Servicio de Información de Defensa (SID)


The headquarters of the Servicio de Información de Defensa (Defence Information Service, SID) were a clandestine torture and detention centre situated at No.1488 (now No.1538) Bulevar Artigas Street in Montevideo (Uruguay). Different aliases were used to refer to the place including “la mansión” (the mansion), “la casona” (the large house) or “la casa de Bulevar y Palmar” (the house on Bulevar and Palmar Streets).

It is an old, stately building with white, marble pillars and three floors, situated on one of the city’s main avenues. The house was built in the year 1924 and was originally owned by two upper-class families, before the building was then acquired by the Ministry of Defence in 1970.

Following the coup d’état on 27th June 1973, the SID played a central role in the repressive activities of the dictatorship, both at the national level and participating in the joint clandestine operations with similar organisations across the region through Operation Condor.

There are testimonies of people who claim to have been subjected to extorsion, capture and torture in the SID headquarters during the years 1974 and 1975. It is, however, in the year 1976 that the regular operations of the clandestine torture and detention centre unfolded in the basement of the house.

In July 1976, a group of Uruguayan political militants who lived in Argentina were kidnapped in Buenos Aires. They were, firstly, taken to the nearby “Automotores Orletti” clandestine torture and detention centre before being secretly transferred to Uruguay. They were handed over to the SID, after having been detained for several weeks in a clandestine detention and torture centre in the neighbourhood of Punta Gorda in Montevideo. Between August and December 1976, 30 people were detained at the centre, the majority of whom were living in a single shared cell. The coordination between the repressors who operated as part of the SID and a task force that operated in Orletti was a permanent arrangement at that time. This is evident from the survivors’ testimonies that recalled that Argentine officers had visited the house at least once.

During their detention, a number of detainees noticed that, on the ground floor, there were children and a woman with a baby who had been born at the beginning of November. This information was fundamental for identifying that María Claudia García Iruretagoyena was also detained there. The young Argentine woman had been captured, along with her husband, while she was still pregnant. She was firstly taken to Orletti before subsequently being transferred to Uruguay. María Claudia gave birth in the clandestine detention centre and was able to spend some time with her daughter, Macarena, there, before being disappeared. Macarena Gelman, the granddaughter of the Argentine poet Juan Gelman, was illegally adopted by a Uruguayan police officer and recovered her identity in 2000. Her mother is yet to be found.

The siblings, four-year-old Anatole and one-and-a-half-year-old Victoria Julien also spent several weeks at the SID detention centre. Their parents were never to be seen again after they were arrested in Buenos Aires in September 1976. The Julien siblings were illegally transferred to Chile and were abandoned at O’Higgins Square in the city of Valparaíso in December 1976. Meanwhile, the clandestine centre was dismounted and the surviving detainees were taken to the Libertad prison (for men) and Punta de Rieles prison (for women). One of the detainees, the journalist Enrique Rodríguez Larreta Piera, was liberated and managed to travel to Europe, where he denounced the situation to international organisations.

At the end of the 1970s, the SID moved its offices and operations to another headquarters. In 1980, the building was taken over by another branch of the Ministry of Defence, known as the Centro de Altos Estudios Nacionales (National Centre of High Studies, CALEN).

In 2012, when the sentence of the Gelman vs. Uruguay case was finally pronounced by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, a plaque was placed to remember that the building was the last place where María Claudia García was seen alive. The plaque also pays tribute to all the other victims who were held in this place.

In December 2016, the house became the headquarters of the Institución Nacional de Derechos Humanos y Defensoría del Pueblo (National Institution of Human Rights and Ombudsman, INDDHH). On 22nd December 2017, the INDDHH laid a sign at the front of the building to make the public aware that it was formerly used as a clandestine detention and torture centre during the period of state terror. On 27th July 2018, a museum exhibition was opened to the public which narrates these events.

On 5th July 2019, the Comisión Nacional Honoraria de Sitios de Memoria (the National Honorary Commission for Sites of Memory) declared the building a Site of Memory according to Law No. 19.641 that was passed in the year 2018.

The events that occurred in this house, under the framework of Operation Condor, were investigated in the Uruguayan and Argentine trials. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the Uruguayan state in 2011 in the “Gelman” sentence to bring about symbolic reparations and to remove the obstacles that hindered or impeded the advancement of the legal cases for such crimes against humanity.

“La Mansión”, “La Casona” o “La casa de Bulevar y Palmar”
Bulevar Artigas 1488 (actual 1532)
Institutional responsibility
Servico de Información y Defensa (SID)
Operating period
Current situation
Sitio de Memoria abierto al público y sede de la Institución Nacional de Derechos Humanos
Place ID
Related victims
Ficha de víctima #435 - Gelman Garcia, María Macarena  
Ficha de víctima #425 - Nores Montedónico, Alvaro
Ficha de víctima #388 - Julien Grisonas, Anatole Boris  
Ficha de víctima #389 - Julien Grisonas, Victoria Eva
Ficha de víctima #360 - García Iruretagoyena Cassinelli de Gelman, María Claudia
Ficha de víctima #323 - Zahn Freire, Edelweiss
Ficha de víctima #332 - Zina Figueredo, Gastón
Ficha de víctima #331 - Petrides, Marta
Ficha de víctima #330 - Lubián Peláez, Víctor Hugo
Ficha de víctima #329 - Soto Loureiro, Ariel Rogelio
Ficha de víctima #328 - Salvo Sánchez, Ana María
Ficha de víctima #326 - Rodríguez Larreta Piera, Enrique Carlos
Ficha de víctima #325 - Rama Molla, María Elba
Ficha de víctima #324 - Nogueira Pauillier, Raquel
Ficha de víctima #322 - Cadenas Ravela, Alicia Raquel
Ficha de víctima #321 - Díaz Berdayes, José Félix
Ficha de víctima #319 - Anzalone Cantoni, Laura Haydeé
Ficha de víctima #318 - Quadros Herrera, Ana Inés
Ficha de víctima #317 - Michelini Delle Piane, María Margarita
Ficha de víctima #315 - Maceiro Perez, Asilú Sonia
Ficha de víctima #314 - López Burgos, Sergio Ruben
Ficha de víctima #311 - Dean Bermúdez, Eduardo
Ficha de víctima #310 - Altuna Facal, Raúl Luis
Ficha de víctima #307 - Gayoso Jauregui, Cecilia Irene
Ficha de víctima #305 - Soliño Platero, María Mónica
Ficha de víctima #300 - Rodríguez Larreta Martínez, Enrique (hijo)
Ficha de víctima #316 - Méndez Lompodio, Sara Rita  
Ficha de víctima #293 - Pérez Lutz, Elizabeth
Ficha de víctima #290 - González Cardozo, Jorge Raúl
Ficha de víctima #260 - Nores Montedónico, María del Pilar