Sunday, 30 December 2012

Chile: Ex-army officers charged with Jara's death

Almost 40 years after his death shortly after the 1973 coup, Chilean singer Victor Jara could finally receive justice.

A judge has ordered the arrest of eight former army officers in connection with the murder, in which Jara was shot 44 times. One of the accused, Pedro Barrientos Nunez, lives in the US and is now likely to face extradition proceedings.

Jara's case is emblematic in Chile and will give hope to other families still seeking redress for their loved ones.

Chile: Ex-army officers implicated in Victor Jara death (BBC)
Eight Are Charged With Chilean Singer’s 1973 Murder After Military Coup (NY Times)
Abogado querellante en caso Víctor Jara asegura que todo lo logrado en la investigación "ha sido obra de los jueces" (La Tercera)

News round-up: While I was off holidaying

Life sentence for Argentine civilian minister who worked with the military dictatorship (Mercopress)
Timerman meets with Jewish community to report on talks with Iran (Mercopress)
A Year of Progress in Argentina’s Human Rights Trials (IPS)
Surprise Visits to Prisons in Argentina to Prevent Torture (IPS)

"If I may be very frank and rather rude, you had to keep the ball in the air with the Argentines. That was the object. We did not have any cards in our hands."
Britain's approach on the Falklands: neglect and hope for the best (Guardian)
Falklands invasion 'surprised' Thatcher (BBC)

Indigenous Chileans Still Fighting Pinochet-Era Highway Project (IPS)
Chile journalist denounces military rule research theft (BBC)
Thieves steal laptop of Chilean journalist investigating secret services during Pinochet dictatorship (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas)
More cases come to light of journalists intimidated for investigating the military dictatorship in Chile (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas)

Peru Puts Shining Path Leader on Trial (The Pan-American Post)

Saturday, 15 December 2012

News round-up

The head of the Argentine-Jewish Community Centre (AMIA), Guillermo Borger, warned the government of President Cristina Fernandez that the organization’s members are concerned by the lack of information regarding ongoing negotiations with Iran over the 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA headquarters, which killed 85 people.
Jewish community protests for being kept on the dark on Argentina/Iran negotiations (Mercopress)

A US court has sentenced General Mauricio Santoyo, who was President Alvaro Uribe's security chief, to 13 years in jail for links with paramilitaries.
Colombia general sentenced in US for paramilitary links (BBC)
Colombia will be removed from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights “blacklist” next year, but “the fact that a country report is being drawn up, rather than a country being included or not in Chapter IV, does not imply an improvement in human rights,” IACHR commissioner Felipe González said.
Off the Blacklist Doesn’t Imply Improvement in Human Rights in Colombia (IPS)
On Colombian refugees in Ecuador:
Cocaine's Forgotten Victims (COHA)

El Salvador 
On the 31st anniversary of the El Mozote massacre, the Inter-American Court for Human Rights ruled against El Salvador and ruled that the country's amnesty law, enacted after the close of the civil war, should not impede investigations of the responsible parties.
International court condemns El Salvador for El Mozote Massacre (Tim's El Salvador Blog)
El Salvador: Court Orders Investigation of 1981 Massacre (NY Times)


Peru: 28th anniversary of Putis massacre

 13 December marks the anniversary of one of the most notorious massacres in the Peruvian conflict, that of Putis.

The blog Genocidio Ayacucho has republished a comment piece by Nolberto Lamilla (who is, I believe, the former regional coordinator of the NGO Paz y Esperanza). It includes this reminder of the events of 1984 (my translation):

On the third day spent by the campesinos in Putis, the military and heads of the military base turned up at five in the morning, woke all the people and met them in the school yard to propose building a fish farm to alleviate the lack of food. They separated the women and children and ordered the men to start digging the pit.
At ten o'clock, when they had managed to dig a metre deep, the military surrounded the men and proceeded to shoot them point-blank. In the meantime, another group of soldiers raped the women and then murdered them. Finally, having killed both children and adults, they piled the bodies in the pit and covered them with earth and stones. The next day, the soldiers burned and buried the clothing and belongings, to leave no evidence of the slaughter.
Newspaper La Primera has published a number of photos of the area and the survivors, including the image of the cemetery at the top of this post. 

Meanwhile, La Republica reports that families of the victims were once again in Lima to call on the government for further aid. Aurelio Condoray Curo said that the reparation of 10,000 soles was risible and also noted that the area did not have adequate educational and medical facilities.

Reclaman al gobierno que inclusión social no llega a la población de Putis (La Republica)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Argentina: ESMA witness commits suicide

This is very sad. Rodolfo Picheni, who survived torture in the ESMA, committed suicide yesterday. He had already testified in the megatrial which began last week.

Picheni - a union delegate - was abducted on 16 December, 1976, and taken to the ESMA. He recounted that there, he was beaten on several occasions for moving his hood in order to see, tortured with electricity, subjected to a mock execution, and witnessed a fellow prisoner beaten to death. He was freed in January 1977 but lived in fear for the rest of the dictatorship as he continued to receive menacing phone calls.

Of course, it is not for me to say exactly why Picheni killed himself or why now, but it's surely a reminder that some wounds run very deep.

ESMA: se suicidó uno de los testigos (Tiempo Argentino via Espacio Memoria)

Argentina: ESMA megatrial begins

The next massive trial of alleged human rights abusers began recently in Argentina. The trial - which is expected to last two years - is the first to focus on the death flights and encompasses a huge 789 victims. There are so many people involved that journalists have to watch the trial by videolink. Make no mistake, this is a big event, both in scale and significance. However, the very length of the trial means that it won't sustain the same level of attention throughout. The usual dedicated human rights groups will be following the entire thing, of course.

The opening of the trial received broad international coverage. British daily The Independent provides background for readers, introducing names familar to regular visitors of this blog, such as Alfredo Astiz and Jorge Acosta. It also quotes one pilot, Emir Sisul Hess, who reportedly told relatives how sleeping victims "fell like little ants" from the aircraft.

Victims of 'death flights': Drugged, dumped by aircraft – but not forgotten (Independent)

IPS notes that among the defendants, five are on the run. It reports that human rights activist Mario Villani has welcomed the start of the trial while stressing that “the struggle will continue as long as there are regimes in the world that need to use torture to maintain control.”

Argentina’s Biggest Human Rights Trial Begins (IPS)

The BBC notes that human rights lawyer Rodolfo Yanzon told the Associated Press: "This was, is and will be the largest trial of crimes against humanity."

Largest trial of 'Dirty War' crimes starts in Argentina (BBC)

German weekly Die Zeit also reports on the start of the trial:

Massenprozess gegen Mitglieder der argentinischen Militärjunta (Die Zeit)

Naturally, the megacausa has received blanket coverage within Argentina. La Nación, for example, focused on the defendants in this article about the opening of the trial:

Comenzó el tercer juicio por los crímenes en la ESMA (La Nación)

 Elsewhere, Spanish daily El País picks up on the urgency of trying the defendants now, because both they and the surviving relatives and victims are now so old; many have already died. The paper also talks to Ana Maria Careaga, who having been detained and tortured at the tender age of 16 is still only in her early '50s and well able to keep on fighting.

"Se están muriendo los sobrevivientes, los familiares de las víctimas, los represores" (El País)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Argentina: Stories of found grandchildren

TV Pública de Argentina has produced a series of mini-documentaries of the stories of the disappeared grandchildren found by the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, and they're available on Youtube. These are a really great way of hearing from the (adult) children themselves - in Spanish only, of course. There are lots, but here are just a few:

This is Guillermo Rodolfo Fernando Pérez Roisinblit, grandson of the Abuelas' vice-president Rosa Roisinblit.

This is Victoria Montenegro, who I wrote about here.

This is Victoria Donda, now a congresswoman and probably the best-known found grandchild.

There are clips of the Grandmothers as well; just search on Youtube for "Nietos, historias con identidad".

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Image of the day: Carlin on Fujimori

La Republica's caricaturist Carlin gives his inimitable take on the latest development in the Fujimori case: Fujimori's request, which has been refused, to give an interview to the media (his supporters argued, incidentally, that it would be only fair, since Elena Iparraguirre got to give an interview to The Economist - but it was pretty clear when that article was published that it was not an officially-sanctioned, full-length interview at all).

"The only thing that can help the patient is giving lots of interviews and not going to any trial. That's my strictly medical opinion."

News round-up

I wrote about the Blaquier/Ledesma case some time ago; now here's a story in English.
Argentine magnate Blaquier charged over disappearances (BBC)

The granddaughter of Salvador Allende last month won a mayoral election by a tiny number of votes; now the result has been reversed following a re-count. The Guardian comments, "The vitriol and hatred of the comments [of the opposing sides] leave little doubt that, even after 40 years, the wounds of the Pinochet and Allende years remain painful and have yet to heal".
Chilean electoral tribunal overturns Fernández Allende's mayoral victory (Guardian)

Tanja Nijmeijer, the only known foreign FARC guerrilla from outside Latin America, is involved in the peace talks. You hear little about her compared to Lori Berenson in Peru, but she's obviously of interest to the media.
Dutch fighter in Colombia peace talks role (AP)

El Salvador
The blog of the National Security Archives turns to El Salvador for its regular series highlighting particular historical documents.
Document Friday: El Salvador’s Debate on Amnesty and Historical Memory (Unredacted)
New developments in the case of one of the most notorious war crimes committed by the Salvadoran security forces during the twelve year long civil war: the massacre on the campus of the José Simeón Cañas University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador on November 16, 1989.
Holding Salvadoran War Criminals Accountable: The Massacre at University of Central America, San Salvador, 1989 (COHA)

In September, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) found Guatemala guilty for the Rio Negro Massacres.
IACHR Guatemala Guilty for Rio Negro Massacres (Central American Politics)
Americas Quarterly classifies assassinated Guatemalan Bishop Juan José Gerardi as a leader of social and political change.
Monsignor Juan José Gerardi: A Martyr for Truth (Americas Quarterly)

Alma Guillermoprieto is an outstanding writer and this article on the dangers of being a journalist in Mexico contains a lot of detail that those of us in the English-speaking world don't think about often.
Mexico: Risking Life for Truth (The New York Review of Books)

Fujimori isn't allowed to give an interview.
Prison Authorities Reject Fujimori’s Request for Radio Interview (Peruvian Times)
Photos of a mural project in La Oroya by Arte por la memoria.
Mural en La Oroya: por la vida y los derechos humanos. (Museo Itinerante Arte por la memoria)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Chile: Patricio Guzmán on memory and documentary cinema

Here is an interview with renowned Chilean documentary filmmaker, Patricio Guzmán, discussing the role of documentary cinema, the difficulty of distributing Latin American film, and memory-related issues.

(h/t Memoriando)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Brazil: Truth commission round-up

This week it was reported that Brazil's Truth Commission will look into the role of the church in the dictatorship.
"The activities of the clergy who opposed the dictatorship as well as the actions of religious groups that backed the regime will be analyzed," said commission member Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who will head the investigation.
Seems like a no-brainer to me, although I'm sure there are those who would disagree.

Brazil's Truth Commission to investigate church (AP)
Churches Under Truth Commission Investigation (Transitional Justice in Brazil)

Meanwhile, the TC is coming in for criticism from various quarters.

Writing for the Christian Science Monitor, WOLA's Joe Bateman argues that while Brazil may be approaching a "tipping point" of accountability, it is too early to say it has left impunity behind.

Brazil’s Truth Commission Under Fire from Military and Torture Victims (The World)
Brazil laying down the law (Christian Science Monitor)
In the News... (Transition Justice in Brazil)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Image of the Day: Fujimori's cell

There is much discussion in the Peruvian media about the conditions in which Alberto Fujimori is confined. It seems clear that he is not just in a normal prison cell. His son, Kenji, has dismissed reports of luxury. However, photos have been published in newspaper Diario16 and in La Republica apparently showing large living quarters full of personal belongings - including a hospital-style adjustable bed, television, bookshelves full of books, kitchen equipment, and so on.

Perhaps most intriguingly, Diario16 explains that the gadget which can be seen attached to the toilet is actually a seat heater. So, there's really only one choice for image of the day, and here it is - Fujimori's bathroom:

See more here or here.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Image of the day: Trials in Argentina

 The trials are now: your presence counts

15 oral, public trials in progress in different places in the country
3 debates governed by the old penal code with written proceedings
300 cases being processed, in the instruction stage or waiting to be sent for oral trial
923 people charged in various cases
332 people convicted

News round-up

Argentine reporter claims he was threatened by ex-military officer on trial for torture (Journalism in the Americas)
Rodolfo Walsh and the language of denunciation (PEN International)
La Escuelita II: trece represores condenados y ocho absueltos (Pagina/12)

El Salvador
Unhealed wounds on the Day of the Dead (Tim's El Salvador Blog)

Panama/El Salvador
Ermordeten Erzbischof Romero gewürdigt (Blickpunkt Lateinamerika)
Monseñor Romero, un 'mártir latinoamericano', ya tiene un monumento en Panamá (Univision)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Peru: Ambassador resigns in Movadef fallout

The story of Movadef's activities in Argentina moves on. Peruvian media had also reported that the Peruvian ambassador in Argentina, Nicolás Lynch, had met with representatives of the pro-Sendero group back in January. Now Lynch has stepped down as a result of the scandal which has blown up; however, he denies sympathising with Movadef.

Coverage on this is still overwhelmingly Peruvian, but the first stories have appeared in Argentine media as well.

Nicolás Lynch afirmó que ‘se va con la frente en alto’ de embajada en Argentina (El Comercio)
Here is Lynch's letter of resignation (in PDF)
Renunció el embajador de Perú en la Argentina (La Nacion)

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Paraguay: Protests over Stroessner's remains

Today is the centenary of the birth of Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay between 1984 and 1989. He died in 2006 in Brazil and is buried there. Now his family wants to repatriate his remains so that, in the words of his grandson, also called Alfredo and a senator, "soon the whole Stroessner family will be together in Paraguay".

The plan has triggered protests from victims and human rights movements.

The family originally wanted the repatriation to coincide with the anniversary, that obviously hasn't happenend, and it's unclear exactly when or if it will go ahead.

Row over Paraguay dictator Alfredo Stroessner's remains (BBC)
Ex presos políticos paraguayos repudian repatriación de restos de exdictador (AFP)

Argentina/Peru: Movadef meets Madres

This is a rather odd intersection of two of this blog's main interests. I was surprised to see news stories appearing about how Movadef, the pro-Shining Path movement which supports an amnesty for senderista prisoners, had met with representatives of the Argentine Madres de Plaza de Mayo and with Nobel Peace Prize winner, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.

The Peruvian government and media have both responded angrily to the meeting, as it lends legitimacy to a group allied to terrorism. I haven't been able to find coverage in the Argentine press or statements from the human rights group itself, so I'm not clear how much this meeting was planned in advance and was its exact purpose was. Peruvian prosecutor Julio Galindo suggests that Movadef essentially just showed up and surprised the Argentines, but he doesn't seem to know this for certain. It would, however, not be the first time that the Madres' connections have caused controversy.

Pérez Esquivel's website now contains a statement explaining that he listened to Movadef "as he has many other organizations from the continent and the world" and pointing out that "listening does not equal support". This is true, of course. I assume that for Movadef, however, there was an interest in contact with a highly respected individual, and a group, from the human rights scene and that they are pleased with the resulting publicity (which, you could argue, I am now contributing to as well). Now they are a group active on an international scale! Overall, I don't think this is a massive deal, but it will be interesting to see how they try to capitalise on the publicity and it's also a good illustration of how people try to get close to the Madres for their own purposes.

Movadef en Argentina: Premio Nobel de la Paz y Madres de Plaza de Mayo recibieron a prosenderistas (El Comercio)
Peru reminds Argentina Shinning [sic] Path terrorists are an illegal group (Mercopress)
Gobierno rechaza actividades del Movadef en Argentina (Peru21)
El Movadef sorprendió a Madres de la Plaza de Mayo y a premio Nobel de La Paz, afirmó procurador (El Comercio)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Argentina: Mi Vida Despues

I was just writing about Proyecto 1980/2000 and I read that one of its inspirations was the work of Argentine playwright Lolas Arias. I'd never heard of her - no doubt a gross oversight on my part - but here is a clip of Mi Vida Despues in which the young characters discuss their parents and their involvement in the dictatorship (with English subtitles).

Peru: Proyecto 1980/2000

Proyecto 1980/2000 is a theatre project dealing with the period of Peru's internal conflict. Directed by Sebastián Rubio and Claudia Tangoa, the piece uses various media including photos, video and music to discuss the era.

It tells the stories of five people growing up during this time: Sebastián Kouri, the son of Alberto Kouri (a former congressman implicated in the "Vladivideos" scandal); Manolo Jaime, the son of Matilde Pinchi (also connected to Vladimiro Montesinos); Carolina Huamán Oyague, the cousin of a victim of the massacre of La Cantuta; Amanda Hume, the daughter of the journalist Gilberto Hume and Lettor Acosta, the son of a military man who participated in the "dirty war" which took place in the interior of the country.

According to Rubio, "Proyecto 1980/2000 tries to form a bridge between the spectator and a history in which the country is fragmented, polarized by the (internal) conflict and corruption".

La Republica writes that the piece brings together different points of view on the internal conflict and the Fujimori era, making it an exercise of memory for people who are too young to actually, personally, remember some of it. It sounds fascinating and it's certainly unusual to unite the divergent viewpoints in this way.

De 1980 al 2000: un catártico paseo por la historia del Perú (La Republica)
Voces de la memoria: Proyecto 1980/2000. El tiempo que heredé (El teatro sabe, La mula)

See also the Facebook page and this Youtube video for more:

Thanks to José Ragas for drawing my attention to this.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Chile: Municipal elections

Chile held municipal elections on Sunday, notable for the fact that this was the first poll since compulsory voting was scrapped. Previously, registering on the electoral role was optional but once registered, you had to vote. Turnout this time was low, at around 40%. This is not a great result but after all, local elections in Europe often get very low interest as well. Still, it's something Chile will want to work on changing.

President Sebastian Pinera said,
"Many Chileans decided not to exercise their right nor their duty to participate in these elections. That is a warning sign that will not and should not go unnoticed." 
 I've mentioned before the issue of disappeared people appearing on the electoral role. In addition, Salvador Allende's granddaughter Maya Fernández Allende defeated the incumbent mayor, Pedro Sabat of the centre-right National Renovation party, in the Santiago district of Nuñoa

Chile local polls see low turnout with voting voluntary (BBC)
The Day After (Robert L. Funk)
Salvador Allende's granddaughter in Chile election win (Guardian)

Saturday, 27 October 2012


Brazilian Military Official To be Tried for Abuses Despite Amnesty Law (The Pan-American Post)
Indigenen-Genozid während der Diktatur (Blickpunkt Lateinamerika)
Brazil comes to terms with its slave trading past (Guardian)

"The Chilean state is saying that my father can go and vote," said Lorena Pizarro, Waldo's daughter.
"And I'm asking in reply, 'Where is my father?'"
Chile's not the only country with this issue.
Chile's military rule 'disappeared' on electoral roll (BBC)

"He lives in relative comfort in a suite of rooms at a police special forces base on Lima's eastern edge where guests come and go at his pleasure."
Photos boost Fujimori pardon campaign (AP)
Pasado que no pasa: Memoria Asháninka / Imágenes y Testimonios (Peru foto)
Fujimori Painting Raises Eyebrows, Irks Critics (Peruvian Times)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Argentina: Clarin heirs test negative

It's been a while, but time was I covered the Herrera Noble case rather extensively.

If this doesn't ring any immediate bells, very briefly: Ernestina Herrera de Noble is the director of Clarin, Argentina's largest-circulation newspaper. She has two adopted children, who are now in their '30s. The circumstances of their adoption were irregular and this led to suspicion that they might be children of the disappeared. The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo have for many years now been using legal means to attempt to prove this; and the Noble children have been resisting with every means at their disposal.

Now, results are finally out: Marcela and Felipe have tested negative against all samples in the genetic database.

As the Grandmothers point out, their samples will now stay there and can be tested against families who may or may not come forward in the future. The Grandmothers say their quest for answers goes on. But for all practical purposes, it seems like we've come to the end of the road. If the two are children of the disappeared, the truth will probably never be known.

In light of this, further unsurprising things: Clarin reported that Felipe and Marcela were "not children of the disappeared", without qualifications, and Ernestina Herrera de Noble wants the charges against her, of kidnapping, to be dropped.

Argentina media magnate wants child kidnap case dropped (Perth Now)
Noble Herrera: confirman que no son hijos de desaparecidos (Clarin)
Herrera de Noble pide ser sobreseída (La Nacion)

Peru: Social media and imagery in Fujimori pardon debate

The current discussion surrounding the possible pardon for Alberto Fujimori in Peru is an interesting illustration of the role of social media in memory debates. Just a few years ago, we wouldn't have known what a "hashtag" had to do with the former president of Peru, but a couple of weeks ago, Peruvians responded to the news with #noalindulto and #indultoesinsulto.

From Fujimori's side, a photo was released showing the prisoner in bed. This was intended to bolster the argument that he should be released on compassionate grounds as he is suffering from terminal cancer:

The Peruvian web exploded in derision, with a whole series of spoofs and responses to the image. Here are just a couple:

 But the story takes another turn when another image was released; this time apparently a self-portrait by the man himself. El Comercio is now reporting that fujimorista politician and doctor Alejandro Aguinaga has confirmed that it is genuine:

The writing reads "Forgive me for what I did not manage to do and what I couldn't help". Unsurprisingly by now, many similar images have popped up, united on Twitter by the hashtag #fujisorry

Plus, here's Carlin's take from La Republica:

My take: I don't see that the photo proves anything one way or another. It is just another indication of the way in which photography is used as "evidence" and to uphold sometimes contradictory points of view. He doesn't look extremely ill to me, but that's not to say he isn't and, for what it's worth, not everyone with cancer has chemotherapy. To be honest, I don't much care - my opinion is that he should stay in jail in either case. The painting is just bizarre and I have no idea what it is supposed to achieve, but I think it's fair to say it won't help his case much. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Argentina: Beloved Elderly Women No More

The ins and outs of the Argentine human rights scene are not much discussed in English, where if the Madres (and Abuelas, Hij@s, and so on) are seen uncritically as heroes, if they are known at all. In Argentina, they can divide opinion. In this blog, I have expressed a great deal of respect for their work, and I make absolutely no apology for doing so. But humans being humans, it's all a bit more complicated than that, as I discussed some time ago and as explained in a recent article from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.
For decades, the Argentine human rights group, Madres de Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo), has been respected for its work bearing witness to the thousands of disappearances during the Dirty War (1976-1983). In recent years the Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo, a faction of the original group led by Hebe de Bonafini, has sparked significant controversy because of her divisive comments on topics ranging from September 11 to anti-Semitism. Most significantly, the recent embezzlement scandal involving the organization’s housing program as well as Bonafini’s possible involvement in illegal activities threatens to destroy the reputation of the group and harm its political allies.
Read the whole thing here:
Beloved Elderly Women No More (COHA)

Book review: The Islands by Carlos Gamerro

The Islands, Carlos Gamerro, trans by Ian Barnett in collaboration with the author (2012, And Other Stories, the original, Las islas, published 1998)

This week I read the most extraordinary novel I've come across this year: Carlos Gamerro's The Islands. It's not new, but it is new in English translation, for which it was specially revised. And a tip of the hat to the translator, Ian Barnett, right from the start: the language is amazing, versatile, springy. I haven't read the original so I can't directly compare the two, but to judge from the wordplay that made it into the English version, it must have been a fantastic challenge.

The Islands of the title are the Falklands/Malvinas, and straightaway we see where this book fits into this blog. The protagonist, Felipe Felix, is a veteran haunted by his memories of the conflict. A computer whizz, he is contracted by a megalomaniac businessman to track down the witnesses to a crime, and so starts a delirious romp through Buenos Aires of 1992, with frequent diversions into 1982.

A word of warning: this novel is not for the faint-hearted. It's not realist. It's not tasteful. You name it - sex, drugs, violence, incest, anti-Semitism, torture - it's in here. It was an unusual read for me, and to be honest after I'd read the first chapter I wasn't sure I wanted to go on. But the book drew me in, weaving the story of the legacy of the hopeless war the generals cooked up to bolster their flagging regime.
The farce was over. At that moment a giant hand descended from the sky and lifting up one corner, like someone getting ready to pull off a plaster, it tore off the skin of the city to reveal the desolate heath beneath, the windswept pastures, the streams of stone, the rocks and mud and bogs of the Islands.

Gamerro strips the surface from Buenos Aires and every character in the novel, to reveal their connection to Argentina's traumatic past. Inevitably, this includes a victim of torture (and, if you think the part about her being forced to marry her torturer is just one of the author's flights of fancy, there is at least one documented case of this actually happening*).

If anyone else has read or reads this, I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on it. I suspect this isn't the kind of book to attract mild reactions. For me, I finished it two days ago and it hasn't let me go yet.

*See Marguerite Feitlowitz, A Lexicon of Terror, p. 78.


Other stuff I've been reading since I got back from my trip:

Robert Funk on funas and the paradox of tolerance, here and here.

Colombia militia boss 'Martin Llanos' confesses murders (BBC)
Q&A: Colombia peace talks (BBC)
Colombia apology for devastation in Amazon rubber boom (BBC)

Haiti/Dominican Republic
The massacre that marked Haiti-Dominican Republic ties (BBC)

Two Peru policemen killed in rebel ambush (BBC)
Business Leaders Urge Peru to Boost Security After Shining Path Attack (Peruvian Times)
Journalist working for human rights commission in Peru is threatened and extorted (Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas)
Rural Women in Peru Cope “Where Life Is Very Sad” (IPS)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Image of the day: No to pardon of Fujimori

Opponents to a pardon for Alberto Fujimori will gather on Friday.

Argentina and Iran talk about AMIA

Argentine president Cristina Fernandez announced at the UN plans to open bilateral talks with Iran over the terrorist attacks that took place in Buenos Aires (on the Israeli embassy in 1992 and on the AMIA Jewish community centre in 1994).

Argentine foreign minister Hector Timerman and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akhar Salehi met in New York and there are plans for continued meeting in Geneva over the next month. Fernandez said she "expects results", although it is not completely clear what these might be. The stated aim, according to the two countries, is "to explore a legal mechanism that does not go against the systems of either Argentina or Iran."

Israel and the US have both expressed disapproval of the talks.  This is not surprising since the US wants to isolate Iran. However, no matter how repellent the Ahmadinejad regime may be, I don't see how any progress can ever be made without engaging in dialogue with Iran.

Argentina and Iran to discuss bombings in Buenos Aires in the nineties (Mercopress)
Argentina and Iran begin talks on the bombings of 1992, 1994; next round Geneva (Mercopress)
Argentina, Iran say to talk until 1990s bombings resolved (Reuters)
Con un “mecanismo legal” como objetivo (Pagina/12)
Meeting of Argentina and Iran ministers rankles Israel, U.S. (JTA)

Peru: Other news

The big news in Peru is the possible pardon for Fujimori, but there's been related news stories as well:

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has criticised the ruling by Javiar Villa Stein, in July, reducing the sentences of the Colina group and possibly paving the way for Fujimori's early release (kind of academic if he's going to be let out anyway, but still, he's not the only human rights abuser in jail).
Americas court tells Peru to scrap rule that could help Fujimori (Reuters)
Inter-American Court Calls on Peru To Annul Grupo Colina Ruling (Peruvian Times)

Also, Fujimori could have his paintings sold off to pay reparations he owes to the Peruvian State:
Alberto Fujimori Paintings To Be Confiscated To Pay Debt To Peru (Latin American News Dispatch)

Finally, tributes have been paid to Spanish-born human rights activist Pilar Coll, who died a few weeks ago aged 83. I'm ashamed to say I had not heard of her before her passing, and there's not too much about her in English, but she seems to have been an absolutely sincere and dedicated person.
Falleció Pilar Coll a los 83 años (La Republica)
Remembering Pilar Coll (WOLA)

Peru: Pardon for Fujimori?

The issue of a possible pardon for Alberto Fujimori on humanitarian grounds has been swirling around for ages but really seems to have come to a head in the past week. Otto stuck his neck out last Friday and predicted that it would happen, and unfortunately there's not much reason to disbelieve him so far.

Fujimori apparently has cancerous lesions on his tongue - he's had them for years and been operated on several times, they don't seem to be able to completely get rid of them. Now, while this does not sound pleasant, it hardly puts him at death's door either. Apparently he does not need radiotherapy or chemotherapy. So, given the severity of his crimes and the short prison term he has served so far, do I think he should be allowed out now? Er, hell no. "Indulto es insulto" - A pardon is an insult [to the victims] has been a trending topic on Twitter lately, and it's very true.

Fujimori’s Family To File a Request for Presidential Pardon (Peruvian Times)
Fujimori’s Pardon Request to be Filed After Summit (Peruvian Times)
Alberto Fujimori pedirá indulto por razones humanitarias (Correo)
Peru: Politicians react to possible Fujimori pardon (Peru this Week)
Fujimori's Family to Seek Pardon (Wall Street Journal)

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Brazil: Truth commission only to investigate military crimes

News that the Brazilian truth commission will focus only on military crimes from the dictatorship-era, and not guerrilla crimes, has sparked a lively debate this week. I have little to add to Colin Snider's argument in Americas North and South. For more, see in particular:

Thoughts on Brazil’s Truth Commission and the Investigation of State Crimes Only (Americas North and South)
More Thoughts on False Equivalency and Brazil’s Truth Commission (Americas North and South)
Brazil Truth Commission (Two Weeks Notice)
Brazil probes crimes of the military junta (Central American Politics)

Peru: Life after the GEIN

Caretas magazine runs another "Where are they now?" article on the team from the GEIN that caught Shining Path supremo Abimael Guzmán.

One interesting point is that the majority of them were fairly young, as 70% of them are still working 20 years on. Another is that, as I've mentioned before, they did not receive much gratitude or recompense for their achievement. In fact, many of them are still working a second job, presumably to make ends meet. This, despite the fact that their intelligence operation took down Peru's most-wanted fugitive ever and contributed massively to the collapse of Sendero.

José Luis Olano, Dennys Cotera and Carlos Iglesias went through the rubbish in the Lima district of Surquillo and came across the medication that Guzmán used for his psoriasis. Olano now works for the police in Huancavelica, Cotera works for the Dircote (ie he is still in police intelligence) but in administrative tasks, and Iglesias works in the Miraflores district of Lima. On his days off from the police, he works as a security guard.

The GEIN members were essentially victims of Vladimiro Montesinos and his desire to promote the intelligence agency he himself led, the SIN. It's a shame that this situation has never been rectified.

La Vida Después del GEIN (Caretas)

Peru: Photo of the day

Here's a picture of Abimael Guzmán on 13 September 1992, the day after his capure, alongside partner Elena Iparraguirre and Alférez Olano of the GEIN. The standard picture of the arrest of Guzmán is the much better known one of him, caged, in the stripy suit in which he was paraded to the press. This looks more like a souvenir snapshot and features a comparatively smart "Presidente Gonzalo" and a bizarrely cheerful-looking second-in-command. Caretas describes Iparraguirre as "euphoric", while Guzmán looks stoical and both are doing their obligatory, fisted salute for the camera. 

See more here.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Philip Gourevitch on memory

Thanks to Lauren for sending me the link to this interview with Boston Review ran with Philip Gourevitch, author of the book on the Rwandan genocide, We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families

Telling Stories About the Stories We Tell (Boston Review)

Although it's not strictly about the Latin American context, Gourevitch has some interesting thoughts on collective memory:
There’s a kind of fetishization of memory in our culture. Some of it comes from the experience and the memorial culture of the Holocaust—the injunction to remember. And it also comes from the strange collision of Freud and human rights thinking—the belief that anything that is not exposed and addressed and dealt with is festering and going to come back to destroy you. This is obviously not true. Memory is not such a cure-all. On the contrary, many of the great political crimes of recent history were committed in large part in the name of memory. The difference between memory and grudge is not always clean. Memories can hold you back, they can be a terrible burden, even an illness. Yes, memory—hallowed memory—can be a kind of disease. That’s one of the reasons that in every culture we have memorial structures and memorial days, whether for personal grief or for collective historical traumas. Because you need to get on with life the rest of the time and not feel the past too badly. I’m not talking about letting memory go. The thing is to contain memory, and then, on those days, or in those places, you can turn on the tap and really touch and feel it. The idea is not oblivion or even denial of memory. It’s about not poisoning ourselves with memory.

So one of the things I’m interested in is how a measure of forgetting can also be helpful—societally or politically—in getting from a state of violent destruction to one of habitable coexistence. I’m not talking about reconciliation, whatever exactly that is. I mean a condition where you’ve reckoned with the demons adequately to hold them enough at bay that you can have security and act for the future instead of simply reacting to the past.
 I think he's probably right, the mourning and remembering can't become all-consuming and go on forever. The problem comes when countries try to leap ahead and brush their traumatic past under the carpet, accusing opponents of this policy of bitterness and revenge, when the work has not even been done. And, on a practical level, how this fits in with justice for victims and prosecution of rights abusers. I'm not sure that most countries, on a societal level, are in danger of remembering too much, although some sections of society may be, but certainly, there needs to be a degree of selection and compartmentalisation. We need to make up stories to live with our idea of the past, and the tensions involved in doing this is one of the things that interests me here. 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Peru: CVR's Salomón Lerner interviewed by Caretas

Caretas magazine has run an interview with the former president of Peru's truth commission, Salomón Lerner Febres. It's looooong, but it seemed to me worth translating, so here we go - I've put some care into this but as I say, it is very extensive, so please excuse any errors. It also assumes a lot of background knowledge which the magazine's Peruvian readers can be expected to have; if anything is particularly unclear, feel free to ask in the comments and I'll do my best to explain.

Here is the original:

Lerner Febres Contraataca (Caretas)

The former president of the truth commission (CVR) responds to the new offensive against the final report published nine years ago.

The death of Comrade "William" sparked a new offensive against the Final Report of the CVR, which has just celebrated its ninth anniversary. In the end, the critics were wrong, but the barrage was accompanied by successive headlines in the newspaper “El Comercio” and reached a high point on the Sunday front page, which claims that the former commissioners had acknowledged "errors" .

Salomón Lerner Febres, former president of the CVR and rector emeritus of the Catholic University (PUCP), defended the document as "a solid starting point for reflection. What a nerve some people have to say that we spoke as the ultimate authority and we said that it is the truth that cannot be moved!".

Surrounded by Ayacuchan retablos in his office, he talks in his usual leisurely tone, but with almost unprecedented frankness.

-[Former commissioner] Sofia Macher said on Canal N that it was a mistake for the Commission not to invite members of the armed forces to the public hearings. What do you think?
-Sofia Macher should think more before she speaks. We did not call on the actors of war to testify, but on those who were victims. And they included relatives of police and military who suffered. There was even a police officer who had ended up blind. So what she says is not true. Annex 5 of the Report is the ratio of fatalities of the Armed Forces. The fact that among the former commissioners there is also a lack of memory is alarming.

- Did they walk into a trap?
-Yes. Enrique Bernales should not have given statements to El Comercio that, given the circumstances, were going to be distorted. I was called by phone and refused to talk to them because they are reporting in such a biased way. That very day, without knowing whether it was true, they ran the headline that we had been wrong in the case of "William". That morning I was called by Peru.21, which is the same group, I gave them a 15 minute interview, and the next day the only thing that appears is in a photo caption that reads "curious statement from Lerner saying that the terrorism had been brainwashed”. And yesterday El Comercio was casting doubt because I don’t make a statement. It's really despicable what they have done. It smells bad.

- Why do you think the articles in El Comercio coincided with the fujimorista attempt to revise the CVR?
- It's not a newspaper. It’s the El Comercio group. It's a deliberate issue and the million-dollar question is why that is. You know what's funny? That in this country, where committees are formed each week and committee reports last as long as the mood of the people, we have marked the ninth year since the presentation of the report, 11 years since the Commission began work, and are still talking about it. That is something for the psychoanalysts. The main people keeping awareness on the report are those trying to discredit it because they do not have a clear conscience, they have skeletons in their closets. It's there, like a pebble in the shoe. I think it will eventually become clear that history will take a negative view of people who wanted to become part of the country’s history in a positive light.

Three years ago you pointed out in an article in CARETAS that Hugo Guerra, former editor of El Comercio, had acknowledged to the CVR the errors of the paper in its editorial line over issues like the anti-terrorism legislation with which Fujimori justified the self-coup .
-Right. But in a recent column, he has shown himself to be absolutely opposed to the CVR that he once praised. I think that besides the personal stories, there are corporate designs and in some media, certain issues cannot be addressed or are addressed in some way in which the journalist is just a simple worker who can be fired. I wonder why there were changes at Perú.21 affecting the orientation and direction.

- Why did Augusto Alvarez have an agenda which was favourable to human rights?
-And that was something that a newspaper like El Comercio could not be allowed. On the other hand, there are personal stories. I understood that Hugo Guerra was a political adviser to admiral Luis Giampietri, and being a very polite and friendly person, he cannot fail to express an attitude of not understanding that an institution reaches the highest levels of excellence when it recognizes its mistakes and purges its bad elements.

-Former commissioner Luis Arias Graziani also criticized the commission this week.
-He demonstrates very poor memory.

- But did he not sign the report with reservations?
-What the general did not endorse was that there had been systematic violations by the armed forces, and he also objected to reparations. Otherwise, we worked shoulder to shoulder. What he does not remember is the letter he sent to me on 27 August 2003, in which he recognizes that the CVR fulfilled "its mission seriously and with commendable dedication." Now there is no mention of the recognition which we gave to the armed forces because they defended us, of the homage which we paid to the heroes.

- Does the criticism really hide the responsibility of fujimorismo?
- I think so. And the APRA regime is like its little brother. I think [Alan] García does not like the Yuyanapaq exhibition in which he appears looking at the corpses in Los Molinos. We recall that he opposed the Place of Memory, which eventually succeeded thanks to Mario Vargas Llosa, and hopefully it will turn out well. But, when they attack the CVR, the fujimoristas do not realize that the argument of the report itself convicted Abimael Guzmán, because he did not kill anyone with his own hands.

- What do you think of the persistence of Sendero Luminoso via movements like Movadef?
-They don’t educate, they don’t inform, they don’t debate. They insult. That's the worst that can happen. They deny the past in such a blunt way that it opens up a niche for the followers of Sendero to position themselves as the victimized, the persecuted.

-The fact is that we have not been able to defeat them as a society.
-The fact is that we did not want to remember. Some people say "we don’t look back", we are growing, we are on the up. This is fujimorismo and all those who believe in a certain political orientation, ways of thinking about government and society: authoritarianism, a strong hand, pragmatism, the value of money, the ends justify the means, the economy has priority, and the big gap between rich and poor doesn’t matter.

-Now there’s a lot of talk about inclusion, the final report is actually a history of exclusion.
-When he was a candidate, president Humala endorsed the report of the CVR. I would remind him that his former vice president Omar Chehade signed a document pledging reparations for victims of terrorism.

-That budget has not been spent.
-Before leaving office, Alan García issued a decree which set very complicated conditions to register victims. These conditions were not changed by the then-minister of justice, who is now prime minister, who knew very well how the CVR worked and who (when interviewed last February in El Comercio) said it gave political status to Sendero Luminoso. [Juan] Jiménez has a poor memory. But each has their own fears and ambitions.

- What do you think of the recent judgment of the Colina Group?
-I think it's a very unreasonable judgment and inconsistent with what has been the position of the judiciary. (Javier) Villa Stein cannot, with some blood on his face, say that there are no crimes against humanity when they kill people because they are suspected terrorists. It is an admission of state terrorism. The prestige won by the Peruvian justice system with Fujimori's sentence has been diminished. More with the debacle of the Interamerican Court. The political contacts and friends of Villa Stein have influenced a biased judgment.

- And what about the government's change of strategy in the Chavín de Huantar case, abandoning the thesis of the “vultures”?

-They're comparing apples and oranges. I think there is ample evidence pointing to action which was different to the commands. A minister like Aurelio Loret de Mola said so, and there are also several testimonies.

-There has been speculation that the cardinal's anger with the authorities of the Catholic university has to do with the CVR.
-If there is a sector that is not in favour of the PUCP it is because they consider it "caviar". The CVR, for those who do not want to look in the mirror, is also "socialist" and progressive. There's a man out there, who does not do honour to the craft of journalism, who has come to say I'm “the king of the caviar”.

- Aldo Mariátegui of the newspaper “Correo”?
-Yes, of whom I do not say I have not had the pleasure, but that happily I do not know him. That man has been criticizing me since the time of the Commission. “Salomón Lerner is even thicker than fat Macher”. It does not surprise me that somehow my role as rector here has been linked to my work in the CVR in which I had to, with pain, point out those institutions and individuals who did not live up to what was expected of them. We said that the Catholic Church did well in parts of the southern Andean country but it was not the same in Ayacucho. There are sins of commission and omission. When you can do something and save lives and do not, you share part of the responsibility. I guess that can influence the stubbornness and malice which is going on behind the university. Sometimes hate can blind us or you want to control an institution to take not only assets but, above all, the prestige and history which is not theirs so that they can celebrate the centenary in five years. Let’s hope not.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The week in Peru

Former candidate for the Peruvian presidency, Lourdes Flores, has criticised proposed legislation dealing with negacionismo, i.e. the denial or playing down of terrorism. In a radio interview, she said she did not think the law would be effective and that it would restrict freedom of expression. If passed, the law could lead to jail sentences for those minimising Peru’s internal conflict and in particular the violent acts committed by the Shining Path. This is the latest in a chorus of voices doubting the wisdom of the legislation.

Two contrasting tendencies can be observed during Peru’s recent commemorative activities. One of them is the attempts by fujimoristas to discredit the country’s truth commission report. One manifestation of this is claims that “Comrade William”, the Shining Path leader recently killed in the VRAEM, featured on a list of missing persons compiled by the CVR. The government counters that this was not the case, and also that “William” was originally incorrectly identified as Rolando Cabezas. But Fujimori supporters will seize on any shred of doubt to undermine the report as it deals extensively with the incidents for which Alberto Fujimori was jailed (Barrios Altos, La Cantuta and the abductions of Samuel Dyer and Gustavo Gorriti). Ex-head of the CVR, Salomon Lerner Febres, has rebuffed the criticism and called demands for the report to be revised “short-sighted”.

“I would ask how many of those asking for the review of the [report] have read the report by the commission?” Lerner Febres said. “No one from the commission pretended to have the absolute truth, we said that from the beginning,” he added. “If one would take the time to read it, it is an open truth, perfectible, where there could be some things that have to be further sharpened, but the broader question is a moral truth.”

By contrast, the 20th anniversary of the capture of Abimael Guzmán seems to have been the focus for a general effort to rehabilitate the members of the GEIN involved in the operation. It has long been generally accepted that instead of heaping rewards on the police intelligence unit following their spectacular arrest, Fujimori quickly split up the team and attempted to brush their role under the carpet. Now, some of the members are to support counter-terrorism activities in the VRAEM.

La Republica has also done a couple of rather nice "Where are they now?" type stories about the members of the GEIN. Of course, the fact that two of them fell in love while staking out Guzmán's house is good for the human interest angle.

¿Qué pasó con los cazadores? (La Republica)
La historia secreta de ‘Ardilla’ y ‘Gaviota’; los primeros agentes del GEIN que capturaron a Abimael (La Republica)

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Colombia: Photo of the Day

The Guardian has a great slideshow of grafitti images in Colombia by Tom Feiling - not surprisingly, a lot of them are to do with the country's violent past/present.

See more here. (Yes, it's Mafalda!)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Peru: Photo of the Day

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the capture of Abimael Guzman, La Republica has published some iconic images of atrocities committed by the Shining Path. Here is one, of an attempt on an army bus in 1989:

See more here:

Los años de la barbarie (La Republica)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Traces of Operation Condor

"The trace of Condor" is the headline of an article by Argentine daily Pagina/12 which deals with the identification of several disappeared persons in Uruguay. The pernicious collaboration between various South American states and the US in human rights abuses known as "Operation Condor" has been in the news again this week.

Argentine forensic anthropologists have identified the remains of a Chilean citizen, Luis Guillermo Vega Ceballos, who was abducted in Buenos Aires in 1976 and whose body later washed up on the coast of Uruguay. He was presumably a victim of the death flights.

Vega Ceballos' wife, Laura Gladis Romero, was also disappeared and was pregnant at the time, making the case of interest to the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. The child, who has not been found, would now be almost 36.

Two Argentines who were also found in Uruguay have also been identified; Horacio Beledo and Roque Montenegro. The latter is the father of found grandchild Victoria Montenegro.

In related news, Argentine prosecutor Miguel Osorio has been visiting Chile in an attempt to step up collaboration between the two countries on human rights abuse investigations. The Santiago Times quotes Osorio as saying,
Crimes against humanity need to be dealt with, even if it means going outside one’s own borders... We have to unite against persecution and impunity.

Argentina torture victim identified as Chilean (AP)
La huella del cóndor (Pagina/12)
Chile, Argentina talk collaboration in human rights investigations (Santiago Times)
Autoridades chilenas y argentinas analizan avances en caso “Operación Cóndor” (Radio U Chile)

Friday, 7 September 2012

Peru in the news

It's approaching the 20th anniversary of the capture of Abimael Guzman AKA Presidente Gonzalo, supreme leader of the Shining Path.

The Economist has spoken to his partner, Elena Iparraguirre, who "remains a dogmatic communist, but [...] accepts that the Shining Path was defeated militarily". The magazine explains the origins of MOVADEF and quotes Iparraguirre as saying that she "does not know" who the Shining Path remnants in the VRAEM are. Other than that, it's not really an interview, despite calling itself that, as we get very little of Iparraguirre's views.

Still smouldering (The Economist)

No word on if Iparraguirre knows him, but Peru has killed another Shining Path rebel, going by the alias Comrade Williams. President Ollanta Humala announced on Wednesday that he had been killed by security forces. Prime minister Juan Jiménez has denied media reports that Williams, whose real name is apparently Rolando Cabezas,was listed among the victims of the internal conflict (this is a point of contention in Peru).

Peru Shining Path rebel Comrade Williams killed (BBC)
Alto mando de Sendero Luminoso murió tras operación de fuerzas combinadas en Vraem (El Comercio)
Cabinet Chief: Killed Shining Path Leader Not On List Of Terrorism Victims (Peruvian Times)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Book review: Hector Abad's Oblivion

Oblivion: A Memoir, by Hector Abad, translated by Anne McLean and Rosalinde Harvey

Hector Abad's Colombian family memoir Oblivion was recommended to me from a couple of different quarters recently, and I'm very glad it was. I want to tell you that this book is both bleak, almost despairing, and uplifting, and you're going to tell me that makes no sense, but honestly - try it.

Abad's father, who had the same name as him, was a doctor, a passionate public health advocate, and a human rights campaigner. It was these last two which brought him unwelcome attention and ultimately led to his murder on 25 August, 1987. 20 years later, his son sets out to tell his father's story and thus stave off the inevitable oblivion which ultimately awaits us all.

We remember our childhood not as a smooth timeline but a series of shocks. Memory is an opaque, cracked mirror; or, rather, memories are like timeless seashells scattered over a beach of oblivion. 
 The book delays the inevitable description of violence, meandering around childhood stories and a privileged youth lived among the upper-middle class of Antioquia. Then it draws in the horror of living in a country at times branded the most violent in the world. The father's death looms ahead, but there is another family tragedy which is almost as shocking and less expected. At times, Abad eulogises his father with exaggerated accounts of his virtues; at others, he highlights the human flaws. When at last the murder comes, the reader knows instantly, just as the children in the family did: "Is it dad? Have they killed him?"

I would like to read this book in the original but I didn't find a copy easy to get hold of, but I was more than satisfied by McLean and Harvey's fluid, Colombian-infused translation. I also expected to like this book - but "like" is not the right word for something so poignant and so gripping. It leaves you, as I said, despairing of the violence people do to each other and at the same time uplifted by the strength of family ties and the bonds of friendship. 
His murderers remain at large: every day they grow in strength; and I cannot fight them with my fists. It is only with my fingers, pressing one key after another, that I can tell the truth and bear witness to the injustice. I use his own weapon: words. What for? For nothing; or for the most simple and essential reason: so it will be known. To extend his memory a little longer, before the inevitable oblivion.