They could never see their dead. The 44 sailors or what remains of them, have been around for three years in the depths of the South Atlantic. The ARA San Juan submarine imploded and became an iron press flattened at its ends. At more than 900 meters, no technology exists or has been invented that can float anyone one of the flagship ships of the Argentine Navy. The families continue to mourn their loved ones and seek those responsible for an accident that, with certainty, could have been avoided if the ship, type TR-1700 of German manufacture, had been in adequate condition. The paths of justice led senior members of the Navy to the bench but other judges now point to the then President of the Government, Mauricio Macri, his Minister of Defense, Oscar Aguad and the Chief of the Army Marcelo Srur who had emerged unscathed from the investigation.
The Federal Chamber of Comodoro Rivadavia, where the closest port to the scene of the accident that occurred on November 15, 2017, heard an appeal from the next of kin and ordered that Macri be investigated and his subordinates seeking criminal responsibility (the policy was obvious). The magistrates of this higher instance seek to “investigate and prove” the degree of knowledge that the former president and the rest of his subordinates had about the condition of the ship, the proper compliance with its maintenance and the budget cuts suffered by the Navy.
The disappearance and subsequent location of the ARA San Juan mobilized half the world in search of the submarine. The United States, Russia, and Britain displaced high-tech equipment and other countries, including Spain, made available boats (even fishing) that sailed in the area or directed them there to comb an underwater bottom that is a mystery, as deep as why in a submarine like the ARA San Juan, water could leak through the periscope, the electrical panel could fail, generate toxic gases and end up imploding. Later, it would be known that the ship had registered, in 2016, more than 20 incidents of malfunction.
The reasons for the ship’s practices in an area so far from the coast (Usuhuaia, on the Malvinas Islands route), the alarms that were given from it and the instructions received were under suspicion during the incessant international search for the device. The relatives of the only woman and the 43 sailors who were on board of the ARA San Juan demand to know the truth. In this context of hidden telegrams, warnings from international agencies with state-of-the-art radar equipment that recorded the explosion and contradictory information, the former president of Argentina, his former minister and the former head of the Navy are accused of covering up for, allegedly, having concealed the exact location of the vessel before it was confirmed by a US device deployed in the area. At least, that is the accusation he made before the judge, of the former commander of naval training and enlistment, Luis Enrique López Mazzeo.
The official investigation of the Argentine government of Macri led to the dismissal of the head of the Navy Marcelo Srur, Rear Admiral Luis Enrique López Mazzeo and, among others, the captain Claudio Villamide.
What remains of the ARA San Juan, remains submerged more than 900 meters deep and 500 kilometers from the coast of Comodoro Rivadavia. Weighed 2,300 tons, he was surprised by a storm that, according to specialists, could have weathered had it been in perfect condition. It was not so. As a result of that tragedy, a long history of accusations of corruption in the shipyards, supervision and maintenance teams and in positions of the Navy was uncovered. This week, on the 25th, Argentina will witness a Council of War of some of those military men but this process is independent of the fact that it seeks to put Mauricio Macri, Oscar Aguadu and the former head of the Navy, Marcelo Rsud, on the bench.
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