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Dirty War


  • 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 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 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 03/21/2013

    Priest 'not denounced' by pope

    Francisco Jalics, a Hungarian native who now lives in a German monastery, said that he was following up on comments about the case last week because he had received a lot of questions and "some commentaries imply the opposite of what I meant."He did not elaborate.Fr Jalics and another priest, Orlando Yorio, were kidnapped in 1976.Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has said he told the priests to give up their work in slums for their own safety, and they refused. Yorio, who is now dead, later accused Fr Bergoglio of effectively delivering them to the death squads by declining to publicly endorse their work....

  • 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....