News: Argentina releases ‘blacklists’

8 November 2013 

Sky News

Argentina has released blacklists featuring the names of writer Julio Cortazar and folk singer Mercedes Sosa in newly discovered documents from the country’s 1976 to 1983 military dictatorship. The list contains the names of 285 artists, actors, journalists and others given the designation ‘Formula 4’ by the junta, according to the country’s defence ministry. The label singled out those seen as unfit for government jobs, state aid or subsidies because of alleged Marxist leanings. Officials say private businesses also used the government blacklist, which dates back to April 1979.

Cortazar, who died in Paris in 1984, is considered among the best Latin American writers of the 20th century. The author of ‘Hopscotch,’ which was translated into 30 languages, was an active sympathiser of Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution. Sosa, who died in 2009 and was one of the most recognisable voices in the region, went into exile in 1979, first in Paris and then Madrid. Also on the list was Jacobo Timerman, head of the defunct daily La Opinion and father of the country’s current foreign minister, Hector Timerman. The elder Timerman was kidnapped and tortured by the regime and released due to international pressure.

Several journalists, including four who remain missing, were also on the list in addition to painter Antonio Berni, among others. Another list, updated January 31, 1980, includes 331 names under the most severe classification. Described as the first major find of classified documents from Argentina’s so-called Dirty War, the original documents are seen as having ‘immense historical value,’ Defence Minister Agustin Rossi said earlier this week. Some are expected to shed light on the fate of 30,000 opposition activists who disappeared during the dictatorship and are believed to have been murdered. The families of those who vanished have been pushing the country’s military and church to open up their archives as they strive to find out what happened to their loved ones.

News from Vision 7 in Argentina

El Oriente: Gobierno de Argentina da a conocer “listas negras” de la dictadura; Julio Cortázar en la lista

Blogg: Comunicaciones y Reseñas memoria – “Aparecen “listas negras” de la dictadura argentina.Documentos claves.”

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News: Newly Discovered Military Archives May Throw Light on Past Abuses in Argentina

6 November 2013

Argentina’s Defense Minister Agustín Rossi has just announced the discovery on October 31st of some 1,500 files belonging to the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976-83. The documents were found in safes and filing cabinets in the basement of the Condor Building, the HQ of the Argentine Air Force, after information on their whereabouts was provided by Air Force chief Mario Miguel Cellejo.

The documents include minutes of 280 secret meetings held by the Armed Forces during the crucial period from March 24, 1976 to December 10 1983. One of the meetings, in September 1976, involved an exhaustive briefing on Papel Prensa, the main supplier of print to newspapers in Buenos Aires city and elsewhere. Its main shareholder, David Graiver, disappeared in September 1976, allegedly in a plane crash, and his widow was illegally detained, reportedly in order to force her to sell the printing press to Argentina’s three main newspaper publishers.

The prosecutor’s office has an open file concerning Papel Prensa and the newly discovered archives may provide crucial evidence. The documents are believed to include other evidence of human rights violations and crimes, including so-called “black lists” of entertainers and public figures who the military regime considered to be dangerous.

These files are just the latest archives containing evidence of human rights violations discovered to have been hidden by a military dictatorship.

Hiding such files violates international human rights law and standards, as recently summarized in a set of Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information, drafted by 22 civil society organizations, facilitated by the Open Society Justice Initiative.

In particular, Principle 15 of what are known as the Tshwane Principles, named after the South African province where it was finalized, states that “[p]ublic authorities have a duty to preserve, manage, and maintain information according to international standards” and that “[i]nformation may be exempted from preservation, management, and maintenance only according to law.” Moreover, each public body “should create and make public, and periodically review and update, a detailed and accurate list of the classified records it holds, save for those exceptional documents, if any, whose very existence may legitimately be withheld.”

These principles were endorsed earlier this year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as well as by the four intergovernmental experts on freedom of expression/ media, and the UN special expert on counterterrorism and human rights.

The Justice Initiative is now working with the National Security Archive at George Washington University, with senior archivist Trudy Peterson, and other archivists to collect good practices concerning the  handling of military archives and, in particular, the declassification and disclosure of information of high public interest, including information that may provide evidence of human rights violations and other crimes.

News written by Sandra Coliver, senior legal officer for freedom of information and expression with the Open Society Justice Initiative.

News from Vision 7 in Argentina

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A little about me and the blog…


I'm studying archival science (include records management). My studies bring me to Bulgaria for six months.

I have been to Bulgaria on vacation but I don't know the language, Cyrillic alphabet or anybody. So I´ll be encountering many new situations and hopefully gain some insights from them. Some of it may end up on my blog. But even blogging is new to me sooo we´ll see...

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