Sunday 18 November 2012

Image of the day: Carlin on Fujimori

La Republica's caricaturist Carlin gives his inimitable take on the latest development in the Fujimori case: Fujimori's request, which has been refused, to give an interview to the media (his supporters argued, incidentally, that it would be only fair, since Elena Iparraguirre got to give an interview to The Economist - but it was pretty clear when that article was published that it was not an officially-sanctioned, full-length interview at all).

"The only thing that can help the patient is giving lots of interviews and not going to any trial. That's my strictly medical opinion."

News round-up

I wrote about the Blaquier/Ledesma case some time ago; now here's a story in English.
Argentine magnate Blaquier charged over disappearances (BBC)

The granddaughter of Salvador Allende last month won a mayoral election by a tiny number of votes; now the result has been reversed following a re-count. The Guardian comments, "The vitriol and hatred of the comments [of the opposing sides] leave little doubt that, even after 40 years, the wounds of the Pinochet and Allende years remain painful and have yet to heal".
Chilean electoral tribunal overturns Fernández Allende's mayoral victory (Guardian)

Tanja Nijmeijer, the only known foreign FARC guerrilla from outside Latin America, is involved in the peace talks. You hear little about her compared to Lori Berenson in Peru, but she's obviously of interest to the media.
Dutch fighter in Colombia peace talks role (AP)

El Salvador
The blog of the National Security Archives turns to El Salvador for its regular series highlighting particular historical documents.
Document Friday: El Salvador’s Debate on Amnesty and Historical Memory (Unredacted)
New developments in the case of one of the most notorious war crimes committed by the Salvadoran security forces during the twelve year long civil war: the massacre on the campus of the José Simeón Cañas University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador on November 16, 1989.
Holding Salvadoran War Criminals Accountable: The Massacre at University of Central America, San Salvador, 1989 (COHA)

In September, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) found Guatemala guilty for the Rio Negro Massacres.
IACHR Guatemala Guilty for Rio Negro Massacres (Central American Politics)
Americas Quarterly classifies assassinated Guatemalan Bishop Juan José Gerardi as a leader of social and political change.
Monsignor Juan José Gerardi: A Martyr for Truth (Americas Quarterly)

Alma Guillermoprieto is an outstanding writer and this article on the dangers of being a journalist in Mexico contains a lot of detail that those of us in the English-speaking world don't think about often.
Mexico: Risking Life for Truth (The New York Review of Books)

Fujimori isn't allowed to give an interview.
Prison Authorities Reject Fujimori’s Request for Radio Interview (Peruvian Times)
Photos of a mural project in La Oroya by Arte por la memoria.
Mural en La Oroya: por la vida y los derechos humanos. (Museo Itinerante Arte por la memoria)

Saturday 17 November 2012

Chile: Patricio Guzmán on memory and documentary cinema

Here is an interview with renowned Chilean documentary filmmaker, Patricio Guzmán, discussing the role of documentary cinema, the difficulty of distributing Latin American film, and memory-related issues.

(h/t Memoriando)

Saturday 10 November 2012

Brazil: Truth commission round-up

This week it was reported that Brazil's Truth Commission will look into the role of the church in the dictatorship.
"The activities of the clergy who opposed the dictatorship as well as the actions of religious groups that backed the regime will be analyzed," said commission member Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who will head the investigation.
Seems like a no-brainer to me, although I'm sure there are those who would disagree.

Brazil's Truth Commission to investigate church (AP)
Churches Under Truth Commission Investigation (Transitional Justice in Brazil)

Meanwhile, the TC is coming in for criticism from various quarters.

Writing for the Christian Science Monitor, WOLA's Joe Bateman argues that while Brazil may be approaching a "tipping point" of accountability, it is too early to say it has left impunity behind.

Brazil’s Truth Commission Under Fire from Military and Torture Victims (The World)
Brazil laying down the law (Christian Science Monitor)
In the News... (Transition Justice in Brazil)

Thursday 8 November 2012

Image of the Day: Fujimori's cell

There is much discussion in the Peruvian media about the conditions in which Alberto Fujimori is confined. It seems clear that he is not just in a normal prison cell. His son, Kenji, has dismissed reports of luxury. However, photos have been published in newspaper Diario16 and in La Republica apparently showing large living quarters full of personal belongings - including a hospital-style adjustable bed, television, bookshelves full of books, kitchen equipment, and so on.

Perhaps most intriguingly, Diario16 explains that the gadget which can be seen attached to the toilet is actually a seat heater. So, there's really only one choice for image of the day, and here it is - Fujimori's bathroom:

See more here or here.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Image of the day: Trials in Argentina

 The trials are now: your presence counts

15 oral, public trials in progress in different places in the country
3 debates governed by the old penal code with written proceedings
300 cases being processed, in the instruction stage or waiting to be sent for oral trial
923 people charged in various cases
332 people convicted

News round-up

Argentine reporter claims he was threatened by ex-military officer on trial for torture (Journalism in the Americas)
Rodolfo Walsh and the language of denunciation (PEN International)
La Escuelita II: trece represores condenados y ocho absueltos (Pagina/12)

El Salvador
Unhealed wounds on the Day of the Dead (Tim's El Salvador Blog)

Panama/El Salvador
Ermordeten Erzbischof Romero gewürdigt (Blickpunkt Lateinamerika)
Monseñor Romero, un 'mártir latinoamericano', ya tiene un monumento en Panamá (Univision)

Sunday 4 November 2012

Peru: Ambassador resigns in Movadef fallout

The story of Movadef's activities in Argentina moves on. Peruvian media had also reported that the Peruvian ambassador in Argentina, Nicolás Lynch, had met with representatives of the pro-Sendero group back in January. Now Lynch has stepped down as a result of the scandal which has blown up; however, he denies sympathising with Movadef.

Coverage on this is still overwhelmingly Peruvian, but the first stories have appeared in Argentine media as well.

Nicolás Lynch afirmó que ‘se va con la frente en alto’ de embajada en Argentina (El Comercio)
Here is Lynch's letter of resignation (in PDF)
Renunció el embajador de Perú en la Argentina (La Nacion)

Saturday 3 November 2012

Paraguay: Protests over Stroessner's remains

Today is the centenary of the birth of Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay between 1984 and 1989. He died in 2006 in Brazil and is buried there. Now his family wants to repatriate his remains so that, in the words of his grandson, also called Alfredo and a senator, "soon the whole Stroessner family will be together in Paraguay".

The plan has triggered protests from victims and human rights movements.

The family originally wanted the repatriation to coincide with the anniversary, that obviously hasn't happenend, and it's unclear exactly when or if it will go ahead.

Row over Paraguay dictator Alfredo Stroessner's remains (BBC)
Ex presos políticos paraguayos repudian repatriación de restos de exdictador (AFP)

Argentina/Peru: Movadef meets Madres

This is a rather odd intersection of two of this blog's main interests. I was surprised to see news stories appearing about how Movadef, the pro-Shining Path movement which supports an amnesty for senderista prisoners, had met with representatives of the Argentine Madres de Plaza de Mayo and with Nobel Peace Prize winner, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.

The Peruvian government and media have both responded angrily to the meeting, as it lends legitimacy to a group allied to terrorism. I haven't been able to find coverage in the Argentine press or statements from the human rights group itself, so I'm not clear how much this meeting was planned in advance and was its exact purpose was. Peruvian prosecutor Julio Galindo suggests that Movadef essentially just showed up and surprised the Argentines, but he doesn't seem to know this for certain. It would, however, not be the first time that the Madres' connections have caused controversy.

Pérez Esquivel's website now contains a statement explaining that he listened to Movadef "as he has many other organizations from the continent and the world" and pointing out that "listening does not equal support". This is true, of course. I assume that for Movadef, however, there was an interest in contact with a highly respected individual, and a group, from the human rights scene and that they are pleased with the resulting publicity (which, you could argue, I am now contributing to as well). Now they are a group active on an international scale! Overall, I don't think this is a massive deal, but it will be interesting to see how they try to capitalise on the publicity and it's also a good illustration of how people try to get close to the Madres for their own purposes.

Movadef en Argentina: Premio Nobel de la Paz y Madres de Plaza de Mayo recibieron a prosenderistas (El Comercio)
Peru reminds Argentina Shinning [sic] Path terrorists are an illegal group (Mercopress)
Gobierno rechaza actividades del Movadef en Argentina (Peru21)
El Movadef sorprendió a Madres de la Plaza de Mayo y a premio Nobel de La Paz, afirmó procurador (El Comercio)