The Minister of National Defense, Javier García, ordered an internal investigation into the complaints of physical and psychological abuse presented by an Air Force cadet at the Military School of Aeronautics.
“By virtue of the complaint, it seemed to us that it is appropriate to carry out the investigation,” García told The Observer. The investigation has not yet been carried out.
As reported by the newspaper El Telégrafo de Paysandú in its edition on Sunday, January 15, cadet Ariel Cortés registered to join the Air Force in 2021.
Shortly after entering the Military School of Aeronautics, he began to suffer from knee pain, for which he was exempted from physical exercises. However, he denounced that due to the passivity of the School authorities, the third-year cadets forced him to make humiliating efforts, such as “walking through the corridor of the dormitory supporting himself with his forearms and the balls of his feet, carrying a box on his back,” according to the Sanducero newspaper.
In turn, they did not allow him to apply ice and the referral to the doctor at the Military Hospital was delayed for a month. The consequence of the punishments and the delay in health care resulted in the young man having to undergo knee surgery.
Meanwhile, the Military School of Aeronautics discharged him.
The following year, Cortés ran again, but the climate of harassment redoubled, according to what he denounced.
According to the chronicle, the situation reached the point that a private letter that Cortés had written to his family was taken from him by the third-year cadets, who handed it over to Captain Diego Filippini, who in turn forced Cortés to read it in loudly before a formation of other cadets and officers.
The fact led to an internal investigation entrusted to the deputy director of the EMA, Lieutenant Colonel Gerardo Tajes. According to El Telégrafo, this officer “justified the violation of the applicant’s right to private correspondence by pointing out that Juan could have refused the order to read the letter.”
Minister García said that the primary information that the Air Force sent him about the case does not coincide with the journalistic report.
The cadet’s father is a former Air Force officer, Major Leonardo Cortés, who retired in 2008 and settled in Panama, he told The Observer who recounted the things that were happening to authorities from the EMA and to the then Commander-in-Chief of the FAU, General Luis De León.
He also met with Minister García to tell him about the case. The complainant’s father was a companion of many aviation officers. From 2010 to date, he has been a pilot for Copa airlines.
“My son entered the EMA healthy, they hurt him, they hurt him while he was hurt and they discharged him,” he said.
The director of the EMA when the events reported occurred was Colonel Walter Pérez.
Cortés also denounced her son’s case before the National Human Rights Institution.