Assassination Attempts: Dan A. Mitrione Government Agent Part 2

About the assassination of Dan A. Mitrione a U.S. government agent, biography of the assassins and Uruguay aftermath.

The Victim: DAN A. MITRIONE. Mitrione U.S. Government agent

The Date: August, 1970.

The Event: In August, 1970, Dan A. Mitrione was abducted by the Tupamaros (MLN), a disciplined revolutionary underground in Uruguay. Despite near martial law, the authorities were unable to locate the kidnappers. Five days later the Tupamaros released a number of official documents that demonstrated Mitrione's police and FBI status. Many questions were asked by the Uruguayan Senate and press, and the story became a major international incident. The Tupamaros demanded that a large number of political prisoners be released in exchange for Mitrione's life. The Government refused. Mitrione was executed.

The world press distorted the events and painted a picture of a dedicated and benign do-gooder who was ruthlessly murdered by a gang of terrorist hoodlums. However, the true information began to leak out and Mitrione's death provided the world with a significant glimpse into the repressive nature of American "foreign aid."

The Assassins: The Tupamaros (MLN-Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional) are a group of leftist urban guerrillas in Uruguay. Author John Gerassi describes their origins thus: ". . . The Tupamaros began as a militant sugarworkers' union group organized by Raul Sendic, a Socialist party official. After various unfruitful legal protest marches and demonstrations for better working conditions, one section of the group went underground and Sendic disappeared. Then, in July 1963, 'some unknown group' raided a rifle club. Shortly thereafter armed men began to hold up banks, raid the coffers of U.S. enterprises, and kidnap unpopular government or police officials. . . ."

The Tupamaros have also expropriated food from rich companies and turned it over to the poor. They have stolen police uniforms for use in their high-efficiency actions, and have taken incriminating documents from government and corporation offices. Their actions are accompanied by political explanations and programs for a democratic distribution of wealth and power.

Aftermath: Jerry Lewis and Frank Sinatra put on a show in Mitrione's memory. Newspapers all over the 2 Americas carried eulogies to this "defenseless human being" (White House characterization). The network news devoted a long segment to Mitrione's funeral. But they could not completely refute the documented evidence exploded by the Tupamaros. The people of Uruguay learned a deep and quick lesson about foreign domination, but the lesson was largely abstract for the U.S. public.

The U.S. Government sent FBI and CIA agents to Uruguay to extinguish the Tupamaros and suppress their wide popular support. Eventually, Green Beret "advisers" were brought in; meanwhile the U.S. was flying hundreds of Uruguayan police to the U.S. for training at advanced police centers.

The killing of Dan Anthony Mitrione definitely focused world attention on the role of U.S. "Public Safety Advisers," and perhaps it has encouraged a healthy political skepticism that could not have resulted from any lesser event.

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