Sunday, 7 March 2010

Argentina: Calls for Amnesty

In Argentina, right-wing military supporters are planning to hold a march on 20 April entitled "An amnesty for a Bicentennial with political prisoners".

The group known as Asociación de Familiares y Amigos de los Presos Políticos de la Argentina (AFyAPPA; Association of Family and Friends of Political Prisoners in Argentina) and headed by Cecilia Pando considers military human rights abusers to be "political prisoners" and call for "reconciliation", or moving away from the past. They claim that human right activists are solely bent on revenge and accuse them of neglecting the memory of the victims of left-wing violence.

Former Argentine President spoke in a similar tone a few weeks ago, saying,
"in 2011 we have to give birth to a government for all of us" that respects "the ones who are keen on (Jorge) Videla and does who are not,"
[cited in the Buenos Aires Herald]
I'm always frustrated by such pronouncements.
1) It's simply a legal fact that there is no statute of limitations for crimes against humanity
2) The perpetrators of human rights abuses are not being hounded by lawless mobs, but brought before the courts as should happen in a civilised country
3) The only reason that trials are still dragging on thirty years after the fact is because the previous amnesty laws stalled the justice process for two decades

The issue of commemorating the victims of left-wing violence is slightly more complex. Certainly, there were such victims, but in terms of numbers they were far overshadowed by the amount of people killed by the armed forces (we are talking a few dozen on the one hand, and at least 10,000, and by some estimates as many as 30,000, on the other). Some incidents such as the assassination of former president Aramburu by the Montoneros have achieved a symbolic status in Argentine history. I can understand the families of the police and members of the armed forces killed by the Montoneros and the ERP still feel aggrieved - but then, so do the families of the disappeared. I do not believe that the amnesty call is really 'about' the dead, but rather about protecting the criminals who are still alive.

El la misma sintonia que Duhalde (Pagina/12)
Duhalde calls for a Gov't that respects "those who are keen on Videla and those who aren't" (Buenos Aires Herald)

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