I guess the government of Uruguay was pressing the US for information about an unsolved poisoning-via-wine case from 1978 and the US responded by bringing up the also unsolved killing of Dan Mitrione in 1970. It sure sounds like we knew something about the poisoning via wine.
Case of Killing via Wine
In August 1978, Senator Carlos Julio Pereyra
(Chairman of the House of Representatives), Senator Mario
Heber and Representative Luis Alberto Lacalle (later
President of the Republic), each received a bottle of white
wine wrapped in blue paper from an unknown source. The three
democratically-elected congressmen belonged to the National
(Blanco) party. As was discovered later, the three wine
bottles contained a powerful poison. While none of the
congressmen touched the wine, Mrs. Fontana de Heber (the wife
of Senator Heber) drank some of it and subsequently died. The
perpetrators of the crime were never identified. When the
Frente Amplio party assumed power in 2005, it promised to
account for all human rights abuses committed during the
dictatorship period. Since then, the Blancos have complained
that the FA has only pursued cases connected to its members
and its sympathizers.
Â¶4. (C) A similar letter to POTUS and FOIA requests were made
by a group of Uruguayan deputies last year regarding the
poison wine case. The State Department declassified some
documents related to the case. The CIA did not, citing
concerns about the compromise of sources and methods. Many
Uruguayans remain unsatisfied with the USG response and are
convinced that the USG possesses useful information about the
death of Mrs. Heber.
The Mitrione cable is here: Cable Viewer
We are keeping our fingers crossed that the
poisoned wine case has definitively been laid to rest. The
excellent work at the NSC and the Department of State
persuaded our interlocutors that we take President Vazquez'
requests and his relationship with President Bush seriously,
even though we know that Vazquez was prompted to do so for
domestic political reasons. Finally, the Ambassador raised
the Mitrione case as a pushback on the poisoned wine case.
More about Mitrione here: Dan Mitrione. He doesn't sound like a very nice guy.
The OPS had been helping the local police since 1965, providing them with weapons and training. It is claimed that torture had already been practiced since the 1960s, but Dan Mitrione was reportedly the man who made it routine. He is quoted as having said once: "The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect." Former Uruguayan police officials and CIA operatives claimed Mitrione had taught torture techniques to Uruguayan police in the cellar of his Montevideo home, including the use of electrical shocks delivered to his victims' mouths and genitals. He also helped train foreign police agents in the United States in the context of the Cold War. It has been alleged that he used homeless people for training purposes, who were allegedly executed once they had served their purpose.
Cool to see a leak with a local connection though.