Monday, 8 June 2009

Argentina/U.S: Eric Massa

US congressman Eric Massa is leading an effort to introduce legislation that will punish "wealthy and middle-income nations", in this case Argentina, who "refuse to honour obligations to U.S. creditors".

That wouldn't have drawn my attention in particular, except for a long article in today's Pagina/12 which picks apart Massa's relationship to Argentina, where his father was a naval attaché. As part of his own naval career, Massa junior was also posted to Argentina in 1981 where he undertook an instruction voyage in the Libertad.

At this time, of course, Argentina was being ruled by a military junta. Captain of the Libertad was Carlos Vahiginger [sp?], an associate of head of the Navy, Emilio Massera. Second in Command was Oscar Calandra who later, under Alfonsín's government, called for a military amnesty. In 2005, he wrote that there was "an insidious campaign to discredit the Armed Forces headed by ideological sectors left over from the former terrorist organisations". Military chaplain Luis Manceñido was also aboard the Libertad; according to later witness accounts, he comforted torturers at the ESMA with parables about separating the wheat from the chaff.

Interesting contacts, huh? No, I'm not suggesting that there is a secret conspiracy of old Argentine military perpetrators in the U.S. Massa was a very young sailor at the time. I do think that it's interesting to note the networks reaching from the time of the dictatorship, when most of Argentina's foreign debt was created, to today. And I'm quite certain that despite Massa presenting himself as a "friend of Argentina", Argentina's ambassador to the United States has different ideas of friendship.

¡Qué Massita!

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