ARGENTINA: DIRTY WAR AND HISTORICAL MEMORY
from Weekly News Update on the Americas:
On March 24, two separate but nearly simultaneous marches were held in Buenos Aires to mark the anniversary of Argentina's 1976 coup and remember the 30,000 people who were disappeared by the military regime.
The first march—attended by 10,000 people, according to the Buenos Aires daily Clarin—was called by organizations allied with or supportive of the government of President Nestor Kirchner, including the Grandmothers and Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo-Founding Line, the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, the Good Memory Association, Relatives and Siblings of the Disappeared, and the Historical Memory Foundation. The second march was organized by the Memory, Truth and Justice Encounter, a coalition of 185 human rights, community, media and cultural groups not aligned with the government, including the HIJOS group of children of the disappeared and the Association of Former Detained-Disappeared. Both marches ended at the Plaza de Mayo, the second one arriving just after the first rally ended. According to the Buenos Aires daily Cronica, the two marches together drew about 100,000 people.
In addition to marking the coup anniversary, the marchers were commemorating the 30th anniversary of the murder of journalist Rodolfo Walsh, who authored an open letter to the military regime on March 24, 1977, the first anniversary of the coup, and was disappeared hours later. Both marches also coincided in demanding the reappearance—alive—of human rights activist Jorge Julio Lopez, who disappeared last September after testifying against former military officer Miguel Etchecolatz in a trial over dirty war human rights abuses. (Prensa Latina, March 24; Documento del 24 de marzo Memoria, Verdad y Justicia, March 24, posted on Argentina Indymedia; Clarin, March 25; Cronica, March 24; La Jornada, Mexico, March 25)
President Nestor Kirchner headed a separate commemoration earlier on March 24 at the former clandestine detention center of La Perla, in Cordoba province, where an estimated 2,000 political prisoners were held during the dictatorship. (PL, March 24; LJ, March 25)
In Jujuy, protesters held an "escrache"—a noisy human rights protest—at a police station where a detention center operated during the dictatorship. (Clarin, March 25) Protests were also held in Rosario, Salta, La Pampa, Chaco, Santiago del Estero and Entre Rios. (LJ, March 25)
Another protest was scheduled for March 25 at the former detention center of Campo de Mayo, in front of a building where pregnant political detainees gave birth; the regime routinely disappeared the mothers, and illegally gave the infants into adoption with falsified birth papers. (Clarin, March 25)
Santa Fe: Police Attack Water Protest
On the morning of March 22, World Water Day, activists from the Coordinating Committee of Neighborhood Unity-Teresa Rodriguez Movement (CUBa-MTR) in Rosario, Santa Fe province, held a demonstration protesting the government's failure to provide running water to the city's Santa Clara neighborhood. Provincial police attacked the protesters, firing metal bullets into the air and rubber bullets into the crowd. Dozens of people were wounded, and nine people—five women and four men—were arrested. An eight-year-old boy was among those hit by rubber bullets. Agents also used clubs to beat demonstrators, including children and pregnant women.
The protesters regrouped at the police station to demand the release of those arrested. The nine detainees were freed around 6:30 PM but were ordered to appear in court the next day. In a communique, the CUBa-MTR blamed the Santa Fe provincial government for the violence, and warned that its members would not be intimidated. (CUBa-MTR Communique, March 22)
Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 25, 2007
Weekly News Update on the Americas