Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Argentina: Dictators go on trial over disappeared children

So, yesterday's big news was the opening of the trial of former Argentine junta leaders, Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, on charges of involvement in the systemic theft of babies during the 1976-83 dictatorship.

Here's your international news round-up:

Like many sources, Mercopress picks up on the comments of prosecutor Federico Delgado that the abductions and subsequent changing of the children's identities was a way of cutting them off from the ideologies of their parents:
"You had to break family ties” between the children and their parents, who were later executed, he added. “It's one of the darkest chapters of Argentina's history.”
Argentine military dictators on trial for stealing hundreds of babies (Mercopress)

IPS has its usual excellent analysis and cites Rosa Roisinblit, vice-president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. She eloquently expressed her disgust that Videla dozed off while the charges were being read - and she's older than he is.
Trial over baby theft opens at last (IPS)

Also on trial are:
Jorge Luis Magnacco, a doctor who worked in the navy detention center; Antonio Vanek, the junta's former navy attache in Washington; Jorge "Tigre" Acosta, who allegedly ran the navy center's torture sessions; former army Gen. Santiago Riveros, responsible for gathering intelligence from detainees at Campo de Mayo; former admiral Ruben Franco; and former prefect Juan Antonio Azic, who allegedly tortured detainees under Acosta's direction.
Argentine dictators go on trial for baby thefts (AP)

Several international press articles also choose to cite one of the adult disappeared children themselves to bring home the human aspect to their readers, who may not be particularly familiar with this area of history:
"We were the regime's war spoils," said 33-year-old Leonardo Fossati, who will be testifying at the trial.
Argentines in court over baby kidnappings (AFP)

"I lived a lie for 32 years," Francisco Madariaga said. "We're not normal like everyone else — we have problems that most people can't relate to. For example, when someone tells me he lied, but it was just a little white lie, I can't stand it."[...]"The wound will never heal. Everyone in the world has the possibility of burying their loved ones, but I couldn't do it with my mother," he said.
Former Argentine dictators tried for baby thefts (AP)

Argentine press round-up to follow.

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