The Americas

Uruguay's last dictator, Gregorio Alvarez, dies at 91

  • FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2007 file photo, former Uruguayan dictator Gregorio Alvarez arrives to court in Montevideo, Uruguay. Alvarez, the last de facto president of the dictatorship that ruled Uruguay between 1973 and 1985, died on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. He was 91. (AP Photo/Alejandro Arigon, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2007 file photo, former Uruguayan dictator Gregorio Alvarez arrives to court in Montevideo, Uruguay. Alvarez, the last de facto president of the dictatorship that ruled Uruguay between 1973 and 1985, died on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. He was 91. (AP Photo/Alejandro Arigon, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2007 file photo, former Uruguayan dictator Gregorio Alvarez arrives to court in Montevideo, Uruguay. Alvarez, the last de facto president of the dictatorship that ruled Uruguay between 1973 and 1985, died on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. He was 91. (AP Photo/Alejandro Arigon, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2007 file photo, former Uruguayan dictator Gregorio Alvarez arrives to court in Montevideo, Uruguay. Alvarez, the last de facto president of the dictatorship that ruled Uruguay between 1973 and 1985, died on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. He was 91. (AP Photo/Alejandro Arigon, File)  (The Associated Press)

The last leader of Uruguay's brutal military dictatorship has died. Gen. Gregorio Alvarez was 91.

The Central Hospital of the Armed Forces has confirmed Wednesday's death.

Alvarez participated in the 1973 military coup that dissolved congress and he became army chief in 1978, finally taking over the presidency in 1981. Alvarez finally agreed to hand over power to an elected civilian government in 1984.

Hundreds of suspected leftists were arrested and tortured and scores of them killed under the military dictatorship.

In 2009, Alvarez was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his responsibility in the death or disappearance of 37 Uruguayans who had been brought back to the country after imprisonment in Argentina as part of a regional crackdown on leftists called "Operation Condor."