Trial opens in Argentine arms smuggling scandal

The public trial for the Argentine government’s clandestine sale of arms to Ecuador and Croatia from 1991 to 1995 in violation of international agreements began in Buenos Aires on Oct. 16. There are 18 defendants; the best known, former president Carlos Menem (1989-1999), now a senator from La Rioja province, failed to attend, claiming health problems. Much of the evidence disappeared in the 1995 explosion of an arms factory; at least six potential witnesses had died by 1998, two in a helicopter crash, three from heart attacks and one in what was ruled a suicide. (La Jornada, Oct. 17)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 21

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