Cartas de Lectores publicadas en Diario NORTE (Resistencia, Chaco: 2009 – 2012)

7 de mayo de 2012

Horacio Verbitsky no debería olvidarse de Claudio Mendoza

Señor director de NORTE:

Habiendo sido asesor del fallecido diputado nacional Claudio Mendoza me veo obligado a señalar inexactitudes recientemente publicadas en Página/12 por el presidente del Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Horacio Verbitsky. En su artículo cuestiona el contenido del libro “Disposición Final” de Ceferino Reato y hace un raconto de la historia de los derechos humanos en el país. Le asiste todo el derecho del mundo a opinar sobre el libro que quiera, pero no tiene derecho a querer hacer creer a la gente que los únicos que en la Argentina levantaron las banderas de los derechos humanos fueron los organismos de derechos humanos.

No tiene derecho a poner un manto de olvido sobre todo cuanto en la materia se hizo en el Congreso Nacional de la mano de hombres como Claudio Ramiro Mendoza.

Aunque, justo es reconocerlo, un vez Verbitsky acertó. Fue cuando en otro artículo del 17 de agosto de 2003 destacó que el entonces presidente Kirchner firmó un decreto ordenando comunicar a las Naciones Unidas que en 1995 el Congreso había ratificado la Convención sobre Imprescriptibilidad de los crímenes de guerra y de lesa humanidad.

Pero, ¿quién propuso la aprobación de aquella Convención? ¿Cuáles fueron las circunstancias que favorecieron su aprobación? ¿Por qué se demoró ocho años en depositar ante las Naciones Unidas el referido instrumento de ratificación?

Respondí dichos interrogantes el 3 de noviembre de 2010 en una carta de lectores titulada “Leyes de punto final y de obediencia debida: un chaqueño, Claudio Mendoza, marcó el camino”, que gentilmente NORTE publicó. Si queremos hacerle justicia a la historia de los derechos humanos en el país no es bueno ni justo olvidarse de aquel inolvidable legislador chaqueño. Hombre sencillo y militante de pura cepa, no sólo fue el creador y primer presidente de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos y Garantías de la Cámara de Diputados de la Nación, sino que además tuvo el coraje de impulsar su loable iniciativa en un ambiente que le era decididamente adverso.

ILDEFONSO M. THOMSEN
(Asesor de la diputada nacional María Inés Pilatti Vergara)
Congreso de la Nación

3 de abril de 2011

La trata de personas exige un compromiso de toda la sociedad

Señor director de NORTE:

Hace pocos días, en la apertura de la “Semana de la Memoria”, se realizó una charla en la Casa de las Culturas, organizada por la Subsecretaría de Derechos Humanos de la provincia, referido a “Derechos Humanos y Trata de Personas”. Nada más oportuno, ya que, como bien señaló la jueza federal Zunilda Niremperger, este flagelo exige el compromiso no sólo del Estado- sino de toda la sociedad.

Más aún cuando el Informe sobre la Trata de Personas 2010, elaborada por la Oficina para Supervisar y Combatir la Trata de Personas del Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos de América (The Protection Project, Universidad Johns Hopkins), coloca a nuestra República entre los 14 países en que se ha incrementado este vil comercio de seres humanos entre 2009 y 2010.

Es así que recomiendo la lectura de un libro recientemente publicado en nuestro país, escrito por una periodista, activista social y escritora mexicana: Lydia Cacho. Esclavas del poder: un viaje al corazón de la trata sexual de mujeres y niñas en el mundo. Buenos Aires: Debate, 1ª edición, 2011, 318 páginas.

¿Por qué? Porque contextualiza la problemática a nivel internacional, siendo que la globalización conlleva consigo misma la formación de redes mafiosas dedicadas a la esclavización humana.

Por otro lado, porque denuncia a un argentino que, habiendo actuado durante la dictadura cívico-militar de 1976-1983 en nuestro país, hoy, desde México, regentea prostíbulos vip que trafican mujeres y niñas de todo el orbe. Y, por último, porque señala como cada uno de nosotros podemos contribuir a hacer visible y combatir la trata de personas.

El 1º de agosto de 2002, el Congreso Nacional argentino sancionó la Ley 25.632, que aprueba la Convención Internacional contra la Delincuencia Organizada Transnacional y sus protocolos complementarios para prevenir, reprimir y sancionar la trata de personas, especialmente mujeres y niños y contra el tráfico ilícito de migrantes por tierra, mar y aire.

Es decir, el Estado argentino se ha comprometido internacionalmente a combatirlo.
Por eso, celebro esta iniciativa de la Subsecretaría de Derechos Humanos provincial. Corresponde que todos, como sociedad, nos involucremos en la defensa de los derechos humanos y las libertades fundamentales.

ILDEFONSO MIGUEL THOMSEN
Cámara de Diputados de la Nación
Buenos Aires

3 de noviembre de 2010

Leyes de punto final y de obediencia debida: un chaqueño, Claudio Mendoza, marcó el camino

Señor director de NORTE:

Por iniciativa del ex presidente Néstor Kirchner, el 20 de agosto de 2003 el Congreso Nacional aprobó la anulación de las leyes de punto final (23.456), de obediencia debida (23.521) y otorgó jerarquía constitucional a la Convención sobre la imprescriptibilidad de los crímenes de guerra y de los crímenes de lesa humanidad, adoptada por la Asamblea General de la ONU el 26 de noviembre de 1968 (ley 25.778).

Anteriormente, el Poder Ejecutivo, por decreto 579/2003 de fecha 8 de agosto de 2003, había decidido concluir con los trámites necesarios para depositar en la Secretaría General de las Naciones Unidas el pertinente instrumento de adhesión de este instrumento internacional, por parte del gobierno argentino.

Este era el paso que faltaba para la plena vigencia de la convención que, por ley 24.584 había sido aprobada por el Congreso Nacional el 1 de noviembre de 1995, es decir, hacía ya casi ocho años.

¿Por qué, durante todo ese tiempo, no se había depositado el instrumento de adhesión ante las Naciones Unidas? ¿En qué circunstancias el Congreso Nacional había aprobado esa convención internacional? ¿De quién fue la iniciativa?

Es aquí donde cabe destacar la valentía y visión de un diputado nacional de la provincia del Chaco, quien no dudó en aprovechar la oportunidad política de avanzar la causa de los derechos humanos. Me refiero al fundador y primer presidente de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos y Garantías de la Cámara de Diputados de la Nación, el doctor Claudio Ramiro Mendoza, a quien tuve el honor de asesorar en 1994 y 1995.

Estos son los hechos: en 1994 dos acontecimientos conmocionaron la opinión pública nacional e internacional. Por un lado, las declaraciones en Bariloche del ex capitán de las SS Erich Priebke al periodista de la cadena televisiva norteamericana ABC Sam Donaldson, admitiendo su participación en la Masacre de las Fosas Ardeatinas, en Italia, en 1944, en donde fueron asesinados 335 civiles. Por el otro, el cruento atentado terrorista en Buenos Aires contra la Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) del 18 de julio.

Ante la resultante indignación generalizada, el presidente Carlos Menem le prometió al entonces presidente de la Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (DAIA), Rubén Beraja, que enviaría esa convención internacional al Congreso Nacional, para su aprobación.
Cuando leí esta noticia en el diario, enseguida recordé de qué se trataba. Pues cuando ingresé a la Cámara de Diputados de la Nación, en enero de 1984 -acompañando al diputado nacional y vicepresidente del Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Augusto Conte-, le había propuesto presentar un proyecto de ley ratificando esa convención. Pero, en ese momento, con el argumento de que aún no se había realizado el juicio a las juntas militares. Conte lo consideró inoportuno por el simple hecho de que no recibiría aprobación legislativa.
Pero, diez años después, se abría una puerta. Alentado por Emilio Mignone, presidente del CELS, le propuse a Claudio Mendoza “puentear” al presidente Menem y presentar el proyecto aprobatorio de la convención en la Cámara de Diputados. Es así que, el 28 de julio de 1994, el diputado Mendoza presentó el correspondiente proyecto de ley con el acompañamiento de dos colegas, el presidente de la Comisión de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto, Florencio Aceñolaza (Partido Justicialista Tucumán) y Elsa Nelly (UCR Capital Federal), ex vice-canciller de Raúl Alfonsín.

¿Por qué, hasta la aparición de Néstor Kirchner, ningún presidente argentino presentó el instrumento de adhesión ante las Naciones Unidas? Porque desde las Fuerzas Armadas se temía que aceptando la jurisdicción internacional, se derrumbarían las leyes de impunidad, abriendo la caja de Pandora judicial para los crímenes cometidos durante la última dictadura cívico-militar.

Por eso no es casualidad que el depósito ante las Naciones Unidas del instrumento de adhesión argentino a la Convención sobre la Imprescriptibilidad de los Crímenes de Guerra y de los Crímenes de Lesa Humanidad haya coincidido con la anulación de las leyes de punto final y de obediencia debida. La decisión política fue de Néstor Kirchner. Claudio Ramiro Mendoza marcó el camino.

ILDEFONSO MIGUEL THOMSEN
Asesor del diputado nacional Antonio Morante
Cámara de Diputados de la Nación
Buenos Aires

30 de junio de 2009

Mi aventura chaqueña con Claudio Ramiro Mendoza

Señor director de NORTE:

En un excelente reportaje de Vidal Mario a Estela de Carlotto, presidenta de Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, publicado el domingo pasado en ese prestigioso periódico, se hace referencia a las virtudes personales y cualidades parlamentarias del recordado diputado nacional chaqueño Claudio Ramiro Mendoza.

Doy testimonio de que así como se lo describe en la nota, así era Claudio Mendoza. Puedo dar fe de ello porque fui su asesor en cuestiones de relaciones internacionales entre los años 1994 a 1995.

Regresé al país en 1972, tras una ausencia de casi 20 años y comencé a trabajar con Emilio Mignone, siempre en el marco de mi manejo del idioma inglés y de mi título de licenciado en Relaciones Internacionales. En 1976 me tocó vivir el secuestro de una de las hijas de Mignone, Mónica. A partir de aquel suceso mis conocimientos de inglés sirvieron para preparar material a ser difundido en el exterior sobre la tragedia argentina.

Pasé después a la fundación CELS, donde conocí a Augusto Conte, quien al candidatearse a diputado nacional en 1983 por la Democracia Cristiana de la Capital Federal me invitó a sumarme a su equipo de campaña. Y cuando obtiene su banca me ofrece entrar a trabajar con él.

Así que entré como empleado permanente en la Cámara de Diputados, hace ya 25 años.
¿Cómo llegué a trabajar con Claudio?. Ahí entran en juego mis propios derechos humanos. A fines de 1993 le diagnostican cáncer de páncreas a mi madre (mi padre ya había fallecido) y, por ser hijo único tuve la necesidad de dedicarme a su cuidado en casa. Me habían asegurado que no viviría más de un mes. Vivió cuatro.

Realmente necesitaba quedarme en casa para atenderla. Ahí recurrí a Emilio Mignone, quien me hizo pedir una reunión urgente con Claudio en su despacho. Me metió en un taxi, fuimos al Congreso y me hizo esperar afuera. Cuando Claudio me atendió, escuchó atentamente mi problema y me contestó que me quedara tranquilo, que iba a pedir mi pase a su despacho.

Así fue como comencé mi ‘aventura chaqueña con Claudio Mendoza. Posteriormente a trabajar con Claudio, me especialicé en Europa donde, gracias a mi experiencia en la Cámara de Diputados, se me abrieron muchas puertas. Claudio fue el gestor de mi transformación académica en materia de derechos humanos, y ésta es la tecla que sonó en mis oídos al leer el reportaje a Estela de Carlotto. En 1997, a mi regreso de Europa, pasé a trabajar con el diputado Juan Carlos Ayala y, actualmente, soy asesor del diputado nacional, también chaqueño, Antonio Morante.

Quisiera terminar con ésta anécdota: Mi madre era de ascendencia irlandesa (McKeon). Al fallecer ella, le preparé a Claudio cuatro proyectos de resolución dedicados a la colectividad irlandesa en la Argentina. Uno de ellos era una solicitud al Poder Ejecutivo para que invitase a la entonces primera Presidenta de Irlanda, Mary Robinson, reconocida defensora de los derechos humanos y posterior Alta Comisionado de los DD.HH. en la ONU, a visitar la Argentina. Hasta entonces, ningún presidente de Irlanda había visitado la Argentina. Cuando la Cámara de Diputados lo aprobó, lo mandé a todos lados, inclusive a la Casa de Gobierno de Dublín.

El primer resultado fue que “The Buenos Aires Herald” le dedicó una nota periodística, a página entera, a Claudio, titulado “The “Shamrock” Deputy”. Estaban sorprendidos de que un chaqueño dedicase cuatro proyectos a los irlandeses.

La frutilla del postre vino cuando la presidenta de Irlanda visitó Buenos Aires. Claudio y la diputada Silvia Martínez, la otra firmante del proyecto, fueron invitados a la recepción de honor en el Hotel Alvear y a una posterior audiencia privada con la presidenta. La presidenta quería conocer al fundador y presidente de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos que había dedicado un proyecto, de resolución a su trayectoria.

Agradezco al señor director la posibilidad que me ha dado de compartir, a través de la presente, estos recuerdos tan gratos para mi.

Licenciado ILDEFONSO THOMSEN
Riobamba 25 -Piso 13- Oficina 1344
Cámara de Diputados de la Nación
Buenos Aires

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cartas de Lectores publicadas en PERFIL (2011 – 2013)

Domingo 26 de abril de 2013

DRAMA URBANO

Hace cinco meses que Oscar es peón de taxi. Está casado y tiene una nena de cinco años y un nene de ocho. Viven en Ituzaingo y, junto a otras cuatrocientas familias, las inundaciones se llevaron todo lo que tenía, aunque lograron salvar su casa. Desde entonces Oscar duerme en el taxi. Las autoridades les han prometido ayuda para recién dos meses y medio o tres, sin especificar el monto que les darán. Pero Oscar necesita darles de comer a sus hijos hoy. El viernes pasado viajé con él y se puso a llorar desconsoladamente. Eran las nueve de la noche y recién había podido cubrir el alquiler del taxi. Necesitaba hacer doscientos pesos más para llevarle algo de comer a su familia. Viven al día. Necesita una cocina y un préstamo de 900 pesos para poder reponer los muebles que se llevó el agua. Le pedí su número de celular (1534802324) con la intención de llamar a amigos y conocidos para tratar de darle una mano. Hago extensiva este clamor a los lectores de PERFIL.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Domingo 3 de marzo de 2013

LEYES Y AUTORÍAS

Mariano Confalonieri, en PERFIL del domingo 24 de febrero (página 10), afirma: “El kirchnerismo tiene mayoría en el Congreso. Esto le permitió, el año pasado, aprobar sin problemas 104 proyectos enviados por el Poder Ejecutivo”. La información que brinda la Secretaría Parlamentaria que, con fecha 29/01/2013, se encuentra en la página Web de la Cámara de Diputados de la Nación muestra claramente que ese dato es incorrecto. En el Período Parlamentario 130 (del 1º de marzo al 30 de diciembre de 2012) se aprobaron un total de 105 leyes, 45 por iniciativa del Poder Ejecutivo, 31 a propuesta de los diputados, y 29 presentadas por los senadores. En otras palabras, fueron los miembros del Congreso quienes presentaron la mayor cantidad de iniciativas finalmente aprobadas. Esta información está disponible en: http://www1.hcdn.gov.ar/actualidad/EstadisticasLeyes12.pdf.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

RESPUESTA: Defensor de los Lectores. Julio Petrarca

Tiene razón el señor Thomsen: explica el redactor Mariano Confalonieri que cometió un error al atribuir al Ejecutivo la totalidad de las leyes aprobadas en el período 2012, y coincide -tras chequear los datos enviados por el lector- con la validez de las cifras aportadas.

Domingo 17 de febrero de 2013

NO OLVIDAR

En PERFIL del 9 de febrero, Guillermo Tella y Martín M. Muñoz señalan que “la ciudad es un gigantesco espacio para la protesta, el homenaje o la expresión del sufrimiento más profundo”. Pero al enunciar las distintas formas de expresar estos sentimientos, olvidan mencionar una iniciativa de distintas organizaciones barriales que han dejado su huella en las veredas porteñas. Se trata de la iniciativa “Baldosas x la Memoria”, colocadas en donde residieron, militaron o fueron detenidos-desaparecidos las víctimas de la última dictadura cívico-militar. Una forma de recordar, para no olvidar.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

RESPUESTA. Defensor de los Lectores. Julio Petrarca

La nota “Cuando el dolor y la rabia dejan su huella en las calles” (páginas 48-49, sábado 9) motivó al lector Thomsen a reclamar que no se debió omitir una referencia a las baldosas que recuerdan a los desaparecidos durante la última dictadura. El artículo se refiere a tiempos más cercanos, particularmente desde la crisis de 2001. Baldosas x la Memoria fue objeto de otros textos en diversas ediciones.

Sábado 12 de enero de 2013

SIN RESPUESTAS

En carta publicada el 6 de enero, no critico la calidad profesional de quien será el nuevo ombudsman de los lectores. Solo resulta llamativo que, después que Graham-Yooll haya emitido una opinión adversa sobre “Esa tapa” de NOTICIAS, respondiendo una carta mía, su reemplazante dejará de seguir ese formato.

¿De ciertos temas no se habla en PERFIL? Ejemplifico: no hubo ni una sola nota o comentario sobre la declaración emanada de la 104ª Asamblea Plenaria de la Conferencia Episcopal Argentina (CEA) de fecha 9 de noviembre pasado. ¿Cuál es su importancia? Allí los obispos defienden el accionar de la CEA durante la dictadura cívico-militar, intentando desmentir los dichos del dictador Jorge Rafael Videla publicados en el libro de Ceferino Reato “Disposición Final”.

Lo llamativo es que Reato es director de la Revista Fortuna, una publicación del Grupo Perfil. Eso sí, todavía podemos encontrar en la página Web del diario las declaraciones efectuadas el pasado 19 de agosto por Jorge Fontevecchia ante el juez federal Daniel Rafecas, sobre su secuestro y cautiverio en el centro clandestino de detención “El Olimpo”, profusamente publicadas en las páginas en papel.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

RESPUESTA:

Estimado amigo Thomsen: no se deje llevar por la teoría de la conspiración. Es demasiado fácil y por lo general no es saludable. He cumplido cinco años en esta sección y es obvio que tras esa etapa, la más extensa entre los ombudsman de PERFIL, se decidan cambios de estilo y de formato. Desde el comienzo de ese lustro y hasta la fecha he actuado con libertad de opinión y sin reproche alguno.

Domingo 6 de enero de 2013

CARTAS

Me entero por Jorge Fontevecchia (PERFIL, 29 de diciembre, Contratapa) que, a partir de febrero de 2013, Andrew Graham-Yooll dejará de ser el ombudsman de los lectores. Más aún, que con su reemplazante –Julio Petrarca- no habrá respuestas a las cartas enviadas al diario. Lo lamento.
Claro, Andrew Graham-Yooll no ha tenido pelos en la lengua. El 22 de septiembre, bajo el título “Esa tapa”, cuestionó la carátula de la revista NOTICIAS que mostró a la Presidenta de la Nación en éxtasis sexual y agradeció mi crítica puntual, sin estridencias, aunque no mi defensa de la postura adoptada por Robert Cox, ex editor del Buenos Aires Herald. Y, cuando a la semana siguiente envié mis consideraciones al respecto, las publicó, sin consideración alguna. No importa. Me sentí contenido. Que había un diálogo. Ahora todo será impersonal.
Se pierde lo original de PERFIL: el diálogo directo con el lector. Una lástima.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

RESPUESTA

Gracias por su comentario señor Thomsen. No creo que se “pierda” el original diálogo de PERFIL y sus lectores. Seguirá por otros medios y estilos. Además, el colega Julio Petrarca es un veterano del oficio y sabrá darle un toque personal muy fuerte, diferente, pero muy fuerte.

Domingo 2 de diciembre de 2012

AÑO PARLAMENTARIO

Florencia Ballarino afirma que: “A menos que el Gobierno convoque a sesiones extraordinarias, el año parlamentario para diputados y senadores terminará la próxima semana. De esta forma, varios proyectos de ley, claves en materia de salud y medio ambiente, quedarán pendientes de resolución…” (PERFIL, 24 de noviembre). Aclaremos que el artículo 63 de nuestra Constitución Nacional dice: “Ambas Cámaras se reunirán por sí mismas en sesiones ordinarias todos los años desde el primero de marzo hasta el treinta de noviembre. Pueden ser convocadas extraordinariamente por el presidente de la Nación o prorrogadas sus sesiones”.

¿Qué diferencia la prórroga de las sesiones ordinarias de la convocatoria –por el Poder Ejecutivo- a sesiones extraordinarias? En el primer caso, sigue el trabajo normal en el Congreso: pueden ser tratados todos los proyectos ingresados en ambas Cámaras. Por el contrario, en el decreto en que el Poder Ejecutivo convoca a sesiones extraordinarias, es éste quien fija la agenda de temas a ser debatidos y eventualmente aprobados por el Congreso; todo lo demás queda pendiente hasta el nuevo período de sesiones ordinarias que arranca el 1º de marzo de 2013.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Sábado 29 de septiembre de 2012

BOICOT

Soy lector del diario PERFIL y la revista Noticias gracias a Robert Cox. El 10 de abril de 2011, Cox publicó en el Buenos Aires Herald una nota titulada “El enigma de la libertad de prensa”. Su subtítulo resalta: “Nadie negaría que hoy existe libertad de expresión en Argentina”. Señala a Clarín y La Nación como “la prensa opositora” y a Página/12 como oficialista. Luego dice: “Desde mi punto de vista, solo Noticias y Perfil son razonablemente ecuánimes, a su manera, en la presentación de las noticias”.

¿Su actual decisión personal de boicotear la revista Noticias fue “teatral e innecesario”, como señala Andrew Graham-Yooll (PERFIL, 22 de septiembre)? Cox vio la tapa “El Goce” el 9 de septiembre, día en que el Buenos Aires Herald publicaba una nota suya en defensa de Jorge Fontevecchia titulada “Bajo la bota de una campaña difamatoria”.

Cox justificó su decisión subrayando: “la desvergonzada difamación de Fontevecchia no justifica la igualmente desvergonzada difamación de la Presidenta”. Coincido plenamente. En lo personal, no me sumo al boicot. Decidí no adherir a una promoción de suscripción vía Mastercard que venció el 18 de septiembre.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Sábado 22 de septiembre de 2012

TAPA DE “NOTICIAS”

Quiero expresar mi total adhesión al artículo publicado el 16 de septiembre por Robert Cox en el Buenos Aires Herald titulado “Periodismo indecente: extralimitándose”. Se refiere a la portada “El Goce” de la revista NOTICIAS. Probablemente pase desapercibido para la mayoría de los lectores de PERFIL, porque está escrito en inglés en un diario de poca circulación. No importa. Como señala Cox, lo correcto sería que Jorge Fontevecchia reconozca su error y se retracte. Victimizarse sólo alimenta a quienes quieren limitar la libertad de expresión. No les demos pasto a las fieras.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

RESPUESTA

Por favor, ver recuadro.

ESA TAPA…

El diseño de esa tapa que ha causado tanta indignación (¿falsa?, ¿pacata?), para empezar, pareció de pésima gusto. Los diseñadores de Noticias han tenido semanas mejores. Claro, la referencia al diseño como argumento de reproche primario puede parecer una pedantería o una cobardía, pero no es rajarle al bulto dado que fue, simplemente, la impresión inmediata. No he visto la caricatura en internet a la que se remite la ilustración de tapa, tampoco parece necesario dado que estoy seguro que no contribuirá a mi elevación intelectual. No es argumento válido que esa figura ficticia ya estaba en circulación. También merece comentario que repetir la cabeza femenina usada en vertical inclinado en la tapa y luego en horizontal en Noticias en la página 29 de la edición del 15 de septiembre era innecesario y más parecía una mojada de orejas que sostén de argumento. Fue insensible y, como dijo una lectora, “Seguro que si vivía El Furia no se animaban a hacer eso”. No sé, no lo sabremos. No hay argumentos válidos para la insensibilidad ocurrente disfrazada de inteligencia. Y cuanto más se critique, debata, reproche o desapruebe en torno a las variables morales y a todo lo que se trate de gusto, bueno y malo, tanto más saludable será que el tortuoso argumento explicativo defensivo del colega jefe Edi Zunino. La opinión que aquí expreso no tiene nada que ver con la tonalidad de lo pornográfico. Hay mil maneras de representar el coito, pero dado que es algo íntimo aun común a todos, hay una sola manera de ofender: sucede cuando la expresión es innecesaria y cuando el objetivo está en situación de indefensión, que ocurre siempre en cuestiones de género, no importa el rango del representado. Ah, agradezco al lector Thomsen su carta breve y puntual, ejemplar entre la tonelada ofensiva recibida y borrada de mi correo privado. Pero eso no significa acuerdo con Robert Cox, mi ex jefe y amigo. Está en su derecho al expresarse profundamente ofendido en su columna en el Buenos Aires Herald del domingo 16 de septiembre. Pero de ahí a anunciar su boicot a Noticias…pareció casi teatral e innecesario en un veterano periodista de la calidad de Cox. Además, entre colegas no se hace. La crítica más dura, por encima de las expresiones de indignación, es mucho más efectiva que el boicot personal. El periodismo tiene derecho a explorar todos los límites en el desarrollo de la crítica, pero no tiene derecho a ofender los sentimientos más íntimos (sí, ya sé, ocurre a cada rato, pero no debería) ni a explotar la intimidad.

Andrew Graham-Yooll (en Londres)

Sábado 8 de septiembre de 2012

CIFRAS

En su crítica al libro de Ceferino Reato, “Disposición Final”, Andrew Graham-Yooll puntualiza que seguimos sin saber si las víctimas del terrorismo de Estado fueron ocho o treinta mil (PERFIL, 26 de agosto). En 2009, esta última cifra fue tildada de “mito” por Graciela Fernández Meijide –ex integrante de la Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos (APDH)- al publicitar su libro: “La historia íntima de los derechos humanos en la Argentina (a Pablo)”.

Inmediatamente fue criticada, tanto por Estela Carlotto como por Eduardo Luis Duhalde. La presidenta de Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo dijo: “Nos agrede al decir que usamos cifras falsas”, recordando el rechazo que ya había generado al cuestionar la cifra de desaparecidos cuando declaró ante el juez Baltasar Garzón. Por su lado, el Secretario de Derechos Humanos de la Nación sostuvo: “El único registro fehaciente de la cantidad de víctimas asesinadas, su identidad y destino final solo está en poder de los asesinos…”.

Aunque sea imposible conocer la cifra exacta, el Estado debe redoblar las acciones para obtener la mayor información posible y hacerla pública.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

RESPUESTA

Tiene razón señor Thomsen, la aclaración de muchos aspectos de los años 70 requiere una decisión política de Estado, que hace mucho estamos esperando.

Sábado 4 de agosto de 2012

IGLESIA Y DICTADURA

Siento la necesidad de solicitarle a Andrew Graham-Yooll amplíe su respuesta a mi primera carta (PERFIL, 22 de julio) referida al arzobispo Jorge Bergoglio.

Entiendo que la Iglesia es “socio del poder”. La unión entre espada y cruz recorre toda nuestra historia. Pero para el católico practicante, el Evangelio es uno sólo. Que el Vaticano sea un nido de víboras no invalida las enseñanzas de Cristo para la elevación espiritual del hombre. Por ello mencioné a don Jaime de Nevares: pese a provenir de una familia de alcurnia, predicó el Evangelio y vivió entre los humildes.

La dictadura militar cometió atrocidades contrarias a la moral cristiana. En Chile, la Vicaría de la Solidaridad acogió a los perseguidos por Pinochet; en la Argentina, la cúpula eclesiástica bendijo y sigue queriendo encubrir su participación en la matanza.
No reclamo que todos los argentinos hayan -en su momento- sido críticos asiduos y consecuentes. Se lo exijo a los pastores de la Iglesia Católica, de la misma manera que lo hiciera Emilio Mignone.

¿Qué otro camino debería recorrer el análisis? ¿Son inexistentes los documentos citados por Horacio Verbitsky?

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

RESPUESTA

Gracias, estimado señor Thomsen. No hay ampliación. Lo dicho queda. La Iglesia en la Argentina (que junto a la de Colombia sigue siendo la más conservadora de Sudamérica) es el ente político y social del Estado, y no podemos pedirle mucho en esa situación.

Domingo 29 de julio de 2012

RELIGIÓN

Mi crítica respecto al accionar del arzobispo de Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, durante la dictadura cívico-militar (PERFIL, 22 de julio) sigue la línea trazada por Emilio Mignone en su libro “Iglesia y dictadura” (1986) y su biografía (Mario del Carril, La vida de Emilio Mignone – 2011), es decir, la de un Católico practicante que se avergüenza de los Siervos de Dios que echaron por la borda el Evangelio de Cristo y entregaron a sus hermanos a las hordas asesinas. Prelados como don Jaime de Nevares estuvieron a la altura de las circunstancias. Parafraseando a Robert Cox –director del “Buenos Aires Herald” en esa época-: simplemente hicieron su trabajo. La referencia a Horacio Verbitsky se remite exclusivamente a la documentación aportada en sus libros, no a su catadura moral.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Domingo 22 de julio de 2012

HERIDAS

Omar Bello señala acertadamente (PERFIL, 8 de julio) que al arzobispo de Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, “una de las heridas que no le cierran es la acusación de colaboracionismo durante la última dictadura militar”. Nada extraño. En su libro “Iglesia y Dictadura” (1986), Emilio Mignone señala las “manifestaciones críticas” del entonces provincial jesuita respecto al presbítero Orlando Iorio. Además, Horacio Verbitsky, en sus libros “El Silencio” (2005), “Doble Juego: la Argentina Católica y Militar” (2006) y “La mano izquierda de Dios: la última dictadura (1976-1983)” (2010) cita documentos en el archivo de la Cancillería argentina y en la Justicia que prueban su complicidad con la dictadura militar. Pero todo lector desprejuiciado debería leer la defensa que hace el propio prelado de su accionar en el libro de Sergio Rubin y Francesca Ambrogetti, “El Jesuita” (2010). Así comprenderá que la herida no cierra porque la documentación aportada por Verbitsky en su contra habla por sí sola y no ha tenido réplica explícita alguna.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

RESPUESTA

Estimado amigo Thomsen, qué bueno recibir un comentario suyo nuevamente. En forma directa, estamos de acuerdo, en análisis perspectivo, es más difícil. Recuerdo y respeto que usted fue un crítico asiduo y consecuente de la dictadura, pero, ¿podemos, debemos pedirle lo mismo a todos en retrospectiva? En ciertas épocas, desde la Inquisición hasta estos días, se le ha reclamado al ente religioso posiciones que como socio del poder no podía asumir. El análisis tiene que recorrer otro camino. Horacio Veerbitsky sabe, porque se lo he dicho, que con el dramaturgo y escritor tucumano Ardiles Gray comentamos mucho sus dos primeros volúmenes, pero al criticar era mucho lo que no pudimos condenar.

Domingo 17 de junio de 2012

SOLIDARIOS

Como socio e hincha del Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro (CASLA), celebro la iniciativa de la Subcomisión del Hincha de mi club que, juntamente con la ONG “Corazón Quemero” (de Huracán), impulsan acciones solidarias bajo el paraguas del Rotary Club de Nueva Pompeya (PERFIL, 9 de junio). Es un ejemplo que debería ser imitado por otros rivales futbolísticos. Seamos adversarios en el campo deportivo, pero solidarios en la vida diaria.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Sábado 11 de febrero de 2012

TRATAS

En la edición de PERFIL del sábado 28 de enero, Fernando Oz hace reiteradas referencias a la “trata de blancas” concerniente a una denuncia sobre la existencia de prostíbulos en Buenos Aires (página 11). El término “trata de blancas” se usaba a finales del siglo XIX y hacía hincapié en las mujeres europeas que eran llevadas con fines de explotación sexual a países de Europa, Asia y África, ya que eran únicamente mujeres blancas. Es decir, se origina en un período de esclavitud donde la “trata de negros/as” era una situación aceptada por la población y por el Estado. En la actualidad el término correcto es “trata de personas”, tal cual lo establece el protocolo de las Naciones Unidas para prevenir, reprimir y sancionar la trata de personas, especialmente mujeres y niños, adoptado en Palermo (Italia) en 200t6.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Sábado 27 de agosto de 2011

REPRESIÓN

La trágica muerte de Virginia Ogando (PERFIL, 21 de agosto) es una de tantas causadas por una profunda depresión al ver que, no obstante el retorno de la democracia, no se ha sabido sobre el paradero de desaparecidos ni de niños apropiados por la dictadura cívico-militar. Vienen tres casos a mi memoria, dos ocurridos en el amanecer de la democracia y otro una década después.

El 31 de diciembre de 1983 se suicida Alfredo Galletti –miembro de la Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos (APDH), fundador y consejero del Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), asesor jurídico de la Federación Latinoamericana de Familiares de Desaparecidos (Fedefam) y autor del proyecto de convención internacional que declara delito de lesa humanidad la desaparición forzosa como método represivo-, quien soportó la persecución de la dictadura que el 13 de junio de 1977 allanó su domicilio, secuestró a su hija Liliana, de 31 años, y le quemó su biblioteca.

Por otro lado, Sara Rus, en un reportaje publicado el 22 de agosto de 2010, recuerda que en 1983 su esposo Bernardo dijo: “Si mi hijo en seis meses no vuelve, yo ya no tengo nada que hacer” (…). “Vino la democracia, pasaron seis meses, mi esposo se enfermó de un tumor y falleció el 2 de mayo de 1984”. Bernardo, al igual que su esposa, era sobreviviente de los campos de exterminio nazis. Revivió en carne propia los horrores del Holocausto con la detención-desaparición de su hijo Daniel, en la puerta de la Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica, donde trabajaba, el 15 de julio de 1977.

Por último, Augusto Conte Mac Donell se pegó un tiro en 1992. Su hijo, Augusto María, estaba haciendo el servicio militar en la Base Aeronaval de Punta Indio cuando fue detenido-desaparecido, el 7 de julio de 1976. Conte fue fundador del CELS y entró en la Cámara de Diputados en 1983 por la Democracia Cristiana, bajo el lema “Derechos Humanos al Parlamento”. Renunció a su banca antes de finalizar su mandato, por una profunda depresión. Puso fin a su vida por mano propia. Esta es la siniestra secuela de la represión. Virginia Ogando es su última víctima.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Domingo 26 de junio de 2011

HISTORIA DEL INADI

En la “Investigación Lanata” sobre el escándalo en el INADI se señala erróneamente que dicho organismo “comenzó a funcionar en 2006, presidido por Enrique Oteiza”. En realidad, el INADI comenzó a funcionar nueve años antes, en 1997, habiendo sido creado por la ley 24.515, sancionada por el Congreso Nacional el 5 de julio de 1995. Por otro lado, es cierto que Enrique Oteiza lo presidía en 2006. Pero había comenzado su mandato bajo la presidencia de Eduardo Duhalde en 2002 y recién en setiembre de 2006 Néstor Kirchner designó a María José Lubertino al frente del organismo. Anteriormente, presidieron el INADI Víctor Ramos (hasta el final del Menemato), Eugenio Zaffaroni (bajo la presidencia de Fernando de la Rúa), y Liliana Scheines (durante el breve interregno de Adolfo Rodríguez Saá).

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Domingo 19 de junio de 2011

BONAFINI II

No hay duda alguna que Hebe de Bonafini ha hecho mucho daño. Para el ciudadano común, ha llegado a ser la cara visible y negativa de los derechos humanos. Todo a causa de sus actitudes incendiarias, producto de una inocultable veta autoritaria. Bajo el título de “Human rights and human decency” (Derechos humanos y dignidad humana), publicado en el Buenos Aires Herald del 10 de octubre de 2010, Robert Cox señala que Hebe carece de esto último. Fundamenta su opinión en la actitud asumida hacia su propia persona y especialmente respecto a “Tex” Harris. Coincido plenamente. Porque por su labor solidaria como editor de ese mismo diario, Cox fue detenido, su esposa sufrió un intento de secuestro y toda su familia tuvo que emigrar en 1979 por las amenazas recibidas. Harris fue un diplomático norteamericano que, durante la presidencia de Jimmy Carter, hizo caso omiso a las amenazas y recibió a los familiares de desaparecidos, haciéndose eco de sus reclamos. De últimas, Hebe despreció a extranjeros solidarios y cobijó a un parricida nativo. Que no haya robado no importa. Tiene que hacerse cargo de su insensatez.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Sábado 11 de junio de 2011

IRAN Y LA AMIA

¿Por qué el ministro de defensa iraní, Ahmad Vahidi fue invitado por su colega del Altiplano, María Cecilia Chacón? ¿Por qué no fue detenido en Bolivia por INTERPOL? ¿Por qué se pasea con impunidad en las fronteras argentinas? ¿Nadie paga el costo político de tamaña insensatez? ¿No importan las víctimas de la AMIA? ¿85 muertos y centenares de heridos? Preguntas que deben ser contestadas, para que no se pueda alegar que la defensa de los derechos humanos, aquí y allá, es puro verso.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Sábado 4 de junio de 2011

TRATA DE PERSONAS

Andrew Graham-Yooll afirma que, por los canales de cable no sabemos lo suficiente de lo que ocurre en las provincias, poniendo como ejemplo el contrabando de drogas y la trata de personas (PERFIL, Domingo 29 de mayo). Agregaría que tampoco he visto informe alguno sobre lo que en esa misma edición se detalla respecto a los extraños secuestros de alumnas de Psicología de la UBA en el macrocentro de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires y a plena luz del día. Es así que los noticieros televisivos no han incorporado la trata de personas a la grilla de “hechos de inseguridad” con que nos apabullan todos los días. Ello a pesar de que el Informe sobre la Trata de Personas presentado en junio de 2010 por la Oficina para Supervisar y Combatir la Trata de Personas del Departamento de Estado norteamericano señala que la Argentina es el único país de Sudamérica en que se ha incrementado este flagelo desde el 2009. Las leyes solas no bastan. Hace falta que toda la sociedad tome conciencia de esta tragedia humana. Los medios de comunicación masivos –especialmente la televisión- tienen un importantísimo rol que cumplir. Porque en democracia no pueden haber desaparecidos. Y en nuestras pantallas de TV, la trata de personas brilla por su ausencia.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

RESPUESTA

Gracias por su comentario Sr. Thomsen. Tiene razón en su referencia puntual. El recuadro intentaba llamar la atención ante la insuficiencia de información con la que nos distraen los programas de noticias de la televisión. Por lo tanto, hay muchos temas más como el que usted cita que nos deberían ocupar mucho más.

Domingo 29 de mayo de 2011

TRATA DE PERSONAS

No me sorprende que “La trata de personas lleva a pocos a la cárcel”. (Domingo 22 de mayo). Es así que la periodista, activista social y escritora mexicana Lydia Cacho, en su libro “Esclavas del Poder”, señala al argentino Raúl Martins Coggiola como administrador de prostíbulos y bares table dance conocidos como The One y Maxim en Cancún y Playa del Carmen. ¿Sus antecedentes? La autora señala que, de acuerdo a Claudio Lifschitz –ex abogado de Martins y presunto cómplice en la trata de mujeres de Sudamérica y Centroamérica hacia México- Martins controlaba las redes de la trata de mujeres para fines de prostitución mientras era agente de inteligencia de la SIDE argentina (de 1974 a 1987). Cuando obtuvo su retiro, se dedicó al negocio de la prostitución VIP, administrando 11 establecimientos en la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. En 2002 llegó a México, escapando de la Justicia argentina. Que se haya podido ir y continúe con sus tropelías muestra la impunidad reinante en la materia.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My View on Human Rights in The Buenos Aires Herald (2003 – 2013)

Saturday May 25, 2013

MISSING NO LONGER

On Friday, May 10, I read on the Web that there was no news as to the whereabouts of Nicolás Biedma. His wife, Carla Rutila Artés had already denounced his disappearance to the authorities and the judiciary. What first crossed my mind is that, in such cases, time is crucial, as shown by two incidents in 2006. Jorge Julio López disappeared on September 18. His family did not immediately denounce his disappearance based on the hope that his fragile memory might have been the cause of his delay in returning home. On the other hand, Luis Gerez, abducted on December 27, was found two days later, with signs of having been tortured. In this latter case, there was immediate and intense intervention of both national and Buenos Aires province authorities.

What links these three cases? Biedma’s wife, Carla Rutila Artés, testified in court against Eduardo Alfredo Ruffo — the man who took her as war booty from Automotores Orletti, the concentration camp where her mother was tortured and disappeared. López was the key witness in the trial of Miguel Ángel Etchecolatz. Gerez testified against Luis Patti. In other words, all those accused were connected to crimes committed during the military dictatorship.

So I phoned Danilo Albín, scriptwriter of the Spanish documentary ¿Y si tú sos vos? to inquire whether Nicolás Biedma could have left home for personal reasons. His answer was inconclusive. That’s why I hurried to write to the Herald (May 11). “This great little newspaper” (Bob Cox dixit) has saved lives before. Spanish-born María Consuelo Castaño Blanco and her three daughters are a living example (see: Michael Soltys, “Long night’s journey into day,” April 26).

But when I went to pick up my paper at the newsstand on Saturday morning, Nicolás Biedma had already returned home, safe and sound. Why did he go missing for two days? I imagine that the screening of the documentary referred to above must have deeply affected him. Nevertheless, I’d like to thank the Herald for publishing my letter. I’m glad I was wrong.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Ed. This letter was sent to us almost two weeks ago but was not published last Saturday in order to run Mempo Giardinelli’s column on the death of Jorge Videla.

Saturday, May 11, 2013 |

Your View

THE MISSING NOT JUST A PAST PROBLEM

Nicolás Biedma, 39, has been missing since Wednesday morning. On Tuesday evening I had met both him and his wife — Carla Rutila Artés — at the screening of the 54-minute Spanish documentary ¿Y si tú sos vos?, the first regarding the search in Europe for the Argentine children kidnapped by the military dictatorship. Carla is the first grandchild recovered by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo and shares with Nicolás the tragic fate of having parents who were kidnapped, taken to Automotores Orletti , tortured and disappeared.

All of us who viewed this hour of horror were deeply moved by the tragedy undergone by these youngsters, abducted from their parents and given in adoption to repressors. They were mistreated and endured years of suffering until recovering their true identity.

This documentary has a clear objective: to contribute in the search of those Argentine children of the disappeared who were kidnapped and nowadays live in Spain without knowing their true identity. The fact that Nicolás has gone missing since the morning after its first screening in Buenos Aires is disquieting and leaves a clear message: those who participated in the Plan Cóndor and are now on trial don’t like it.

I’d just like them to know that national Deputy María Inés Pilatti Vergara (Victory Front-Chaco) has just presented a resolution in the Lower House declaring this documentary of parliamentary interest. Moreover, the authors will dub this movie into English so that it may reach wider audiences around the world, especially in Europe.
Meanwhile, we must make sure that the general public be made aware both of this documentary and, above all, of Nicolas’s disappearance. Both are interconnected. The monsters are still among us.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Your View

LONG NIGHT’S JOURNEY INTO DAY

I was deeply moved by Michael Soltys’ review (April 26) on Maria Consuelo Castaño Blanco’s “Rapsodia para no olvidarte” (Editorial Dunken). I had the opportunity to comment this to his wife, who visited the Xunta de Galicia stand at the Book Fair that same evening. Robert Cox introduced me to María Consuelo last year and gave me a copy of her first book, “Más que humanos” (1988). He also insisted that this survivor of the Argentine Holocaust publish this second book, expanding on her European roots (her parents were exiles from the Spanish Civil War), as well as the tragic fate of those who never came back from the dungeons. What Mr. Soltys has done, quite remarkably, is to connect both books, enlightening readers into María Consuelo’s innermost feelings. The title chosen for this book review is perfect. Eugene O’Neill has been turned on his head: it´s a long journey from night into day.

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Your View

THE COURAGE TO ADMIT ERROR

Robert Cox and Horacio Verbitsky have only one thing in common: they’re journalists. What makes the former stand out from the latter is his ethical behaviour. Cox has just admitted he was wrong by not taking into account Benedict XVI’s compulsory membership in the Hitler Youth. Verbitsky has never apologized for erroneous information written in his regular Sunday Página/12 column. On November 17, 2012 my letter titled “Setting the record straight” bears testimony to this fact.

Nevertheless, on Thursday, March 21, 2013, Verbitsky, under the title “Pasado pisado,” refers explicitly to the testimony of Jesuit Fathers Orlando Yorio and Francisco Yalics with reference to their detention and the role played by now Pope Francis on their behalf. Is he wrong again?

I’m not trying to besmirch the new pope. I just want to know the truth.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Your View

IRAN AGREEMENT “AN AFFRONT”

“Non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust are honoured at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem as ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ and trees are planted with their names on a plaque. Morton Rosenthal, who died on January 12 following a stroke, at the age of 81, deserves to be honoured as doubly righteous. He saved Jews and non-Jews during the Argentine holocaust…”. This was written by Robert Cox (Herald, January 20). Nobody else even noticed the death of this American Rabbi.

Rosenthal was director of the Latin American Affairs Department of B’Nai Brith’s Anti-Defamation League (ADL) between 1966 and 1993. Thanks to de-classified US State Department documents, we can learn how tenacious his efforts in favour of those detained-disappeared were during the military dictatorship.

Unfortunately, the ADL is once again setting its eyes on our country, this time, regarding the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Iran. On February 13, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

“Any doubt about Iran’s real intentions in entering into the MOU were completely dispelled by the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran in a statement on February 12.

“The spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said that “the interrogation of some of the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran in line with the AMIA care are inaccurate,” and that it is “no longer necessary to pursue this issue…Iran and Argentina themselves will pursue this issue by forming a committee by way of the agreement.”

“The MOU, which is now being considered by Argentina’s Congress for approval, is an affront to the memory of those citizens of Argentina who lost their lives and were injured by the barbarous act of terrorism in Argentina’s capital city. This will only add to the suffering and pain of the survivors and families.

“The statements by Iran leave no doubt that the regime does not intend to allow this agreement to result in a fair process. We respectfully urge the Argentine Congress to act in the interest of the victims, their families and the people of Argentina by opposing the approval of the MOU”.

Is Argentina honouring Rabbi Rosenthal’s work?

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, February 16, 2013 |

Your View

GIVE CONGRESS A BREAK

In your February 10 editorial “MP = More Pay,” you state that “since the 2011 landslide re-electing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Congress has become a virtual rubberstamp with infrequent sessions and sketchy committee work.” By just checking the Congressional Webpage, it’s clear that you’re wrong.

Let’s focus on the Lower House. In 2012 there were 21 sessions, the last on December 19. You must remember that, according to our National Constitution, ordinary sessions of Congress are from March 1 to November 30. In other words, there was an average of two sessions per month. Moreover, Congress worked overtime, up to one week before Christmas.

But let’s compare 2012 with previous years. These are the number of sessions during the past five years: 2011 (10), 2010 (16), 2009 (12), 2008 and 2007 (25). In other words, in 2012 Congress duplicated work done the previous year.

Congressional productivity, i.e. laws sanctioned, is also on the rise: In 2012 (105) and in 2011 (79). Of those 105 bills presented before Congress last year, only 45 were the initiative of the Executive Branch, 31 of National Deputies and 29 of Senators. That’s to say, 42.86% correspond to the Executive Branch, 29.52% to National Deputies, and 27.62% to the Senate.

Congress is no rubberstamp. Senators and deputies outperform the Executive Branch in initiatives presented. They’ve also substantially increased the number of sessions. To label as “sketchy” the work in Congressional committees is to downplay the increase in productivity mentioned above.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, January 19, 2013 |

Your View

A PLEA FOR FALUN GONG

Pablo Bardin questions both the beliefs of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) followers which “muddles the experience of the Shen Yun show” — as well as the persecution they suffer in the People’s Republic of China (Herald, December 21). He considers it an “extremely simplistic ‘theology’” but admits “that they are persecuted for they are perceived as enemies of the state”. However, he remarks that in his May 2012 visit to China he was able to perceive tolerance of other religious beliefs since “freedom of cult is nowadays a far cry from the horrible situation at the time of the Cultural Revolution”.

To get a more accurate picture of what’s really going on, readers should access the US State Department’s 2011 report on international religious freedom presented on July 30. It says that religious freedom has “declined markedly” in China.

I really don’t care if the Chinese Cultural Revolution was worse. What’s going on now is unacceptable. The fact that Falun Dafa practitioners are in the millions makes me respect their beliefs, something Pablo Bardin fails to do.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, December 22, 2012 |

Your View

WHITE SLAVERY WIDE OF MARK

When referring to the kidnap and forced prostitution of Marita Verón, the Herald has repeatedly used the term “white slavery.” This terminology was common in the final stages of the 19th century to emphasize the fact that European women were taken away for sexual exploitation to other countries in the continent, Asia and Africa. Why? Because they were only white women. In other words, it originates in a period where “black slavery” was accepted by society and the state.

Nowadays, the appropriate terminology is “trafficking in persons” as referred to in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (also referred to as the Trafficking Protocol) adopted by the United Nations in Palermo, Italy in 2000.

The Protocol is the first global, legally binding instrument on trafficking in over half a century and the only one that sets out an agreed definition of trafficking in persons. The purpose of the Protocol is to facilitate convergence in national co-operation in investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons. An additional objective of the Protocol is to protect and assist the victims of trafficking in persons with full respect for their human rights.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Ed. Rather than being coterminous, the phrase “white slavery” was coined subsequent to “black slavery” — with the possible exception of Brazil all countries had abolished slavery some time before this term was introduced. As well as being archaic, the phrase seems to offend the politically correct but at least two arguments can be made in its favour — a) it is more specific than “trafficking in persons” which also includes the “snakeheads” (or shouldn’t we be using that term either?) and other such illegal migration rackets; b) it evokes a period of local history which perhaps should not be forgotten. At the very least it could serve as a synonym.

Sunday, December 16, 2012 |

Your View

CONCERNING WHITE SLAVERY

Last January, Lorena Martins filed a criminal complaint against her father Raúl Martins, accusing him of luring Argentine women and girls to Cancún (Mexico) and then forcing them into prostitution. She stated he has accomplices in the Argentine police and intelligence services. What happened? The Federal Appeals Court rejected the case, in spite of all the evidence provided.

On December 11, a Tucumán court handed down a unanimous verdict acquitting 13 defendants on all charges in the case regarding the kidnap and forced prostitution of Marita Verón.

Is the judiciary solely to blame? Surely not. Human trafficking is a very lucrative business. The military dictatorship had no respect for the lives of those considered dissidents. We should not allow democratic Argentina to condone the sale of human beings for prostitution or forced labour.

Susana Trimarco, Marita Verón’s mother, should not stand alone against impunity.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, December 1, 2012 |

Your View

DESAPARECIDOS

On November 12 this year, Robert Cox was photographed with María Consuelo Castaño Blanco and her three daughters, at the Spanish Cultural Centre in Recoleta. What’s the big deal? Thirty-three years ago more precisely, on Sunday, September 16, 1979 the picture of this Spanish citizen and her three siblings was splashed on the front page of the Buenos Aires Herald. Two days earlier a bunch of armed thugs had ransacked their home and whisked them away in unmarked cars. María Consuelo’s father immediately sought the help of Robert Cox, who didn’t hesitate in having their story told for several consecutive days on the front page of this “great little newspaper.”

It’s thanks to this publicity and the forceful intervention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights then visiting Buenos Aires that the three young girls were handed over to their grandparents. María Consuelo wasn’t that lucky: not only was her husband detained-disappeared, but she had to face a kangaroo court on trumped-up charges and endure four years of detention. But, thanks to this brave editor of the Herald, her life was spared.

María Consuelo believes that Cox and family had to flee Argentina a short time after due to his forceful intervention on behalf of her family.

Sure enough, thanks to the insistence of Robert Cox, María Consuelo has recently published a full account of her family’s ordeal: Rapsodia para no olvidarte: Relatos sobre los españoles desaparecidos en Argentina (1976-1983). Buenos Aires, Editorial Dunken, 204 pages.

Robert Cox did more than his job. He saved lives.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, November 17, 2012 |

Your View

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

Marcelo García is right: journalists can be “thankful there’s very real accountability on behalf of the public for them” (Herald, November 3). Magdalena Ruíz Guiñazú isn’t the only prestigious journalist who, having made a mistake, hasn’t had the honesty to admit it, let alone apologize. Such is also the case of Horacio Verbitsky, who — as Robert Cox pinpoints (Herald, June 10) — “tells some of the truth some of the time.”

On December 9, 2007, May 2, 2011 and October 30, 2011 Verbitsky wrote in Página/12 that one of former president Néstor Kirchner’s first measures in office was to request from Congress the ratification of the International Convention on the Non-Applicability of the Statute of Limitations for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. This is simply not true.

This International Convention had become Law 24584 on November 1, 1995. What President Kirchner did was (via Decree 579/2003 of August 8, 2003) deposit the instrument of ratification before the United Nations secretary-general.

Who took the initiative in presenting this convention before Congress? What circumstances favoured its legislative approval? Why did the Executive Branch take eight years to complete the legal procedures of ratification?

In 1994 two events shook both national and international public opinion. On the one hand, the declarations of former SS Captain Erich Priebke in Bariloche to ABC TV’s Sam Donaldson, admitting to his participation in the massacre of 335 civilians in Rome, Italy. On the other, the July 18 terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish community centre. This prompted president Menem to promise the Argentine Jewish leadership he would send this Convention for congressional approval.

At that time I was advisor to the Lower House Human Rights Committee chairman, then national deputy Claudio Mendoza (Peronist¬Chaco). I suggested he present a bill in Congress ratifying the Convention, which he did, immediately receiving bipartisan support. It passed the House in 1994 and the Senate in 1995. Nevertheless, Menem got cold feet. Why? Because of the fear within the Armed Forces that ratifying this Convention would open the Pandora’s box of trials frozen due to the Due Obedience and Full Stop laws.

Néstor Kirchner finished off the job begun by Congress eight years earlier.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, November 3, 2012 |

Your View

WHO’S RIGHT ON RIGHTS?

On October 22, Argentina submitted itself in Geneva to its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) Working Group. Our country was represented by a 14-member delegation headed by Juan Martín Fresneda, the State Secretary for Human Rights, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. There were 58 participants — 26 HRC members and 32 observers.

Positive achievements were underlined, but also issues and questions were raised. States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Argentina. These pertained to the following issues, among others: a national mechanism for the prevention of torture in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT); human rights education for law enforcement personnel with a focus on the prevention of torture; investigations into the alleged cases of torture perpetrated by law enforcement personnel; conditions of prisons and detention facilities, including instances of overcrowding and a review of the prison system; steps to address gender-based violence, and access to justice for victims of domestic violence; efforts to address human-trafficking, including through education and awareness campaigns and services to victims; ratification of the Optional Protocol on the Convention on the Rights of the Child concerning communications; domestic measures pertaining to persons with disabilities; efforts to reduce maternal mortality in line with Millennium Development Goals; the participation of indigenous people in public life and land rights for indigenous communities; legislative measures with regard to access to information; measures to further protect journalists. These recommendations will be examined by Argentina, which will provide responses in due time but no later than the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council in March, 2013.

On October 23, Página/12 informed: “Argentina received a positive appraisal from the UN on human rights: Progress with concrete results” while Clarín highlighted: “The UN alerts on obstacles to freedom of expression in Argentina”. Marcelo García is right (Herald, October 27): “There was next to no point of contact between the stories.”

City

Ildefonso Thomsen

Saturday, October 13, 2012 |

Your View

CHEERS FOR SPANISH EMBASSY

I’d like to thank Spanish Ambassador Román Oyarzún for his invitation to attend a ceremony at his Embassy (on October 5th) in honour of all Spaniards disappeared in Argentina during the last military dictatorship. Human rights have no political boundaries. Many Spaniards, escaping from the Spanish Civil War, had to endure the disappearance of their loved ones in our country. It’s truly comforting to witness that a representative of a conservative government in Spain stands up for the basic human rights common to all human beings.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, September 29, 2012 |

Your View

PERFIL NEEDS BETTER PROFILE

I agree with Robert Cox: abusive or militant journalism “weakens the role of the Fourth Estate in defending democracy” (Herald, September 18). The cover of Noticias magazine depicting President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in a moment of sexual ecstasy is utterly disgusting.

It’s unfortunate that there’s been no apology forthcoming from Editorial Perfil; only a blank magazine cover and victimization. Nevertheless, I should point out that there’s one voice in the desert. Andrew Graham-Yooll published the letter in which I express my support of Cox’s viewpoint in last Saturday’s Perfil newspaper. Although he expresses his own negative viewpoint on the magazine cover, he disagrees with his former boss and friend, labelling Cox’s decision to personally boycott the magazine as “theatrical and unnecessary”.

I believe he hasn’t taken into consideration the following aspects: On April 10, 2011, Cox’s column was entitled: “The conundrum of press freedom”; its subtitle: “No one would deny there is freedom of expression in Argentina today.” He states: “In my view only Noticias and Perfil are reasonably fair, in their fashion, when presenting the news”. Moreover, on September 9 earlier this month, the same weekend of the offensive magazine cover, Cox came out in defence of Jorge Fontevecchia, CEO of Editorial Perfil, in an article entitled “Under the boot of a defamation campaign.”

In last Saturday’s column “Politics and the Press”, Marcelo J. García stated: “Freedom of expression, as any other freedom, comes with a slice of responsibility”. It seems that at Editorial Perfil they haven’t received the message.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Your View

MORE ON EXTRADITION

On September 7, the US State Department informed it had granted immunity to Mexican ex-President Ernesto Zedillo for actions carried out during his period in office. This means that the case presented in court against him by relatives of victims of the “Acteal Massacre” (December 24, 1997) cannot be pursued.

As I mentioned previously (Your View, September 15), the United States has recently refused to extradite Bolivian ex-President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada to face charges for crimes against humanity.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama isn’t Jimmy Carter. We should all read “The Downfall of Human Rights” (NEWSWEEK, February 18, 2010) to see it like it is. The Nobel Peace Prize has gone down the drain.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Your View

DOUBLE STANDARDS

The United States and Britain have something in common in the realm of human rights: a double standard when it comes to who should be extradited for crimes committed elsewhere. I’ve already mentioned Britain regarding Augusto Pinochet vis-à-vis Julian Assange. Now the US joins the club. Just read the extensive analysis made by Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian (September 9): “America’s refusal to extradite Bolivia’s ex-president to face genocide charges”.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Your View

THE PUSSY-CAT THAT ROARED

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, in his latest statement regarding Julian Assange, didn’t repeat his warning to Ecuador last month that Britain could invoke the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 to arrest Assange inside the embassy. That had only fuelled international indignation.

Now, instead of a lion, he’s trying to portray a pussy-cat. On September 3 he said: “I have been consistently clear that we are not threatening the embassy of Ecuador.” Is it friendly to state Britain’s willingness to override international law?

The foreign secretary said: “Both the United Kingdom and Sweden are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights and the British government has complete confidence in the independence and fairness of the Swedish judicial system. As we have discussed with the government of Ecuador, the United Kingdom and Sweden robustly implement and adhere to the highest standards of human rights protection.”

Does the same standard apply to Spain? Why wasn’t it applied to Baltasar Garzón’s international warrant for the arrest of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet?

Finally, does the US abide by high human rights standards? Just read the following article in The New York Times (March 11, 2011): “Obama defends detention conditions for soldier accused in WikiLeaks case.” Have we all forgotten Guantánamo?

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Your View

ASSANGE’S RIGHTS

Britain says it has a legal obligation to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden. London’s The Guardian editorializes (August 16) that refugee protection does not apply to the WikiLeaks founder under the United Nations Convention. It misses the point: Ecuador has granted him asylum, not refugee status. At least Guardian columnist Matthew Happold got it right (June 20).

Moreover, former British diplomat Oliver Miles has pointed out in the London Review of Books that Britain is anxious to avoid setting the precedent of allowing Assange to remain as a fugitive within the Ecuadorian embassy in defiance of a European arrest warrant. He seems to have a short memory.

On 10 October, 1998, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón issued an international warrant for the arrest of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet for the alleged deaths and torture of Spanish citizens. The Chilean Truth Commission (1990-91) report was the basis for the warrant, marking an unprecedented use of universal jurisdiction to attempt to try a former dictator for an international crime. Eventually it was turned down by British Home Secretary Jack Straw, who rejected (on health grounds) Garzón’s request to have Pinochet extradited to Spain.

Of course, Pinochet happens to have supported Maggie Thatcher during the Malvinas/Falklands war. So is there a double standard?

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Your View

HOW LONELY IS PARAGUAY? II

Inter Press Service correspondent Humberto Márquez (Herald, August 5) repeats the same mistake made by his colleague, Natalia Ruíz Díaz (Herald, July 28). He stresses: “The new government of Paraguay, led by Lugo’s former vice-president, Federico Franco, has only been officially recognized by Taiwan and the Vatican.” Does this mean that Paraguay is isolated from the international community?

Federico Franco was sworn in on Friday, June 22. Germany’s International Development Minister Dirk Niebel met with Franco on Saturday and became the first foreign official to express support for the new government.

The United States and Spain have avoided publicly opposing or supporting the move, instead pressing the principle of democracy in Paraguay. A statement from the Spanish Foreign Ministry said: “Spain defends full respect for democratic institutions and the state of law and trusts that Paraguay, in respect for its constitution and international commitments, will manage to handle this political crisis and safeguard the peaceful co-existence of the Paraguayan people.”

The United States took a similar stance. US State Department spokeswoman Darla Jordan was quoted as saying: “We urge all Paraguayans to act peacefully, with calm and responsibility, in the spirit of Paraguay’s democratic principles.”

I’ve already quoted Canadian Ministry of External Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) official Diane Ablonczy issuing a similar non-committal statement (Your View, August 4).

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Your View

HOW LONELY IS PARAGUAY?

With reference to present-day Paraguay, Inter Press Service correspondent Natalia Ruiz Díaz states that “the government has failed to overcome its international isolation, having only been officially recognized by Taiwan and the Vatican” (Herald, July 28).

What’s true is that both states promptly recognized the new government because they have a grudge against deposed President Fernando Lugo. The former Catholic bishop had been suspended ad divinis by the Holy See. Moreover, Paraguay is the only South American country to recognize the Republic of China instead of the People’s Republic of China as the sole and legitimate government of China (including Taiwan).

Traditionally, Paraguayan diplomats at the United Nations backed regular proposals at the General Assembly sessions for the return of the Republic of China into the UN Organization. However, in the fall of 2008, the recently elected Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo, whose inauguration just a few days earlier had been attended by Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou, announced that his country wouldn’t do it at the 63rd annual session of the UN General Assembly.

Nevertheless, the present government has also been recognized by Canada, Germany, Spain and the United States. Washington more or less sat out the crisis, issuing just a few noncommittal remarks. Germany and Spain have done likewise. Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) Diane Ablonczy issued the following statement: “Canada notes that Fernando Lugo has accepted the decision of the Paraguayan Senate to impeach him and that a new president, Federico Franco, has been sworn in. The stability and respect for democracy that currently exist in the region have been hard-won and must be protected. We call for calm throughout Paraguay and will continue to follow developments closely.”

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Your View

THE CROSS AND THE SWORD

What is perhaps most devastating about Ceferino Reato’s book Disposición Final is Jorge Rafael Videla’s acknowledgment that he continues receiving religious comfort from the Catholic Church for his human wrongdoing. He attends Holy Mass every day in his detention centre and sleeps peacefully, surely thanks to the spiritual support received from sympathetic clergy. By just reading Emilio Mignone’s Iglesia y dictadura or Horacio Verbitsky’s La mano izquierda de Díos, one can have a clear picture of the Catholic hierarchy’s full-hearted backing of the so-called “Dirty War.” And it is the likes of Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, who had no qualms in handing over dissenting priests to military torturers (see Horacio Verbitsky’s El Silencio), who still question present-day realities while hiding their own involvement in crimes against humanity.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Your View

THREE CHEERS FOR CFK AND LANATA

I whole-heartedly support this government. It has put human rights on the front page of the national agenda. That’s why I fully agree with Bob Cox. Jorge Lanata should be returned to digital life on Página/12’s website. I don’t agree with his views nowadays but he has the right to freely express them.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Your View

MORE THAN A MOUSTACHE

According to Pablo Marchetti (Your View, May 26) Videla was very far from Hitler. Did Videla just murder terrorists? Didn’t he get rid of everybody in between? Are the number of victims crucial in the comparison? Or is it the methodology?

Secret detention centres, no due process, rape, torture, dehumanization of defenceless victims, use of state propaganda to cover up mass murder. We must thank Jorge Rafael Videla for enlightening us on his lack of humanity in Ceferino Reato’s recent book entitled “Disposición Final.” Argentina not only imported Nazis. It had its own crop. Jorge Rafael Videla was the leader of the pack.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, January 21, 2012   |

Your View

“INDIGNADOS” REPORTING

Mr. Dennis Dunn has repeatedly criticized Robert Cox and the Herald for giving so much space “to his memoirs and his smooth pen”, questioning the relevance of both during the last military dictatorship (Your View, February 26, October 15, and December 3, 2011).

As a former journalist, he’s made it perfectly clear he considers himself “king of the hill, top of the heap”, also questioning my “pedigree” to emit an opinion (Your View, October 29, 2011).

That’s why I decided to contrast his short-sighted views regarding the Malvinas/Falklands with those of The Guardian journalist Richard Gott (Your View, December 31, 2011). His reaction was to state that Mr. Gott is “one of Britain’s most vociferous indignados”, considering that I obviously have no valid views of my own (Your View, January 7). In other words, when I opine, he questions my CV, and when I don’t, he complains, questioning the merits of fellow journalists. He then extensively quotes an article bylined Ian Dunt that refers to a completely different aspect of the matter: a clever way to distract readers from a clear-cut response, which would evidently show that he’s out of touch with reality.

This is the real McCoy: Mr. Dunn personally addresses Malvinas/Falklands islanders, assuring them their “ships will always be welcome at any nearby Chilean port”.

He further states that, outside Argentina, the Mercosur countries “have no real axe to grind” over their wish for sovereignty and prosperity from their oil and other commercial activities. So then, why did they support Argentina’s position? “They seem to be spellbound by the recent overwhelming successes of our lady president”, adding the following: “Argentina and its neighbouring countries are all suffering from prolonged post-natal effects following years of colonial exploitation coupled with internal corruption (always inherent in Latin America)”.

In short, Mr. Dunn isn’t quite sure what’s going on, so he states that Latin American diplomacy “seems to be spellbound” by the electoral successes of Cristina. (Perhaps bewitched?) This can only mean that these nations are incapable of adopting rational foreign policies of their own. And if this doesn’t satisfy readers, he throws in corruption to this pot of nonsense, catalogued as inherent in the region. Does this mean that North Americans and Europeans, to start with, are all altar-boys?

Is this the rational conclusion of a respected journalist? Or rather another sad symptom that Mr. Dunn should hurry and get an appointment with a gerontologist?

Olivos

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, December 31, 2011   |

FOR GOTT’S SAKE, DUNN!

Malvinas/Falklands islanders should read the article published by Richard Gott in The Guardian last December 22: “Britain is asleep over Argentina and the Falklands.” It succinctly states that Britain should wake up to the reality that South America is growing in strength and increasingly united.

This viewpoint differs completely from that expressed by Dennis Dunn (Your View, December 24), who once again has shown us that he has lost contact with the real world.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, December 24, 2011   |

RUBIO NOT THE GREAT BLOND HOPE

José Manuel Palli — who presents himself as a Cubargie writing for the Herald — states that Marco Rubio, the freshman Senator from Florida, “seems to be God’s gift to those of us who pray daily for a sign that leadership in the United States is extant. He is bright, personable, articulate, youthful — but still managing to sound wiser than his youth might suggest — and in almost no time has captured the imagination of people way beyond Florida.” (On Sunday, December 11).

What’s for sure is that he has truly caught our attention. Last November 15, Senator Rubio sponsored an amendment (S.AMD. 969) to the “Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012” (H.R. 2354) requiring that the Secretary of the Treasury direct the US Executive Director of every international financial institution to oppose providing loans to Argentina until it solves the debt in default with the remaining bondholders (holdouts) who did not tender their bonds in the last debt swap.

Fortunately, H.R. 2354 passed the Senate on December 17 without taking into consideration the proposed amendment. This was God’s gift to us, while Mr. Palli seems to be “Sleeping with the Enemy.”

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, December 17, 2011   |

MEA CULPA

We all make mistakes. Robert Cox has just admitted that he was wrong in supporting the Reagan Doctrine (Herald, December 11). I voted for Ronald Reagan in spite of having supported Jimmy Carter’s human rights policy. The sole reason was because I considered Carter’s US domestic policy a disaster.

But I was living in Buenos Aires and my friend Mónica Mignone had been detained-disappeared. And I still hadn’t let my American citizenship lapse into oblivion, simply for not having realized that Argentina (where I was born) was my place on earth.

The United States taught me to fight for my rights. It’s Argentina where I learnt the real meaning of human rights, the hard way.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, December 10, 2011   |

NUCLEAR FISSION

What do Daniel Rus and Mario Villani have in common? Both worked at the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) and were detained-disappeared in 1977, on different dates. The difference is that Mario was released after having survived the ordeal of three years and eight months in five clandestine detention centres (Club Atlético, El Banco, El Olimpo, Pozo de Quilmes and ESMA Navy Mechanics School); Daniel simply disappeared.

I’ve already mentioned the testimony of Daniel’s mother, Sara Rus, regarding the similarities between Auschwitz and Argentina (Your View, December 3). Now there’s the view of a survivor (Mario Villani y Fernando Reati: Desaparecido: memorias de un cautiverio. Buenos Aires: Biblos, 2011).

Daniel’s father, Bernardo Rus, hoped that his son, for being a scientist, would survive. Mario Villani survived, and continually pinpoints that he doesn’t know why. The difference: Daniel Rus was a Jew.

In his prologue to Mario Villani’s book, Supreme Court Justice Eugenio Raúl Zaffaroni states: “If events had been different — let’s say, normal — maybe you and I would have been opposites. I could have been the judge who sentenced you. And now I’m writing the prologue to your testimony. The first clue is in this paradox: there weren’t two demons, simply Hell that impeded such confrontation. Whatever one may judge regarding what you and many others did, Hell unites me to you in solidarity with your pain as a victim of concentration camps.”

I fully agree.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, December 3, 2011   |

THE GHOST OF BUSSI

The successful political career of “dirty warrior” Antonio Domingo Bussi truly poses some uncomfortable questions regarding Argentine democratic society at large (Editorial, November 26).

Why have so many stories sprung up concerning the possible refuge of Adolf Hitler in our country? Why did Nazis like Erich Priebke walk freely throughout the country without needing to conceal their identity?

Truly speaking, the “Proceso” — with all its horrors — was possible because society, as a whole, looked the other way. Very much like Germans under the Nazis.

That’s why Bernardo Rus — a survivor of Nazi concentration camps — couldn’t stand the pain and died shortly after Raúl Alfonsín was sworn in.

His son Daniel was “detained-disappeared” when leaving work at the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) in Ezeiza, on July 15, 1977.

His wife Sara has given testimony of the similarities between Auschwitz and Argentina (Eva Eisenstaedt. Sobrevivir dos veces. Buenos Aires: Milan, 2007, 168 pages).

Finally, there’s a clear answer for your editorial query: “If Bussi could sometimes take office, why were 394,000 citizens of Buenos Aires province disenfranchised when they voted for Luis Patti in 2005?” Just look at who was at the helm in the Casa Rosada: Bussi took office under Carlos Menem, Patti was disenfranchised under Néstor Kirchner.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, November 19, 2011   |

MISSING THE MISSING

Helen Arocena died without knowing the fate of her son Marcos. On November 8 both were reunited in the cemetery (Herald, November 13).

Many parents of the desaparecidos have died without having healed the pain. Some have even passed away on account of it.

On November 9, after 27 years, I encountered Sara Rus at the Buenos Aires Shoah Museum during a ceremony commemorating Reichskristallnacht. Her husband, Bernardo, a survivor — like herself — of Nazi concentration camps, died of cancer in 1984. He couldn’t stand the pain of not knowing the fate of his disappeared son.

Fortunately, Sara has lived to bear testimony to the horrors of mankind, duly recognized by the City Legislature in naming her “Illustrious Citizen.” Bernardo Rus has meant a lot to me. He taught me to struggle and not forget. Until I die.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, November 5, 2011   |

DUNN TO DEATH?

Mr. Dennis Dunn questions my pedigree to opine in the Herald (Your View, October 29). He states that Robert Cox was one of the reporters of this newspaper in the 60s while His Lordship was a correspondent for an internationally-known news magazine. Does this mean Lord Dunn is more entitled to express his views? Do professional credentials override rational criteria? Is the messenger more important than the message?

Mr. Dunn whines that a number of his “letters regarding Robert Cox’s repetitive criticisms of the last military dictatorship have been ignored” while my “data-encrusted sermons seem to be invariably included in the readers’ forum every weekend”. I’d like him to specify which other Argentine newspaper has published letters criticizing a former editor internationally recognized for his work in the realm of human rights. Should the Herald be the only one to repeatedly practise self-flagellation?

I agree with Dennis Dunn in having “no interest in prolonging this futile discussion about Bob Cox’s merits as a columnist and historian.” But instead of just skipping page 2 of the Herald’s Sunday Edition, I suggest he subscribe to some other publication more in tune with his élitist, pro-military dictatorship views.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, October 29, 2011   |

IN PERSPECTIVE

As you correctly state in last Thursday’s editorial, Néstor Kirchner should be remembered “for who he really was and what he really did”.

Just the day before, events taking place in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, put into perspective where our country stands on the human rights world podium, thanks to both Raúl Alfonsín and the aforementioned.

In Buenos Aires a court sentenced 12 former military and police officers to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity committed during the country’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Meanwhile, the Brazilian Congress passed a law to begin an official inquiry into the human rights violations committed during the 1964-85 military dictatorship. The law was passed after a consensus was reached between lawmakers, the government and military officers after it was agreed that the 1979 Law of Amnesty would not be repealed. And in Montevideo, the Uruguayan Congress adopted a law which eliminates the effects of the 1986 Amnesty Law (also known as Expiry Law), which protected police and military personnel from being prosecuted for human rights violations, and repeals a statute of limitations which would have prevented victims from filing criminal complaints as of November 1.

Both Raúl Alfonsin and Néstor Kirchner had their “dark side”. The former will be remembered for the landmark trial of the military Juntas; the latter for repealing the Due Obedience and Full Stop Laws put into place by his predecessor, opening the gates for justice down the chain of command.

There’s no need for “extravagant eulogies.” The truth is good enough.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, October 22, 2011   |

BADLY DUNN

One thing is for sure: at the Herald — and this distinguishes this newspaper from all the rest — “everybody’s entitled to their opinion” (Editor’s note, Your View, October 15). This remark is made in reference to Denis Dunn’s letter regarding Robert Cox’s October 9 column entitled “Why Argentina is unique”.

Mr. Dunn states that Cox is “self-indulgent” and has an extremely suspect perspective as a “self-effacing evangelist”; his underlying message is “to hell with authority” and he subtly manipulates “the idea of a Messianic presence by a handful of journalists on a modest-sized newspaper (let’s face it) defying a ‘devilish’ government”; he also emits “a whiff of the left-wing Peronist John William Cooke”. However, Denis Dunn presents no substance for the above affirmations.

The article in question is referred to ”the Search for Argentina’s Lost Children”. Cox refers to a meeting, during the Menem administration, with a Brazilian diplomat in which the subject was brought up. Furthermore, he mentions his testimony last month on the witness stand in the trial of the junta members, military and police charged with “appropriating babies.” The relevance of these personal accounts is that the reason for child abduction is put into question and leads to the two views of why it happened provided by the book under review: “Who do you think you are” by Andrew Graham-Yooll. Cox also states that “at the Herald we had the joy of being able to save some children who wer returned to their grandparents”. Is being proud of saving lives, and stating it in print, “self-indulgence”? Or should he be ashamed and shut up?

In his open letter to Bob Cox (Your View, February 26), Mr. Dunn is perfectly clear: “I find it sad that you continue to harp on about old injustices and acts of cruelty in what appears to be an ongoing vendetta against Argentina’s military rulers between 1976 and 1983, over 30 years ago”. He also states: “Your story of the Buenos Aires Herald’s brave stance at that time (and it is a GREAT story) is more suitable material for a book on aspects of Argentine history, starting with the cruelties inflicted by the Spanish conquistadors on the South American natives.”

Does Mr. Dunn believe that “old injustices and acts of cruelty” should benefit from impunity?

Moreover, in his last letter, Mr. Dunn adds that “Mr. Cox is slick but by no means convincing to a large proportion of his readers”. It seems he hasn’t paid due attention to reality: In 2010, Robert Cox was made “an illustrious Citizen of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires” by the City Legislature, and the Argentine Senate awarded the former Herald editor “the Commemorative Medal of the Bicentenary of the May Revolution 1810-2010 for his courageous and unconditional commitment to democracy and human rights during the last military dictatorship” (Herald, November 24, 2010, page 4). In the afore-mentioned open letter, Mr. Dunn urges Robert Cox to stop “digging old bones from the past”. Perhaps he should lay his own to rest.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, October 15, 2011   |

THE MOUSE THAT ROARED

In “The Mouse that Roared”, the tiny European Duchy of Grand Fenwick supposedly located in the Alps between Switzerland and France, proudly retains a pre-industrial economy, dependent almost entirely on making Pinot Grand Fenwick wine. However, an American winery makes a knockoff version, “Pinot Grand Enwick”, putting the country on the verge of bankruptcy.

The prime minister decides that their only course of action is to declare war on the United States. Expecting a quick and total defeat (since their standing army is tiny and equipped with bows and arrows), the country confidently expects to rebuild itself through the generous largesse which the United States bestows on all its vanquished enemies (as it did for Germany through the Marshall Plan at the end of World War II).

The theatrical release poster for the 1959 film states: “They’re taking over the country in an invasion of laughs!” However, Peter Sellers, who stars in three roles (including that of Prime Minister), died in 1980.

That’s why the 2011 sequel casts the former president of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, defending the realm from the hoards of Gualeguaychú assemblymen (and women) threatening to dynamite the pulp mill situated on the border of his country and Argentina.

For this purpose, he’s fully prepared for war thanks to the five planes which comprise the Uruguayan Air Force, with enough fuel to last a 24-hour time-span and absolutely no guarantee that the planes will return to base. This explains his need for backup. Being the first Uruguayan president ideologically to the left of the political spectrum, he decides to seek the help of like-minded George Bush.

Peter Sellers, eat your heart out!

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, October 8, 2011   |

BANGING AWAY AT OBIANG

UNESCO’s life sciences prize in the name of Equatorial Guinea’s president “has stirred the ire of numerous Western nations as well as scientists, Nobel Prize winners and other notables around the world” (Herald, October 1). But we should also look closer to home.

Argentina holds a seat in UNESCO’s Executive Council, which must vote on this issue. That’s why on October 13, 2010, the Argentine Lower House of Congress unanimously passed a declaration requesting our government to reconsider the granting of this prize. The initiative was presented by three Victory Front members from Chaco province: Antonio Morante, Viviana Damilano Grivarello and María Inés Pilatti Vergara.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, October 1, 2011   |

A HUMAN RIGHTS PODIUM

There are three great champions of human rights who represent Argentina abroad. Robert Cox mentions Luis Moreno Ocampo and Juan Méndez (“From Where I Stand”, September 18). Fabián Salvioli, current vice-president of the UN Human Rights Committee, is the third. His CV shows that he has earned his spurs in human rights. See: http://www.derechoshumanos.unlp.edu.ar/es/institucional/fabian-salvioli/

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, September 24, 2011   |

HARD DUNN BY

Is the search for Justice a joke? Are the raped, tortured, kidnapped and disappeared something to laugh about? Is it funny that there’s still rampant impunity regarding crimes against humanity committed during the military dictatorship? Why does Dennis Dunn take these matters so lightheartedly? (Your View, September 17). Did both Robert Cox and Andrew Graham-Yooll laugh their way into exile for daring to speak up for human rights? Or was the laughing dunn by Mr. Dunn while both fine journalists had to run for their lives? Dennis Dunn seems quite worried about “a self-seeking government, rising unemployment coupled with the crime rate and world inflation.” His sensitivity to the fate of other human beings seems quite underdunn. Or is it the consequence of simply being dumb?

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, September 17, 2011   |

FURTHER TO THE JUNTA TRIAL BOOK

Readers who enjoyed Robert Cox’s review of Pepe Eliaschev’s book The Men of the Trial should take a good look at the following article published in the December 2010 issue of Sur – international journal of human rights (www.surjournal.org): Juan carlos Gutiérrez and Silvano cantu, “The Restriction of Military Jurisdiction in International Human Rights Protection Systems”. It recognizes a series of principles applicable to the administration of justice, including military jurisdiction, in which international human rights law and international humanitarian law agree. The trial of the Argentine military juntas was truly a milestone.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, September 10, 2011   |

ROUNDING OUT THE HERALD STORY

At a recent US Embassy reception in honor of this newspaper’s 135th birthday, Ambassador Vilma Martínez stated that the Herald “is internationally recognized as one of the world’s most highly respected defenders of democracy, human rights and journalistic freedom” (Herald, August 21). Once again, Robert Cox has shown us why.

In his Sunday column titled “A crime against human rights” (August 28), Cox –aided by the reminiscences of Andrew Graham-Yooll and Uki Goñi- mentions the damage done to human rights by distortions on both sides of the political divide. On the one hand, the inflated number of crimes attributed to terrorists presented by an organization that calls itself CELTYS; on the other, the “dubious additions” to the list of victims of State terrorism made by the Kirchner administration, as well as the rewriting of Ernesto Sabato’s introduction to the “Nunca Más” report.

In short, as time goes by, human rights have been tainted by politics. Shouldn’t these three fine journalists get together and tell us the Herald’s full story during that tragic period in Argentine history?  It would help put the record straight, once and for all. Because, contrary to what R.M. Macnie sustains (Your View, September 3), I believe Mr. Cox should continue to “harp on things that started happening 35 years ago and ceased 25 years ago”.

Why does the international community continue to condemn Nazis who committed atrocities more than half a century ago? I suggest reading Judge Baltasar Garzón’s prologue to the book recently published by Argentine Supreme Court Chief Justice (Ricardo Luis Lorenzetti y Alfredo Jorge Kraut. Derechos Humanos: justicia y reparación. Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 2011, 312 pages). On page 16 he states: “The path of democracy shouldn’t be that of forgetfulness; if this were the case, it would lead us to disaster on account of the accumulated ethical deficit”.

Since the Herald will already have marked its 135th anniversary before the next Your View, I’d like to share with your readers the Lower House resolution presented on Thursday by deputy Antonio Morante regarding this occasion:

“Founded on September 15, 1876 under the name of The Buenos Aires Herald by Scottish immigrant William Cathcart, it originally consisted of a single sheet with advertisements on the cover and mostly shipping information (departures and arrivals in the Port of Buenos Aires) on the back. When its founder sold it a year later, it changed its weekly format to a daily more typical of a newspaper. It quickly became a touchstone for the English-speaking community living in Argentina.

In 1925, the brothers Junius Julius and Claude Ronald Rugeroni bought the newspaper. In 1968, the Evening Post Publishing Company of Charleston, South Carolina bought up a major share from J.J. Rugeroni, becoming sole owner in 1998. On December 15, 2007, the Argentine businessman Sergio Szpolski sold the publication to Anfin, which edits the newspaper Ámbito Financiero (acquired some months previously by Orlando Vignatti).

During the 1976-83 military dictatorship in Argentina, the Buenos Aires Herald under the British journalist Robert Cox was the only medium (alongside La Prensa) to report on the people going missing. Because of this he was illegally arrested and after his release, his family was systematically subjected to threats, apart from an attempt on his life and an attempt to kidnap his wife – the imminence of his disappearance or murder obliged him to leave the country in 1979.

This story has been brilliantly told by his son David in a recently published book. David had recently published the correspondence between his father and his close friend, Harry Ingham, which brings to light his reflections on the tragic years both in Argentina and exile.

Robert Cox currently spends half the year in Buenos Aires and writes a Sunday column every week for the Herald.

As US Ambassador Vilma Martínez said in a reception to honour the 135th anniversary: “The Herald is internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious defender of democracy, human rights and journalistic freedom. The Herald is an institution which transcends the newspaper itself and whose legacy will endiure in time”.

As representatives of the Argentine people, we would like to extend and express recognition of the work done by this journalistic medium towards full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms when most kept silent, whether due to complicity or fear. That is why we request approval of this resolution”.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, September 3, 2011   |

FURTHER TO PEPE ELIASCHEV AND THE JUNTA TRIALS

Andrew Graham-Yooll (The men who held the trial, Aug. 23) applauds Pepe Eliaschev’s lack of neutrality in his latest book regarding the trial of the military Juntas. He also agrees with the author that it’s “the most remarkable civilian enterprise in the history of Argentina”.

I must admit that neutrality is impossible in the face of human horror. And compared to what occurred in Cambodia, Greece and South Africa, this trial in the dawn of Argentine democracy stands out as remarkable.

The importance of this book is that we get an insight into the personal, professional and political background of those who were responsible for this historical feat.

Nevertheless, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. To get another side of the story I suggest readers get hold of Ulises Gorini’s “La otra lucha.- Historia de las Madres de Plaza de Mayo”.- Tomo II (1983-1986). Buenos Aires: La Página, 2011, 528 pages. Alfonsin’s motives in differentiating responsibilities in the military chain of command were questioned by the human rights movement, as well as the passage of the Full Stop and Due Obedience laws.

Eliaschev does an excellent job differentiating the trial of the Juntas from Nüremberg. However he doesn’t present any argument whatsoever to sustain his assertion that, since 2003, the Kirchners have systematically played down its relevance (page 374). Neither does he explain why he stamps as “Soviet” the new prologue to the Final Report of the National Commission of the Disappearance of Persons (page 407).

Nevertheless, this book is an important step in helping us get the full picture of the most terrible period in modern day Argentina.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, August 27, 2011   |

IN DEFENCE OF ZAFFARONI

Margarita Rosenfeld (Your View, Aug. 20) states that we should feel deeply ashamed of our Supreme Court, since basic values have been banished from it, on account of Justice Eugenio Zaffaroni’s promotion of prostitution. She also argues that he should step down to allow the Court to become respectable again.

In other words, Ms. Rosenfeld states that Justice Zaffaroni is guilty as charged, before he has even exercised his right to proper defense. She likewise forgets that members of this Supreme Court were the first ever selected under open public scrutiny in 2003 and that Zaffaroni has impeccable human rights credentials, recognized worldwide.

Nevertheless, since this is a year of Presidential elections, a scandal of this proportion has been thrown into the political arena. Thus opposition presidential candidate Ricardo Alfonsín has said that Zaffaroni should resign, while Elisa Carrió has stated that he should be submitted to impeachment proceedings. In this respect, Justice Zaffaroni has said he’s willing to go to Congress and give all explanations necessary, but only after October 23. In other words, the issue is removed from the political limelight.

Is this is the right decision? Justice Zaffaroni was nominated to the Supreme Court by ex President Néstor Kirchner. The present accusation against him was brought about by N.G.O. “La Alameda”, headed by Gustavo Vera, a good friend of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, sworn enemy of Zaffaroni (Noticias, Aug. 6, page 105). Moreover, Carlos Slepoy, plaintiff in lawsuits brought against Argentine repressors in Spain, has accused a member of “La Alameda”, Carlos Ganora, of defending former Navy lieutenant commander Alfredo Scilingo (La Nación, Aug. 4). In other words, are those who one way or another collaborated with the military dictatorship trying to discredit one of the pillars of democracy?

Justice Zaffaroni is not above the law and, as everyone else, is innocent until proven guilty. He should have his day before the Impeachment Committee in Congress. But this doesn’t mean facing a political lynching squad nor playing into the hands of the enemies of democracy.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, August 20, 2011   |

THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST(S)

Dennis Dunn (Your View, Aug. 6) states that horrors during the military dictatorship were inflicted by “a minority of military (and police) officers” and later underlines: “The ‘Beasts of Buenos Aires’ can be counted on the fingers of both hands”.

If there are only ten culprits, why were there 156 clandestine detention centers throughout the country positively identified by the CONADEP? Were they also physically responsible for the detention, torture and final disappearance of more than 9.000 Argentines? Why have 160 repressors already stood trial and been condemned for crimes against humanity? What were the demands of Aldo Rico and his band of carapintadas during the Easter uprising of 1987? Why were the Due Obedience and Full Stop laws passed by Congress? Just for ten “beasts”? Why did Menem decree an amnesty? Didn’t the military dictatorship try to get as many members as possible of the Armed and Security Forces involved in the repressive machinery, precisely to guarantee impunity? How many within their ranks openly denounced these repressive methods? Why is it that they only account for 2,5% of the detained-disappeared? Doesn’t this mean that most of them participated, justified or merely looked the other way?

Eugenio Bezzola tries to give Mr. Dunn a hand (Your View, Aug. 13). He’s reminded of the Stalinist purges when criticizing the present Government’s denial to promote “Army and Navy officers with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and Commander with very high qualifications because their surnames were related to the Proceso 1976-83 military dictatorship without necessarily being involved in the repression of those years”.

How can he be so sure? Can’t this be the consequence of having adopted a clandestine method of repression? Are all repressors accounted for?

In the end, Mr. Dunn minimizes the number of victimizers, while Mr. Bezzola forgets that the Argentine clandestine detention centers were true Stalinist Gulags. Are the rest of us stupid?

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, August 13, 2011   |

NOT AT PEACE WITH REESE

In their letters over the last year Christina and Thomas Reese have been coming up with variations on a theme stated last May 21: “Argentina is a MESS. Why? Because it has never become a full-fledged democracy. The government is on the road to becoming either a dictatorship or a fascist state.” Does this mean the Reese’s espouse democratic values? Let’s see previous statements.

Regarding the military dictatorship, Thomas Reese makes no distinction between State terrorism and that of guerrilla organizations (Your View, Nov. 20), considering the latter just as evil as Admiral Massera. On the other hand, his wife characterizes Jacobo and Héctor Timerman as “despicable characters” and believes incomprehensible that they be considered “victims of the armed forces” (Your View, March 12). In other words, there is no primacy of due process and the rule of law, basic standards of democracy.

With reference to squatters in this city, Christina Reese states (Your View, Dec.11): “Apparently, the city of Buenos Aires is to become the dumping-ground of South America, and its citizens the financiers of these waves of illegals.” And her husband underlines how Mayor Macri could deal with them (Your View, Jan. 8): “Having proper funding, he could develop a sufficient number of highly trained city policemen who could enter all applicable zones and determine the legal/illegal status of all inhabitants, then send all those who are illegal back to the country they came from”. Are illegals a tsunami of trash dumped into the nation’s capital? Is a Mayor empowered to expel aliens from the country?  Is this to be settled by the police? Is there no consideration for human rights?

Finally, the Reese’s simply seem to be bleeding by their pocket. In their letter of May 21, they mention a luncheon at a “well-known and supposedly prestigious” city club, at 150 pesos per person, characterized by the ill-manners they claim are an example of Argentine decadence. Concurrently, Christina Reese emphasizes in her letter of last December: “As a tax-payer of this city, already being threatened with a hefty increase in next year’s ABL, I strongly object that my money will be going to finance people who have no business here in the first place and should we come to that, I will sell my property and move on to more reasonable pastures.”

Before heading for the airport, I suggest the Reese’s change their acquaintances and find cheaper clubs to have lunch. There are rude and impolite people in all levels of society, anywhere in the world. And a country cannot be judged by one ill-selected expensive experience. Argentina is a democracy with many defects. But it is neither on the road to dictatorship or fascism.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, August 6, 2011   |

EMILIO MIGNONE – FATHER TO DAUGHTER

As Robert Cox correctly states (July 24), Emilio Mignone is a true hero for humanity. In the process of searching for his daughter Monica, he joined forces with grieving parents of other detained-disappeared Argentines and led the way in making the outside world aware of the atrocities being committed in this country.

And nothing more appropriate than comparing Monica Mignone with Anne Frank. For those of us who lived through those tragic years alongside the Mignone’s, Monica wasn’t a friend to mourn but a cause to fight for.

As Anne Frank inspired so many around the world in the struggle against Nazism, the kidnapping of Monica Mignone really changed my life. And I must thank both Emilio and Chela Mignone for that.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, September 25, 2010   |

FOR COLOUR-BLIND HUMAN RIGHTS

Why is someone who defends human rights in Argentina tagged as a leftist? I have always asked myself this question.

Last Sunday, in his (I hope) regular column, Robert Cox gave me a clue. Why have human rights been politicized? Cox pinpoints that this is the inevitable result of being denied any information about the whereabouts of the “disappeared”.

There is, I believe, another reason, that helps answer both questions. After the historic trial of the military juntas, mainstream political parties were responsible for looking the other way while Mothers and Grandmothers felt ever more frustration as time went by. The Due Obedience and Full Stop laws passed under Raúl Alfonsín, and Carlos Menem’s amnesty were more nails in the coffin of human rights as the banners of both Radicals and Peronists. It’s no won der that both Néstor and Cristina Kirchner have been accused of “appropriating” the human rights banner. All previous governments, in one way or another, defaulted.

Take, for example, the meanderings of the Argentine ratification of the Convention on the Non-Applicability of the Statute of Limitations for war Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. In the aftermath of the July 18, 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA/DAIA building in Buenos Aires and all the fuss surrounding the extradition of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke, Menem promised Rubén Beraja (then DAIA President) that he would send a bill to Congress ratifying this convention. But he was pre-empted by the tehn chairman of the recently created Lower House Human Rights Committee, Claudio Ramiro Mendoza, a Peronist from Chaco (and brother-in-law of provincial Governor Jorge Capitanich). By the end of 1995, the Convention had passed both the House and Senate. But the Executive got cold feet: it didn’t deposit the instrument of ratification before the United Nations. Neither did Fernando de la Rúa nor Eduardo Duhalde, nor all those in between. It was not until Néstor Kirchner took over the presidency that Argentina finally ratified the Convention.

I would like to thank Robert Cox for his insightful analysis. Welcome back to this “great little newspaper”. You help us sort out the past.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, July 24, 2010   |

CHINESE WHISPERS MUTE IN DC

During the past week, President Cristina Kirchner has been criticized in the media (including your editorial, July 18) for not having brought up the subject of human rights during her recent visit to the People’s Republic of China. True, Tibetans are repressed and practitioners of Falun Gong are persecuted. However, those same voices are mute every time the Argentine President visits Washington D.C. Are prisoners in Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib in Iraq not human beings? United States President Jimmy Carter was criticized for his double standard in human rights. However, he saved lives. He made a difference. I don’t agree with these double standards. But this is the real world.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, July 17, 2010   |

REMEMBERING PAT RICE

Michael Geraghty is right (Herald, July 11). Irish Embassy officials were both prompt and courageous when intervening to save the lives of Patrick Rice and Fátima Cabrera, after being detained and savagely tortured.

My mother, a descendant of the McKeons from County Longford, was the Irish Ambassador’s secretary at that time. She told me that, while detained, Patrick was able to communicate freely with the Irish Ambassador bhy speaking in Gaelic, so his military captors had no idea of what he was saying.

Throughout the years I’ve had the privilege of meeting Patrick Rice on several occasions. He was a living example of the spirit of the “fighting Irish”. We will surely miss him.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, July 3, 2010   |

POLITICS AND SPORTS

The facts presented in your editorial of June 27 notwithstanding, the truth of the matter is that, throughout the years, sports have been used for political motives. Remember Adolf Hitler and the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games? Who can forget the East Bloc’s emphasis on gymnastic excellence during the Cold War? And what about allegations that Argentina’s 1978 World Cup victory was bought by a hefty investment in the military dictatorship of Peru?

Sports can also be used for repressive purposes, as is currently being denounced by Amnesty International regarding South Africa. Regulations created to comply with FIFA World Cup requirements in host cities are being used by police to expel homeless people and street traders from “controlled access sites” and exclusion zones around World Cup venues. Penalties for offences under the regulations include fines of up to 10,000 Rand (1,300 dollars) or imprisonment of up to six months. In May hawkers protested outside the local FIFA operations center in Soweto, calling for an end to evictions and the disruption of their means of livelihood near soccer stadiums. Elsewhere tense confrontations have occurred between police and street traders, over seizures of street traders’ goods, in the name of cleaning up the streets for the World Cup.

I’m all for Nelson Mandela backing the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo for the Nobel Peace Prize. But Argentine human rights organizations, ans society as a whole, should be taking a good look at what’s happening in South Africa regarding human rights.

Palermo

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, June 19, 2010   |

YOUR VIEW FOR EVERYBODY

 

I must disagree with Lisette Kasbarian (Your View, June 12). Is censorship a short cut to the truth´The fact that Ergun Kirlikovali expressed his opinion –no matter how abhorrent it may be to some of us- has provoked a healthy debate in this section regarding a tragic period of world history.

The Herald has not suppressed this debate. Is there any other Buenos Aires daily that offers such a possibility? For expressing an opinion on-line not congruent with the editorial opinion of a major daily, I have been automatically banned from making any further comment. There have been recent letters in this section with which I fully disagree. However, this is what we call freedom of expression. It´s one of the basic human rights.

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, May 22, 2010   |

AGAINST ALARMISM

Has Argentina become a de facto dictatorship? Is William Clark right (Your View, May 15)? Does it appear that Argentina is eventually headed towards another complete financial meltdown? Is there no real opposition to the dictates of the Kirchners? No independent Supreme Court? No freely elected senators and deputies in Congress?

Do they control the press? Are armed thugs roaming the streets at night, kidnapping real and apparent opponents? Are we living in Athens 2010, Wall Street 2008, or Buenos Aires 1976? Shouldn’t Mr. Clark be more careful with his words? Has he such a short memory?

City

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen

Saturday, August 22, 2009   |

GIVE FALUN GONG A BREAK

Peter Singer’s commentary regarding as to whether selling organs should be a crime (On Sunday, August 16) brings to mind what has been going on for years in the People’s Republic of China, namely organ-harvesting, which is not solely a crime but a grave human rights violation.

This practice was brought to my attention last year by Hon. David Kilgour, a Canadian MP and former external affairs minister, who visited Buenos Aires accompanying the human rights torch on its world-wide tour prior to last year’s Olympic Games in Beijing.

Kilgour was received by the Human Rights Committee of the Argentine Lower House, where he astonished us all with his report entitled: “An Independent Investigation into Allegations of Organ-Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China” (www.organharvestinvestigation.net). Up to that moment, I had no idea what Falun Gong was all about neither could I believe that such a Nazi-like practice could be taking place in the 21st century in one of the five member states of the UN Security Council.

In a few words, since Falun Gong teaches “truth, benevolence and tolerance”, the Chinese Communist Party has been persecuting them for already 10 years. Falun Gong practitioners don’t drink alcohol or smoke, so their organs are in top shape to be forcefully transplanted and sold to those eager to pay the price.

There is further proof of China’s fierce persecution of Falun Gong practitioners: the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights practices, the Congressional Executive Commission on China 2008 Annual Report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2007 Report, Amnesty International’s 1st September 2008 letter to the UN’s Human Rights Council, the European Parliament Deputy Speaker’s letter to UN Secretary-General of 25 April 2009, and finally the letter sent to US President Barack Obama by 50 congressmen on July 8, 2009.

Selling organs is only the top of the iceberg. Let’s focus on the real McCoy.

City

Ildefonso Thomsen

Congress Advisor

Saturday, August 23, 2003   |

HISTORICAL REMINDER

The Executive has taken the right step for the wrong reason. The bill proposing the ratification of the Convention on the Non-Applicability of the Statute of Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity was presented in 1994 by the President of the Human Rights Committee of the Chamber of Deputies with bi-partisan support.

As his advisor I simply took the initiative in the midst of the media frenzy surrounding the extradition of Erich Priebke and president Menem’s promise to Ruben Beraja (then of DAIA) that this Convention would be ratified. However, with full ratification in 1995, the Executive got cold feet.

Throughout these eight years, there was never an official response to the inquiries made regarding the delay in depositing the instrument of ratification before the UN. Nevertheless, I found out that the fear of retroactivity was the main motive for not taking this last step. Since the Convention entered into force in 1970, the Argentine military dictatorship (1976-83) could presumably be included in its provisions.

This is utterly stupid.

Before presenting the bill at the time I spoke to the late Emilio Mignone, co-founder of CELS (the Centre for Legal and Social Studies) who encouraged me to present this Convention for ratification on account of legal non-retroactivity: the same point you make in your editorial (August 14). The skeleton is –finally- out of the closet. I’m glad to have helped in opening the door.

City

Ildefonso Thomsen

Saturday, August 23, 2003   |

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Books on Human Rights published in Argentina (2009 2012). A personal review.

RAPSODIA PARA NO OLVIDARTE
Relatos sobre los españoles desaparecidos en Argentina (1976-1983)

ISBN 978-987-02-6124-7
Autor: MARÍA CONSUELO CASTAÑO BLANCO
Editorial: DUNKEN
208 páginas
Idioma Español

Ildefonso Thomsen 21.nov.2012 | 21:02

¿Puede alguien olvidarse del dolor sufrido? María Consuelo relata sus vivencias como hija de un sobreviviente de la Guerra Civil Española, que le tocó vivir la peor de las injusticias en tierra argentina. Y tanto ella como sus tres hijas fueron salvadas, gracias a la valentía de Robert Cox, quien dio cuenta inmediatamente de su secuestro en la portada del “Buenos Aires Herald”.Su testimonio es valioso por cuanto detalla los medios por los que la dictadura intentó destruirla como persona, pero no pudo. Además, rescata aquellos argentinos como Emilio Mignone y diplomáticos españoles como el consul en Rosario, Vicente Ramírez-Montesinos y en Buenos Aires, José Luis Dicenta, que jugaron su pellejo para defender los derechos humanos de sus compatriotas. España tiene una deuda con sus hijos que, huyendo del horror de la Guerra Civil Española, debieron sufrir la persecución de la dictadura cívico-militar argentina de 1976-1983. Este libro es un primer paso en reconocer el sufrimiento vivido y la tarea pendiente.

MONTONEROS : SOLDADOS DE MASSERA
LA VERDAD SOBRE LA CONTRAOFENSIVA MONTONERA Y LA LOGIA QUE DISEÑO LOS 70

ISBN 9789500737999
Autor MANFRONI CARLOS A.
Editorial SUDAMERICANA
Colección INVESTIGACION PERIODISTICA
Peso 0,45 Kg.Edición 2012,en Rústica
376 páginas
Idioma Español

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen (Asesor de diputada nacional) – 21/8/2012

Nada mejor que recordar el dicho: los extremos se tocan. Excelente libro con índice onomástico que desentraña por qué algunos sobrevivieron al horror. Simplemente, entregaron a sus compañeros. Una revelación: la posible guerra con Chile y la invasión de las Malvinas fue pergeñada por los Montoneros detenidos en la ESMA (luego impulsada por Massera), algunos de los cuales nos siguen dando cátedra desde distintos medios de comunicación. Ejemplo: Juan Gasparini, quien manejó la “caja” Montonera, hasta que se la entregó a. Massera a cambio de su libertad.

ELENA HOLMBERG : LA MUJER QUE SABIA DEMASIADO
EL CRIMEN QUE DESNUDA LA INTERNA DE LA DICTADURA MILITAR

ISBN 9789500738811
Autor BASCONI ANDREA
Editorial SUDAMERICANA
Colección INVESTIGACION PERIODISTICA
Peso 0,31 Kg.Edición 2012,en Rústica
256 páginas
Idioma Español

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen (Asesor de diputada nacional) – 21/8/2012

Un libro realmente impresionante. Excelente el índice onomástico. Además, aporta testimonios personales y publicaciones nacionales y extranjeras que ayudan a entender quiénes y por qué asesinaron a Elena Holmberg. Por ejemplo, cita una extensa nota publicada por el periodista norteamericano Charles Krause en el Washington Post del 8 de marzo de 1979 que dice (páginas 126-127 del libro): “Irónicamente, Holmberg creía fervientemente en los métodos usados por los servicios secretos de inteligencia, los métodos de secuestros clandestinos, tortura y ejecución que le causaron daño a la imagen argentina y que aparentemente fueron usados con ella. Ella con frecuencia les decía a sus amigos que creía que si Argentina quería superar su inestabilidad política crónica, estos escuadrones de seguridad interna deberían eliminar unos cien mil ‘subversivos’ más. ’Ella era muy franca en esto’, dijo un hombre que la conocía bien el otro día. ‘Ella creía que mucha gente debía ser asesinada’”.

DISPOSICION FINAL
LA CONFESION DE VIDELA SOBRE LOS DESAPARECIDOS

ISBN 9789500738804
Autor REATO CEFERINO
Editorial SUDAMERICANA
Colección INVESTIGACION PERIODISTICA
Peso 0,39 Kg.Edición 2012,en Rústica
316 páginas
Idioma Español

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen (Asesor de diputada nacional) – 4/6/2012

Que Jorge Rafael Videla haya intentado desmentir lo que dice el libro es motivo suficiente para leerlo. El criminal nazi Adolf Eichmann no dudó en relatar pormenorizadamente su accionar inhumano en un texto escrito en una celda israelí, por sentirse orgulloso de su trayectoria, cuando ya estaba condenado a muerte. Del mismo modo, el dictador argentino se muestra satisfecho de haber sido cabeza de una dictadura militar que asesinó “a 7 u 8 mil” seres humanos, convertidos en objetos a ser extirpados de nuestra sociedad. Por eso utiliza el mote de “disposición final”. Por eso es equiparable a lo que hizo Hitler en la Alemania nazi. El prestigioso periodista británico Robert Cox ha hecho una excelente caracterización al respecto, que merece ser tenido en cuenta. En este caso, no hace falta que pidamos la muerte del genocida argentino. Él mismo se ha puesto la soga al cuello con lo que en este libro se relata. Debemos agradecer a Ceferino Reato por haber tenido la visión y valentía de reflejarlo.

DESAPARECIDO : MEMORIAS DE UN CAUTIVERIO
CLUB ATLETICO EL BANCO EL OLIMPO POZO DE QUILMES Y ESMA

ISBN 9789507869235
Autor VILLANI MARIO
REATI FERNANDO
Editorial BIBLOS
Colección LATITUD SUR
Peso 0,26 Kg.Edición 2011,en Rústica
218 páginas
Idioma Español

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen (Asesor de diputado nacional) – 9/12/2011

Para quienes vivimos en la Argentina del terror fuera de los campos clandestinos de detención, el testimonio de Mario Villani es desgarrador pero permite comprender los dilemas de quién vive cada minuto como el último, aunque convencido que la única manera de triunfar sobre el sistema de tortura permanente –tanto física como psicológica- es pujar por seguir viviendo. Entiendo que este testimonio haya tardado tanto en publicarse. Haber padecido cinco campos de exterminio y poder contarlo exige un equilibrio mental y emocional que se adquiere sólo con el paso del tiempo. Villani plantea inquietantes interrogantes sobre la sociedad argentina: “¿Entenderá la gente que lo que ocurrió en Argentina fue parte de una metodología y que a los torturadores se los crea cuando se los necesita? ¿Sabrá comprender que la desaparición y la tortura no fueron una aberración inexplicable sino un fenómeno que, dadas ciertas condiciones, podría repetirse en cualquier lugar del mundo? Y concluye: “Me alegraré si lo que nos ocurrió sirve para que el mundo sea un poco mejor gracias a que insistimos en contar nuestra historia…”. Esto es lo trascendente del libro: los torturadores no salieron de un repollo sino de una sociedad enferma que amamantó a la bestia. Basta leer los informes sobre derechos humanos que se publican cada año para comprobar que todavía existen resabios de la dictadura entre nosotros. ¿Hace falta recordar que apenas cinco años atrás desapareció Jorge Julio López? Villani relata experiencias surrealistas como estar obligado a cebarle mate a torturadores que apenas a metros de distancia salían del “quirófano”. pasear por Parque Chacabuco con represores y detenidas embarazadas para luego tomarse unas cervezas en un bar, y luego volver al campo clandestino, todo a cara descubierta, en plena luz del día. Coincido plenamente con lo afirmado por Eugenio Raúl Zaffaroni en el prólogo: “…Si las cosas hubiesen sido diferentes –normales, por así decir-, tal vez vos y yo nos hubiésemos encontrado enfrentados. Podía haber sido el juez que te sentenciase. Y ahora estoy prologando tu testimonio. En esta paradoja está la primera clave: no hubo dos demonios, sino un infierno que impidió ese enfrentamiento. Cualquiera sea el juicio sobre lo que vos y otros muchos hayan hecho, el infierno me une a vos en solidaridad con tu dolor de víctima sobreviviente de campos de concentración.” Este es un paso más en el camino de Memoria, Verdad y Justicia.

LOS HOMBRES DEL JUICIO
POR PRIMERA VEZ LOS JUECES Y EL FISCAL QUE CONDENARON A LOS EX COMANDANTES

ISBN 9789500735940
Autor ELIASCHEV PEPE
Editorial SUDAMERICANA
Colección ENSAYO
Peso 0,65 Kg.Edición 2011,en Rústica
532 páginas
Idioma Español

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen (Asesor de diputado nacional) – 26/8/2011

El autor señala que no es neutral, y se nota por el sólo hecho que el libro esté dedicado a Raúl Alfonsín, Carlos Nino y Andrés D’Alessio. Ello no invalida la rigurosidad informativa del mismo. Por ejemplo, uno puede estar o no de acuerdo con la decisión de Alfonsín de diferenciar los tres niveles de responsabilidades en la cadena de mandos: los que impartieron las órdenes, los que las cumplieron a rajatabla, y los que cometieron excesos. Pero lo que el libro describe es el razonamiento que primó a la hora de llevar a cabo los juicios y llegar al veredicto final. Además, al comparar la experiencia argentina con lo sucedido en Camboya, Grecia y Sudáfrica, nos permite una perspectiva internacional del juicio. Nada desdeñable, por cierto. Hay otros libros críticos de Alfonsín, del juicio y las posteriores leyes de Punto Final y Obediencia Debida. Éste no pretende serlo. Pero ayuda a armar el rompecabezas de lo que aconteció en el amanecer de nuestra democracia, después de la más sangrienta dictadura padecida por nuestra República en el siglo XX. Incluye un excelente índice onomástico.

LA VIDA DE EMILIO MIGNONE
JUSTICIA CATOLICISMO Y DERECHOS HUMANOS

ISBN 9789500433259
Autor DEL CARRIL MARIO
Editorial EMECE
Peso 0,56 Kg.Edición 2011,en Rústica
394 páginas
Idioma Español

Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen (Asesor de diputado nacional) – 2/8/2011

Mario del Carril ha hecho una investigación exhaustiva de la vida de este hombre, en el contexto de su época, que resalta sus cualidades morales y personales. Hay ciertos datos sorprendentes, que aún los que lo conocimos en la parte posterior de su vida -la de la dictadura militar-, desconocíamos: en 1946 fue candidato a diputado por la provincia de Buenos Aires de la Alianza Libertadora Nacionalista. Esto no hace más que hablar bien de su persona: a través de los años, evolucionó a una visión más integral y humanitaria. Mignone fue un católico practicante, y su fé lo llevó a mover montañas. No solamente luchó por recobrar a su hija Mónica, sino que colaboró en la fraterna empresa de unir a los familiares de los detenidos-desaparecidos en la lucha contra la dictadura. Por eso forjó el Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS). Cómo bien señaló recientemente Robert Cox, Emilio Mignone es un héroe para la humanidad. Al libro le haría falta un índice de nombres, que esperemos sea incluído en futuras ediciones.

Graciela Fernández Meijide. La historia íntima de los derechos humanos en la Argentina (a Pablo). Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 2009. 328 p

.ISBN 9789500730631
Autor FERNANDEZ MEIJIDE GRACIELA
Editorial SUDAMERICANA
Peso 0,42 Kg.Edición 2009,en Rústica
328 páginas
Idioma Español

by Ildefonso M. Thomsen

“The night of Oct. 23, 1976, nearly 33 years ago, was the last time I saw my son Pablo. He was 17 years old, and he was terrified. Since then I have had no reliable news about his fate. My family and I have been left at the mercy of the anguished torments of our imagination.”

This is the opening paragraph of the book La historia íntima de los derechos humanos en Argentina (The Inside Story of Human Rights in Argentina) by Graciela Fernández Meijide, a woman whose own life story was turned upside down the day Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship seized one of her three children, who was in his last year of secondary school.

Fernández Meijide, who was a French teacher, found herself thrust into the role of activist, as a member of the non-governmental Permanent Assembly for Human Rights (APDH). In 1984, she was named secretary of the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP), set up to collect testimony on the dictatorship’s victims of forced disappearance.

Fernández Meijide led CONADEP in its work compiling the accounts of family members who lost loved ones to forced disappearance, and the testimony of torture survivors, which were produced in the report “Nunca Más” (Never Again), also published as a book. The detailed report served as evidence for the historic prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of the members of the ruling juntas for human rights violations, in the mid-1980s. Several generals were handed down life sentences.

However, centre-right former president Carlos Menem (1989-1999) later pardoned them, while lower-ranking members of the armed forces were let off the hook by two amnesty laws, passed in 1986 and 1987 in the midst of military uprisings.

The book reveals arguments between the families of the “disappeared” and members of organizations linked to political parties, and debates about whether or not to support CONADEP or other initiatives in search of justice.

The publication of The Inside Story in August 2009 touched off a heated debate, not over the book’s contents but as a result of comments made by the author. For example, the number of victims of forced disappearance cited by Fernández Meijide drew angry reactions from human rights groups and from the government Human Rights Secretariat, which put the number much higher than the figures mentioned in the book.

The author cites the official figure — 7,030 — and CONADEP’s total of documented cases, nearly 9,000. She makes no reference to the much larger estimate of 30,000 historically provided by human rights organizations, including the groups representing mothers and other family members of victims, and used by the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and the administration of her predecessor (and husband), Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007).

Fernández Meijide also sparked an outcry over her proposal for offering reduced sentences to members of the military who provide accurate information on the fate of their victims.
In Argentina, trials of military personnel accused of committing human rights abuses during the dictatorship have been in full swing since the Supreme Court struck down the two amnesty laws in 2005 and revoked Menem’s pardon in 2007. But the legal proceedings are moving slowly and defendants and witnesses are starting to die of old age.

Fernández Meijide argues that, along the lines of South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission, under which perpetrators could apply for amnesty for political crimes they made full disclosure of, shorter sentences should be offered to those who co-operate by providing “verifiable, reliable information” on the fate of the “disappeared,” before their families die without ever finding out what happened to their loved ones. But the leaders of the human rights groups almost unanimously spoke out against Fernández Meijide’s idea.

The president of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, Estela Barnes de Carlotto, who lost her daughter, son-in-law and grandson born in a concentration camp flatly rejected the proposal, which she described as “negotiating impunity in exchange for finding our grandkids.”

Fernández Meijide said the people who have criticized her ideas “have not even read the book and are letting themselves be influenced by comments by others.”

She said the suggestion of offering reduced sentences in exchange for information is not actually even mentioned in the book. Moreover, she stated that the tragedy does not depend on the number of victims and that “this is not all the truth but my truth”.

In the search for her son, she found consolation among other families whose sons and daughters or other loved ones had been taken away. And shortly after Pablo disappeared she quit her job as a high school teacher to dedicate herself fully to her activism.

In 1984 she accepted the task in CONADEP, a job that few were able to handle.
The government of then president Raúl Alfonsín (1983-1989) had already proposed a dozen candidates to compile personal accounts for the Commission. But they inevitably fled after a few days of work, overwhelmed by the painful testimony they were gathering, witnesses tell Fernández Meijide in the book. The government then turned to her, as she had already done similar work during the dictatorship itself.

Over the years, Fernández Meijide became involved in politics. She was a prominent member of the centre-left Alliance that governed Argentina from 1999 to 2001, after standing out as a vocal opponent of the Menem administration. In those years she was a legislator and later social welfare minister.

Now, retired from public life, she just spent two years writing the book that she describes as “an integral history of the development of the human rights organisations and CONADEP,” but also as the unfinished story of her son Pablo and thousands of other victims of forced disappearances.

Graciela Fernández Meijide is a controversial figure of the Argentine human rights movement. Nevertheless, this is a very good book that should be read by those who want an inside story of those tragic years of Argentine history and how the human rights movement evolved from dictatorship to democracy. A copy is available at the library of the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

Guido Braslavsky. “Fernández Meijide: ‘Deberían bajar condenas a represores por información’”. Clarín, 03-08-2009.

“’El registro lo tienen los asesinos’”. Página 12, 05-08-2009.

Laura Capriata. “Regresó Fernández Meijide y provocó una fuerte polémica”. La Nación, 05-08-2009.

“Head of Plaza de Mayo discredits former senator”. Buenos Aires Herald, August 05, 2009.

“Duhalde: ‘La cifra de 30 mil desaparecidos no es arbitraria ni caprichosa’”. Página 12, 04-08-2009.

“Desaparecidos: el Gobierno salió a cruzar a Meijide”. Clarín, 05-08-2009.

Natasha Niebieskikwiat. Meijide: “Esta no es la verdad, sino mi verdad”. Clarín, 07-08-2009

Hilda Sábato. “Verdad y Justicia de una cifra”. Clarín, 14-08-2009.

Silvina Schuchner. “En primera persona”. Clarín, 15-08-2009.

Marcela Valente. “The unfinished story of the ‘disappeared’”. Buenos Aires Herald, September 01, 2009.

Hugo Gambini. “Testimonio sobre la violencia”. La Nación, 26-09-2009.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment