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Argentina


  • Originally published 01/23/2014

    Argentina's Truth Commission at 30

    A monumental victory for global justice, Conadep'€™s model should be followed more closely by other war-torn countries.

  • Originally published 08/03/2013

    Memos reveal six months of planning behind Thatcher's top secret visit to the Falklands

    Margaret Thatcher’s 1983 visit to the Falklands was akin to a military operation in its own right and followed six months of meticulous planning.The prime minister visited the islands for four days in January to mark the 150th anniversary of the establishment of a permanent British settlement.The trip, less than eight months after the end of the conflict, had to be kept secret because of the “significant” threat from Argentina, confidential government files show.The documents, released today by the National Archives under the new 20-year rule, include extensive briefings from the Ministry of Defence marked “Secret UK Eyes A” about travel arrangements....

  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    Inca mummies: Child sacrifice victims fed drugs and alcohol

    Scientists have revealed that drugs and alcohol played a key part in the months and weeks leading up to the children's deaths.Tests on one of the children, a teenage girl, suggest that she was heavily sedated just before her demise....The mummified remains were discovered in 1999, entombed in a shrine near the summit of the 6,739m-high Llullaillaco volcano in Argentina.Three children were buried there: a 13-year-old girl, and a younger boy and girl, thought to be about four or five years old.Their remains date to about 500 years ago, during the time of the Inca empire, which dominated South America until the Europeans arrived at the end of the 15th Century....

  • Originally published 06/12/2013

    Outpost on pampas where Jews once found refuge wilts as they leave

    MOISÉS VILLE, Argentina — At its height in the 1940s, this outpost on Argentina’s grasslands had four synagogues for a population of 5,000, a theater for Yiddish-language acting troupes, a newspaper filled with feverish debates about the creation of the state of Israel and saloons where Jewish gauchos galloping in from the pampas could nurse a drink alongside fellow cowhands.Now, Moisés Ville, founded in 1889 by Jews fleeing the pogroms of the Czarist Russian empire, has only about 200 Jews among its 2,000 residents. The last regularly functioning synagogue lacks a rabbi. The Hebrew school halted classes this year because of the dwindling number of Jewish children. Some of the last remaining Jewish gauchos have swapped their horses for Ford pickup trucks, and they now ponder the future of their way of life.

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    Federico Finchelstein: An Argentine Dictator’s Legacy

    Federico Finchelstein is associate professor of history and director of the Janey Program in Latin American Studies at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College in New York. He is the author of the forthcoming “The Ideological Origins of the Dirty War.” Jorge Rafael Videla, leader of Argentina’s dictatorial junta from 1976 to 1981, died in prison on May 17, but his historical legacy is far from settled.Although in his day he was lionized by some Cold War warriors as a savior of his nation, his crimes are no longer in question, and many young Argentines who never lived under his murderous grip regard him as a symbol of evil. The debate that persists is whether he in fact waged a “dirty war,” implying two sides, or whether, as many professional historians agree, he simply unleashed state-sponsored terrorism.Under the junta’s rule, even a five-year-old knew his name. That was my case: As far as I can remember, I never heard political discussions in the middle-class Argentine Jewish home in which I was raised, but I knew who he was....

  • Originally published 05/17/2013

    Argentine dictator Videla dies at 87

    Jorge Rafael Videla, the military junta leader who oversaw a ruthless campaign of political killings and forced disappearances during Argentina’s so-called Dirty War against dissidents in the mid-1970s, died on Friday in the Marcos Paz Prison in Buenos Aires, where he was serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity. He was 87.His death was announced by Argentina’s Secretariat for Human Rights.At least 15,000 people were killed or “disappeared” during the junta’s campaign, according to government estimates. Human rights officials say the figure is closer to 30,000.General Videla rose to power in 1976, when he led a largely bloodless coup against President Isabel Martínez de Perón, widow of Juan Domingo Perón, the founder of the country’s populist movement. Whisked away by helicopter in the dead of night, Mrs. Perón was arrested and charged with corruption, and General Videla, the chief of the armed forces, took over the presidency and established a military junta, promising to restore civilian rule promptly....

  • Originally published 04/25/2013

    Petroglyphs documented in NE Argentina

    A hill in the northeast part of Argentina that holds various cave paintings, which was considered to be a sacred place before the Incan conquest of the region in the fifteenth century, was identified by Mexican investigator Luis Alberto Martos Lopez from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), as part of an archaeological salvage.The exploration of this space is within a much wider project destined to the excavation and restoration of the Incan site known as Potrero de Payogasta, in the wide and contrasting Valle Calchaquí, in Argentina; this is an initiative which has been supported by the Cultural Patrimony of the Salta province. Also, this Project is funded by the National Geographic Society.The exploration of this space is within a much wider project destined to the excavation and restoration of the Incan site known as Potrero de Payogasta, in the wide and contrasting Valle Calchaquí, in Argentina; this is an initiative which has been supported by the Cultural Patrimony of the Salta province. Also, this Project is funded by the National Geographic Society.

  • Originally published 04/17/2013

    An Argentine Tradition Threatens to Crumble With City Architecture

    BUENOS AIRES — As Concepción Martínez, her husband and two daughters pulled into the last subway station here, cheers and clapping erupted from the throngs of people, some wearing turn-of-the-20th-century dress, waiting on the platform.Camera flashes lighted the tunnels as passengers took their final rides in the saloonlike wagons — with their wooden benches, frosted glass lamps and manually operated brass doors — of South America’s first subway line.“Every day, I ride this train into work, so this is a kind of goodbye,” Ms. Martínez said.The antique Belgian-built cars, a symbol of Buenos Aires’s early-20th-century wealth, were taken out of service this year, and their retirement is a poignant example of the city’s struggle to preserve its physical history as some of its icons and infrastructure crumble....

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Thatcher papers show Falkland doubts

    Some of Margaret Thatcher's closest policy advisers voiced strong concerns that the Falklands Islands were not worth the fight, from the earliest days of the campaign, according to the latest release of files from the former Conservative prime minister's personal papers.The papers show that, contrary to the jingoistic spirit at the time, the divisions over the Falklands went to the very heart of Downing Street with both Thatcher's senior economic adviser, Sir Alan Walters, and her chief of staff, David Wolfson, proposing schemes offering to buy-out the 1,800 islanders rather than send a taskforce to the South Atlantic. The scepticism extended to the head of the Downing Street policy unit, Sir John Hoskyns, who voiced the fear of making "almighty fools of ourselves" and worried that an essentially minor issue could precipitate the downfall of the Thatcher government.

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    Emily Schmall: How the Catholic Church Lost Argentina

    Emily Schmall is a freelance journalist in Buenos Aires who covered the ascension of Pope Francis for the New York Times.BUENOS AIRES — Hundreds of spectators stood through the chilly night in the city's Plaza de Mayo, the iconic park in front of the Catholic cathedral and government palace, to watch a live Vatican transmission of the ascension of the Argentine pope, Francis. The mass finally began shortly after 5 a.m., to a roar of cheers and chanting in unison: ‘Argentina! Argentina!'People wrapped themselves in the yellow and white Vatican flags being hawked alongside Francis buttons, calendars, key chains and posters.While Francis circled St. Peter's Square in the white pope-mobile, two students of the Catholic University, Federico Chaves and Jonathan Tiberio, both 26, swapped anecdotes about the former Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, an advisor at their campus, who set up a program at the university for students to teach English and computer classes as volunteers in some of the city's poorest slums."We're anticipating change at the Vatican because of what he did in Argentina. He worked with everyone, atheists, homosexuals....He's shown a commitment to bring the church closer to the people, to assimilate it into life," said Chaves, an economics student....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Mary O'Grady: Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope

    Mary O'Grady is a member of the editorial board at The Wall Street Journal and writes editorial columns on Latin America, trade and international economics. She is also editor of "The Americas," a weekly column that appears every Monday and deals with politics, economics and business in Latin America and Canada.Argentines celebrated last week when one of their own was chosen as the new pope. But they also suffered a loss of sorts. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a tireless advocate of the poor and outspoken critic of corruption, will no longer be on hand locally to push back against the malfeasance of the government of President Cristina Kirchner.Argentines not aligned with the regime hope that the arrival of Francis on the world stage at least will draw attention to this issue. Heaven knows the situation is growing dire.

  • Originally published 03/15/2013

    Mark Engler: The Pope and the Poor

    Mark Engler is a senior analyst with Foreign Policy In Focus and author of How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy (Nation Books). He can be reached via the website www.DemocracyUprising.com.In November 2000, as Argentina’s economic crisis escalated, the country’s bishops, led by Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, emerged from a plenary conference with a statement that was hardly welcome news to proponents of economic neoliberalism. Arguing that the true debt of Argentina was not financial but “social,” it blasted the “growing gap between rich and poor,” the “negative aspects of globalization,” and “the tyranny of the markets.”“We live in world in which the primacy of economics, without a base of reference in…the common good, impedes the resurgence of many nations,” the statement read. It further contended, “To accustom ourselves to living in a world of exclusion and inequality is a serious moral failure that erodes the dignity of mankind and compromises peace and social harmony.”

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    Francis and Argentina’s "disappeared"

    Like many other older churchmen, politicians and businessmen in Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been questioned by some for his role during this country’s bloody 1976–83 military dictatorship, when tens of thousands of young dissidents were made to “disappear” in the death camps set up by the generals who ruled the country.The Catholic Church in Argentina realized that its behavior during that dark period was so unsaintly that in 2000 it made a public apology for its failure to take a stand against the generals. “We want to confess before God everything we have done badly,” Argentina’s Episcopal Conference said at that time. “We share everyone’s pain and once again ask the forgiveness of everyone we failed or didn’t support as we should have,” Argentina’s bishops said in a statement again last year after former dictator Jorge Videla, now serving a life sentence, claimed in an interview that he had received the blessing of the country’s top clergymen for the actions of his regime....

  • Originally published 03/13/2013

    Did Pope Francis collaborate with the Argentine junta?

    David Austin Walsh is the editor of the History News Network.Pope Francis in Rome on March 13, 2013. Credit: Mazur/catholicnews.org.ukUPDATE: In an email to HNN, James P. Brennan, a professor of history at the University of California, Riverside who is currently working on on a research project about the "Dirty War," cautioned against rushing to judgments about the new pope's record with the military junta. "[Journalist Horacio Verbitsky] is the sole source of [the] accusation [about concealing prisoners from human rights officials], which has yet to be verified by other credible sources such as human rights organizations in Argentina."

  • Originally published 03/05/2013

    Fabián Bosoer and Federico Finchelstein: Argentina’s About-Face on Terror

    Fabián Bosoer is an opinion editor at the newspaper Clarín. Federico Finchelstein, an associate professor of history at the New School, worked as a researcher at the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires before the 1994 bombing.ON July 18, 1994, a van filled with explosives blew up outside the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds. It was the worst terrorist attack ever in Argentina, which has Latin America’s largest Jewish population, and one of the deadliest anti-Semitic attacks since the Holocaust.