John Kerry Sheds Light On 'Dirty War' In Argentina

John Kerry Comes Clean: New Documents Shed Light On ‘Dirty War’ In Argentina

Obama’s administration cooperates with cleaning Argentina’s Dirty War

Before Obama’s administration is over, some promises are yet to be kept. One of these is the one the U.S. has with Argentina and the efforts to clean the stain of its Dirty War period. Reuters announced that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry would deliver on Thursday the first batch of declassified documents concerning Argentina’s Dirty War. The period from 1976 to 1983, known as the Dirty War, refers to an Argentinian period of military dictatorship in the country supported by the United Stated. During this, the Argentinian government murdered around 30,000 dissidents, left-wing and political opponents, while many others disappeared (“death flights” were the post popular tactics used by the Argentinian military). As Secretary Kerry announced according to Reuters,

“I want to note that the relationship between the United States and Argentina is an exciting, forward-looking one. But we’re also conscious of the lessons from the past. “

In 2002, over 4,000 State Department cables and other documents related to the Dirty War were declassified. The release of documents also comes in a period of improvement in the relations between the U.S. and Argentina, which began when President Macri took power and openly declared his opposition to the protectionism his predecessors enjoyed from. Kerry also announced this would be the first batch but there were more documents to come.

Kerry’s announcement comes after a first promise from the U.S. government made in March to declassify some of the documents from the Dirty War. The promise was made by President Obama during a visit to the South American country last March in response to a request from Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri and several human rights groups to share government records from both intelligence and law enforcement agencies concerning that period. Back then, President Obama said the U.S. has been slow in condemning human rights atrocities in Argentina during the dictatorship.

Many received with enthusiasm Obama’s promise and would surely react the same towards Kerry’s announcement and release of documents; however it would be comprehensible if for many others these actions are just hypocritical. Back in March Obama declared

“Democracies have to have the courage to acknowledge when we don’t live up to the ideals that we stand for. And we’ve been slow to speak out for human rights and that was the case here.”

But in Argentina, some, mainly survivor groups, saw Obama’s visit as a provocation. And this is because survivors and relatives of those who did not survive do not forget the fact that the U.S. supported for a time Argentina’s dictatorship.


Featured image via Creative Commons Tobias Kleinschmidt/CC-BY-3.0-DE and Pablo-flores/CC-BY-SA-2.5

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From Mexico City, Carolina has lived in five different countries, experiences she defines as the most enriching. She has focused her studies and work on international conflicts and international security issues, diplomacy and protocol. Carolina holds two MA degrees and hopes to begin her PhD studies soon.