Pedro Algorta, a lawyer, showed me the fat dossier about the murder of two women. The double crime had been committed with a knife at the end of 1982, in a Montevideo suburb.
The accused, Alma Di Agosto, had confessed. She had been in jail more than a year, & she was apparently condemned to rot there for the rest of her life.
As is the custom, the police had raped & tortured her. After a month of continuous beatings they had extracted several confessions.
Alma Di Agosto’s confessions did not much resemble each other, as she had committed the same murder in many different ways. Different people appeared in each confession, picturesque phantoms without names or addresses, because the electric cattle prod turns anyone into a prolific storyteller.
Furthermore, the author demonstrated the agility of an Olympic athlete, the strength of a fairground Amazon, & the dexterity of a professional matador. But most surprising was the wealth of detail: in each confession, the accused described with millimetric precision clothing, gestures, surroundings, positions, objects….
Alma Di Agosto was blind.
Her neighbors, who know her & loved her, were convinced she was guilty:
“Why?” asked the lawyer.
“Because the papers say so.”
“”But the papers lie,” said the lawyer.
“But the radio says so too,” explained the neighbors, “and the TV!”
- Eduardo Galeano, from The Book of Embraces.