The deep political and economic crisis that Argentina is going throughbetween the rise of the dollar and the fights and fragile truces between the president Alberto Fernandez and his vice president and mentor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, has relegated two events related to the tragic past to an almost irrelevant level. On one side, the death of former Buenos Aires police commissioner Miguel Etchecolatzone of the most savage repressors during the last military dictatorship (1976-83).
At the same time, a federal court sentenced life imprisonment a four army officers involved in the so-called death flights that took off from the Campo de Mayo garrison, where one of the main clandestine detention centers operated in those years of terror.
One of those condemned was, again, the former commander of Military Institutes, Santiago Omar Riverosa figure comparable to that of Etchecolatz for his role in state terrorism which, according to official figures, led to the disappearance of some 9,000 peoplea figure that human rights defenders triple.
without an iota of regret
There was a time when the name of Etchecolatz caused fear. He died at the age of 93, last Saturday, while serving his life sentence in a common cell derived from the nine trials in which he was found guilty. The police jackal was strictly speaking the executor in the main Argentine province of the orders of the colonel Ramon Camps, appointed by the Army as head of that security force. Camps publicly boasted of having killed some 5,000 Argentines. Unlike his subordinate, he died without having received convictions. Like his boss, Etchecolaz never regretted what he had done.
The former police chief was able to be sentenced for the first time in 2006 thanks to the testimony of mason Julio López, a former prisoner under the dictatorship, who portrayed him as a true lord of life and death in the Buenos Aires concentration camps. Shortly afterward, López was kidnapped. His body was never found. Behind his death, the hand of Etchecolatz was seen and the audacity to challenge democracy itself from prison. The repressor died without revealing not only what had happened to the mason but to all of his victims.
A daughter who changes her last name
The Etchecolatz case it has other implications that go into the heart of the darkness of that Argentina. His biological daughter disowned him as a father and changed her last name. The gesture of Mariana Dopazo was replicated by the daughters and sons of other repressors who founded the collective Historias desobedientes just when, five years ago, the Supreme Court was about to benefit those convicted of crimes against humanity with house arrest. Dopazo took to the streets that 2017, like a crowd that stopped that initiative.
To this day, the university professor explained again how she cut ties with a disturbing affiliation. “Create a life of my own, in the shadows of my father, one of the most sinister genocides in our history, it was very difficult. Always surrounded by weapons, accompanied by police custody and placed in a bubble. My mother did what she could, frequently threatened by him: If you go, I’ll shoot you and the boys”.
He drags from childhood one of the most atrocious memories: “Every time he came back, we locked ourselves in the closet to pray with my brother Juan, to ask him to die on the trip. Yes, that’s what we felt “. Dopazo clashed with him early, to the point that her family called her”little red star“. In Juan’s eyes, “she was a lefty”, but perhaps it was more of a disgusted daughter who paid dearly for her disobedience. “He was cruel, he punished very hard“Heard her footsteps and trembled. He smelled her perfume and shuddered with fear. “He was always a person without kindness, impenetrable,” he recalls.
“He’s not a sick old man”
At the age of 15, she left home to try never to see him again. He graduated as a psychoanalyst, perhaps to try to understand himself better. Etchecolatz he was already in jail when his daughter who disowned him appeared in court to ask for name change and replace it with that of his maternal grandfather. The first thing he did when he had a favorable sentence was go to the May Plazain front of the presidential headquarters, to march with the mothers of the disappeared.
Throughout these years he vehemently opposed the possibility of the disowned father leaving prison. “No one can sell me the speech of reconciliation, nor the story of the sick old man who deserves to go home. Those of us who know his look, we know what it is about. There are hundreds of genocidal women under house arrest, but he makes our blood boil because represents the worst of that time, after having been the head of 21 clandestine centers and not having regretted one millimeter of his actions,” says Dopazo. When he found out about his death, he did nothing but repeat what he knew when he was very little: “He was infamous.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.