Posts Tagged 'Human Rights'

Human Rights in Argentina and the 2×1 Decision

A few thoughts on the  big demonstrations yesterday against the Argentine Supreme Courts’s #2×1 judgement.

The judgement held that a now repealed law which meant that time spent on remand should count double when computing the time  to be served on conviction should apply to those serving sentences for crimes against humanity during the 1976-83 dictatorship. There is some excellent legal analysis of the decision here  by  Gustavo Arballo    and more here by  Roberto Gargarella. What interests me here though aren’t the de/merits of the judgement or why the SC judges may have taken it into their heads to rule on this at all  but rather the overwhelming public and political reaction to the judgement. As well as the huge demonstrations yesterday Congress has near unanimously  passed an insta-law which will supposedly stop the judgement from being implemented.

 I  think it’s the result of a number of factors…

A) An inherited feeling of societal guilt, when the dictatorship was killing and torturing  the bulk of the population either quietly approved or decided to keep its trap shut,  now that it’s all long in the past  there’s a tendency to act out chest-thumping public rejection of it all. Anyone would think that the dictatorship was about to be restored.  What was repressed keeps  bubbling back up.

B) The 12 years of Kirchnerismo during which the 76-83 dictatorship was reinvented as an attack on Argentine society by the military with help from the media and some business sectors; in effect as society attacked by entities extraneous to it.

C) A more recent attempt equate 76-83 dictatorship with the Holocaust, complete with talk of “deniers” and “denialism”, a more effective way to hamper reflection on what happened,  why it happened,  and how it happened  in Argentina  between the early 70s and early 80s would be hard to imagine.

D) The fact that being in favourof human rights in Argentina has largely come to mean   the channelling of an atavistic urge to get even with the surviving murderers and torturers and a reimagining of the armed revolutionary groups active in the period as a saintly army of human rights operatives. As well as being false that’s a travesty of their memory.

And finally E),   the current government isn’t peronist, the peronists now hold the copyright on human rights in Argentina and even the fact that the previous administration appointed an army chief who cut his teeth disappearing dissidents and the 100 other complicities of parts of the movement with the dictatorship will change that; the current government is therefore seen as an affront to human rights in itself, regardless of what it does or fails to do.

Finally, for personal reasons  I share the atavistic desire to get even with those who  seized control of the state to murder torture and enrich themselves between 1976 and 1983 in Argentina and I’ll not be sorry if the Supreme Court #2×1 decision is blocked or reversed. But that’s got nothing to do with human rights

 

Freedom and Human Rights in Argentina in 2014

So I arrive at Ezeiza this morning after a thirteen and a half hour flight from Frankfurt, a lengthy layover there and a previous flight from the UK. I get to the head of the immigration queue; the Stasi apprentice in the booth scans my passport and national ID document. He looks at the address on the latter and says “Do you live there?”, “Of course”, I lied shamelessly, if you are not an Argentine national it’s a shocking pain in the arse to change your legal address and, in any case, what need has the state to know where I live? After all, its paid intellectual corps de ballet never tires of defending Assange and Snowden and freedom from government snooping, in other countries of course, but still.

“Which barrio is it?” asks the Heydrich wannabee. I tell him. Then he reads out the address and asks “Between what street and what other street?” I haven’t lived there for ages but I nailed the first one easily, the second took a few agonising seconds to come up from the depths of my stress, tiredness and clonazepam addled mind but come it did.
WHAT FUCKING RIGHT DID HE HAVE TO QUESTION ME LIKE THAT?

Satisfied, the would-be Mielke indicated where I should look to have my iris scanned and where I should lay my thumb to have its pattern recorded, a performance that is now repeated every time you enter and leave the country. Enter and LEAVE, every motherfucking person, EVERY motherfucking time, regardless of nationality or anything else. Your thumbprint taken and your iris scanned. And we go along with this like sheep. And when the government boasts of Argentina being a beacon of human rights we kind of believe it, even though we don’t support the government, it’s against a long departed dictatorship after all.

What is done with that information? Officially we have no idea but anyone who is not an idiot knows that it is swept up into the maw of the SIDE and the intelligence branches of the numerous other security forces. To do exactly what the fuck they like with it. And to share it with their pals in the private security “security” sector, of course.

And no, it doesn’t seem relevant to me that they may do the same or similar in the USA or wherever. I don’t give a tinker’s fuck about what they do there. I live HERE. And it ill behooves the “anti-imperialist” hordes to use what the USA does or doesn’t do as an example for us to follow.

This is freedom. This is human rights in Argentina in 2014.

Footnote: When I left the UK the previous morning I was only asked for my passport by Lufthansa employees.



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