rafecas took the direction of that court last week, after being drawn after Rodolfo Canicoba Corral left it vacant after retiring. One of the first decisions made by the judge was to give impetus to the search for Vasquez Sarmiento, who had been denounced at the beginning of the century in the case for the appropriation of Guillermo Pérez Roisimblit, son of Patricia Roisinblit and José Pérez Rojo, kidnapped by the Air Force in the RIBA and she transferred to Esma to give birth. Later, he would also have a cause for himself: the one that investigated the appropriation of the son of the Rochistein Taurus marriage, also born in the Esma.
In 2013, Vasquez Sarmiento appeared on the radar of the file that investigates crimes against humanity of the Air Force, especially those perpetrated by the Intelligence of that force, in charge of Federal Court number 3, area of natural activity of Rafecas. There, that year, the magistrate issued an arrest warrant but was never able to investigate him, since he was a fugitive.
At the request of Rafecas, last week the Airport Security Police became involved in the search. And after almost 20 years, a data appeared. From the force they assure that never before, in 19 years, was she summoned to work to find the whereabouts of Vásquez Sarmiento. On Thursday, members of that force intercepted him arriving at a house located in Ituzaingó, in the western part of the province of Buenos Aires. Police personnel identified him leaving his wife’s house, about ten blocks from where he was approached.
Sources of the cause and the force reported that when asked to identify himself, the repressor denied that he was Vásquez Sarmiento and said that he did not have identity documents to certify his statements. The PSA officers took him to the force offices in Ezeiza to check fingerprints. On the way, he confessed and the tests confirmed it.
On Friday, a holiday, he was investigated for the appropriation of Ezequiel Rochistein Tauro and refused to testify. He was arrested. Next Tuesday he will be investigated for the RIBA case, in court 3.
Vásquez sarmiento, the appropriator
The cause of the appropriation of Ezequiel Rochistein Tauro, the first in which Vásquez Sarmiento was involved, is a detachment from another cause by appropriation: that of Guillermo Pérez Roisimblit, son of Patricia Roisinblit and José Pérez Rojo, Mariana Pérez’s brother. The name of the appropriator appears in one of the complaints that Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo receives, and which relates a scene in which two men take a baby who would not stop crying to calm him down from a woman who was breastfeeding her daughter with his chest. The two men were Guillermo’s repressor and appropriator, Francisco Gómez, and Vásquez Sarmiento. “This woman says’ Vasquez Sarmiento, he named this guy’s surname and nickname, ‘El Colo’, and also said that he had stayed with a boy a year before” from the appropriation of his brother, “Mariana Pérez tells this diary.
When Abuelas began the investigation by judicial means, they found a previous complaint in the case of Ezequiel and the other daughter of the marriage of Vásquez Sarmiento and his wife in which birth certificates had been requested. When comparing both documents with the entry belonging to Guillermo, they note that all three are signed by the same doctor, Alejandro Canela, who then certified births at home. In the case of the two men, it was confirmed; they were bogus games.
Two years later, the cases continued separately. It was then that, when summoned to provide an investigative statement for the appropriation of Rochistein Tauro, Vásquez Sarmiento escaped. March 2002.
Only in September 2010, Abuelas was able to provide information on the restitution of the identity of grandson number 102 in the history of search and identification of babies stolen during the dictatorship by the human rights organization. Ezequiel, who resisted for years, finally learned that he was the son of María Graciela Tauro and Jorge Daniel Rochistein, kidnapped from a Hurlingham bar in May 1976, clandestinely detained at the Castelar III Police Station and “Mansión Seré”. María Graciela was transferred to Esma, where Ezequiel was born one day in November, she doesn’t know which one.
45 years after the events, 20 years after Justice had his name as one of those responsible for kidnappings and theft of babies, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo consider it “a triumph that represents and graphs the tenacity and struggle of so many years and it continues to be a relief despite the fact that time weighs ”, defined Emanuel Lovelli, one of the agency’s lawyers.
Vásquez Sarmiento, the repressor of the RIBA
Vázquez Sarmiento has a second arrest warrant, as a repressor of the Air Force, fought in 2013 in the megacause of the First Corps, also in charge of Rafecas, in Federal Court 3. The repressor was a non-commissioned officer of the Air Force and took part in the Regional Intelligence of Buenos Aires. It is known from testimonies that he directed the operation in which they kidnapped José Pérez Rojo, Patricia Roisimblit, eight months pregnant, and their baby Mariana Pérez, in October 1978. He was also the one who handed over that girl, today the complainant in the cause, to his paternal family.
José was kidnapped on October 6 at the toy store he used to attend, in Martínez, province of Buenos Aires. With him, the gang goes to the apartment where he lived with Patricia and drinks it from both of them. They kidnap them both. Several hours later, Mariana is handed over to her paternal family. She is received by Marcelo, her very young cousin, who decades later recognizes Vásquez Sarmiento as the “nervous, redhead” who gives the baby. He locates his photograph among dozens of others in black and white kept by the federal court of Rafecas.
The repressor is one of the members of the RIBA who has yet to judge, after the first oral and public trial in which the dictator Omar Graffigna and Gómez, among others, were sentenced five years ago. “Now that he is going to go to trial for having appropriated Ezequiel, I also hope for the events of the RIBA, for the kidnapping of my parents and I also hope for mine, that they also advance on the other members of the RIBA, those who declared as witnesses at the trial but we know they are involved. Personnel who are all from military and civilian intelligence and who continued to be so throughout their lives ”, defined Mariana Pérez.