SHORT OF COUNTERWEIGHTS
The Herald’s editorial titled “Unbalanced” (February 3) affirms: “After showing disdain for human rights throughout a political career spanning two decades, Macri cannot be expected to change — the blame should be shared by the potential counterweights within his coalition who fail to make themselves felt.”
Who are these conceivable stabilizers? I believe it’s the Foreign Ministry’s Special Human Rights Ambassador Leandro Despouy and Buenos Aires province Human Rights Secretary Santiago Cantón. Both have extensive human rights experience in the international field and are highly regarded by human rights activists (including myself).
Both Despouy and Cantón have said that, regarding Milagro Sala, the UN Working Group’s ruling should be adhered to. That’s why both “face a delicate balancing-act because they find themselves under fire from the more extreme wing of the national government, especially from Gerardo Morales, who does not accept lukewarm stances.” (January 27).
Moreover, in an interview with this newspaper on February 9, 2016, Cantón said he’s against two policies favoured by Macri: lowering the age of criminal responsibility for minors and buying tasers (an electro-shock weapon) for police to prevent crime.
I cannot include Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj in the list. He disputes the figure of 30,000 missing under the 1976-83 military dictatorship (December 30, 2016). And concerning Milagro Sala, he has said: “The UN working group’s committee made a suggestion, it is not binding.” He later adds: “Here the president is saying that the separation of powers and different judicial procedures must be respected” (December 16).
In sum, as your editorial clearly points out, the “good guys” unfortunately carry no weight in policy decisions involving human rights. The latest and most hair-raising evidence is the official nomination of Carlos Horacio de Casas to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH in its Spanish acronym). De Casas was defence attorney for Enrique Blas Gómez Saa, accused of crimes against humanity during the last dictatorship.
Ildefonso Miguel Thomsen
Last Tuesday there was a topless protest in Buenos Aires and several other cities in Argentina. The event triggering this peculiar demonstration was the police over-reaction when three women sunbathed bare-breasted on a Necochea beach the week before. Believe it or not, there’s still a national Criminal Code article prohibiting “obscene displays” in public places.
Personally, I’d apply the concept “obscene” to other ‘crimes‘. A priest who abuses children is obscene. A politician who lies, bribes, cheats and steals is obscene. Not having sewage or running water in the 21st Century is obscene. Extreme poverty, slave labour, xenophobia, lack of solidarity — all these issues are truly obscene. Not some women showing their boobs.
Let’s grow up, shall we?
HAS W NOW BEEN TRUMPED?
The immigration “ban” or “not a ban” or call it what you like insanity of the current president of the United States ought to be considered carefully by many, not least by those from the US.
As an immigrant myself, with dual-citizenship in the nation of Argentina, I have a view on the “ban” which relates directly to terrorism, and US responsibility; and I’d like to share this perspective in relation to US citizen emigration.
I’ll ask two questions at the bottom after I give a sliver of my own immigration to Argentina story from a judge’s office at the corner of Viamonte and Libertador streets in Buenos Aires City.
Before taking the oath for Argentine citizenship (coincidentally, taken on my birthday), there had been the requisite question why I moved here. The answer, in part: When George W. Bush and Dick Cheney invaded Iraq for oil — ignoring evidence from the Central Intelligence Agency detailing Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction with the subsequent kowtowing by US media to the administration’s warmongering — I found this to be wholly and egregiously derelict. This helped prompt me to leave the US and to move here, where I was granted citizenship on May 22, 2013.
This is just part of why I emigrated but a major part, nonetheless. Furthermore, no doubt these decisions made by George W. Bush were especially unctuous because his family and mine lived in the same summer neighbourhood. I saw the Iraq war as a lusty move for oil by people in the Bush-Cheney administration who had tragically influenced a president who got his job thanks to his family’s massive quantity of contacts. His father’s gas-guzzling cigarette speedboat Fidelity — almost the only one in Kennebunkport — would pass in front of our place during cocktail hour.
Obviously, given the bellicosity of the current leader from the North, the world is now more in danger than ever and surely the US is a prime target for terrorism, as it always has been, but with an added intensity.
Here are the two questions: First, Is there anybody who would not predominantly blame Bush-Cheney for precipitating this grim scenario? Second, given the current US president’s platforms, could citizens of the US be considered as from a belligerent state and therefore be subject to extra vetting?
The second is a rhetorical question to provide context but given the rampant mean-spiritedness from up there, one might see some justice to it.