BUENOS AIRES – An editorial in the daily La Nacion urging the end of the trials for members of the brutal 1976-1983 military regime just one day after the victory by rightist Mauricio Macri in the presidential election has brought about an overwhelming and almost unanimous rejection in Argentina.
Journalists, politicians, attorneys and human rights activists have condemned the editorial, which was also repudiated by the newspaper’s staff at an unprecedented gathering.
“They didn’t wait a single day,” said the Pagina/12 newspaper on its front page on Tuesday, going on to harshly criticize in its interior pages what it said was a “troglodytic” opinion piece.
Macri’s win in Sunday’s runoff election has unleashed “the hopes of the Jurassic dwellers,” Pagina/12 said.
The editorial published on Monday entitled “No more revenge” in the conservative La Nacion said that the “shameful suffering of those convicted, brought to trial and even the suspects of the commission on crimes committed during the years of subversive repression who find themselves in prisons despite their advanced ages” is a social question that needs to be “resolved.”
It also called for an end to the “persecution” of judges criticized for their action during the dictatorship, whose “dirty war” against political opponents claimed an estimated 30,000 lives.
The reaction by La Nacion was immediate and workers at the daily called an urgent meeting to repudiate the editorial.
“We, the workers at the daily La Nacion, say yes to democracy, to the continuation of the trials for crimes against humanity and we say no to forgetting. For memory, truth and justice,” the group said in a communique approved at the assembly and published on Tuesday in the daily.
“There is no revenge, there is memory, truth and justice,” said Cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez on Tuesday in the name of the administration of outgoing President Cristina Fernandez during this daily press conference.
“The editorial seems hideous to me but the responses surrounding it, from (the newspaper’s) own editorial staff, seem to me to be healthy and show an Argentina that does not want to move backwards,” he added.
“The La Nacion editorial (is) a shame. I congratulate its editors for denouncing it. #MemoriaVerdadYJusticia,” wrote Argentine Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez-Esquivel on Twitter.
“Whoever commits a crime has to pay for it, and he has to pay for it in accord with the law. If there are (still) prisons, the age (of the prisoners) doesn’t matter,” was the reaction of Estela de Carlotto, leader of human rights organization Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.
Without entering into the controversy over the editorial, Macri, in response to questions posed by reporters at his first press conference after his election victory, said on Monday that when he takes office on Dec. 10 he will continue the trials for crimes against humanity that have been one of the key elements of the administrations of Fernandez and her late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner.