An exiled Uruguayan quitar-repairer now living in Chile was one of the first members of the Tupamaro urban guerrilla movement now in the news in Uruguay.
An exiled Uruguayan quitar-repairer now living in Chile was one of the first members of the Tupamaro urban guerrilla movement now in the news in Uruguay. Tupamaro members on Friday (8 January) kidnapped the British ambassador to Uruguay Mr. Geoffrey Jackson.
The guitar-repairer, now known as Alberto Zapican, and known in the Tupamaros as "Pancho", joined the movement in 1964, but now publicly denies that he is still a militant member.
The former urban guerrilla now plays the drums in a Chilean music-group, and both makes and repairs guitars for a living.
He learnt the craft in prison serving a four-year term for bank-robbery, the means by which the Tupamaros often raise money to finance their activities.
He attributes the success of the guerillas to their discipline, their moral attitude to their struggle, and to the efforts they make to avoid needless violence. He also thinks the degree of secrecy they maintain is important.
Zapican also told reporters he had been tortured in jail, indicating as evidence the places where he had been given electric shocks. The wounds had become infected, he said.
He denied he had informed on his comrades under torture, and told his interviewer: "I have told you no secrets".
He is the son of an Indian father and a gypsy mother, and served his leftwing apprenticeship among the destitute cane-cutters of northern Uruguay. He did not learn to read or write till the age of 15.