Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Argentina: Dictators on trial (2)

As always, Pagina/12 takes the lead on human rights issues and gives the trial of Videla & Co. its entire front page. It runs the headline "Ladrones de bebes" (baby thieves/babysnatchers) which is pretty unequivocal. This is followed by a long article describing the trial and its background.

Clarin runs the story too, but if you go to the "edicion impresa" section of its website which reflects the stories in the print edition, the trial is the 23rd story down. On La Nacion, I had to do a search to find the article at all and the resulting piece is less than 300 words.

Interestingly, both the latter make far more of the fact that Videla nodded off during the hearing than Pagina/12 does. Why is this something worth highlighting, I wonder? It could be flagged up as a sign of his disrespect for the justice system, but it could also be used to induce sympathy for the poor old man dragged in front of a court for something that happened so long ago.

I know that boz has pointed out this major point - that Argentina's top-circulation dailies did not choose to run this as a main story - before me. He attributes this to the lack of interest in issues of memory among the general population and sees the possible connection of Clarin and La Nacion to the dictatorship as a red herring. I tend to disagree. Oh, I do think that a large section of Argentine society probably is somewhat indifferent to the discussion of the dictatorship, but I don't see the leanings of Clarin or La Nacion as irrelevant. In the case of Clarin, considering its owner is embroiled in legal proceedings designed to determine if her two adopted children are themselves the children of disappeared people, this is hardly an issue in the past. If they put Videla and Bignone on the cover, how they could justify not doing so when the Herrera Noble case develops?

El robo de bebes en el banquillo de los acusados (Pagina/12)
Arrancó el juicio oral por el robo de bebés contra Videla y Bignone (Clarin)
Empezó el juicio oral a Videla (La Nacion)

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