Members of human rights organizations called on Congress to “urgently approve” a bill aimed at banning public officials and candidates who make denialist claims from running for public office. During a commission meeting in the Chamber of Deputies held on Tuesday, they said it was “contradictory” that presidential hopeful Javier Milei and running mate Victoria Villarruel (La Libertad Avanza, LLA) want to govern Argentina after denying the last military dictatorship’s crimes against humanity.
“These two people want to play democracy, but when they get bored, they will take it down with them,” said HIJOS member Guillermo Pérez Roisinblit during the Human Rights’ commission meeting. Roisinblit was involved in drafting one of the anti-denialism bills that are being addressed in the Lower House.
Deputies are looking to unify the different bills presented so far into a single one, which is expected to be voted on after the November 19 run-off. On Wednesday, they invited members of human rights organizations to share their opinions.
Mother of Plaza de Mayo Taty Almeida pleaded that deputies “urgently pass” the law that aims to ban public officials and candidates from working in the national government for five to 10 years for denialism of not only the crimes of the 1976 dictatorship, but also of other genocides committed in Argentina or other countries.
Almeida said that people who “vindicate the genocide” of the 70s and 80s in Argentina “have always existed, but now they are emboldened.”
“Denialism is the last step of a genocide,” Mabel Careaga, whose mother Esther Ballestrino was killed in one of the military dictatorship’s death flights, said during the meeting.
Ballestrino, a Mothers of Plaza de Mayo co-founder, was killed along with another 11 people who were also trying to find people detained by the dictatorship. Careaga also said “hate speech has stopped being just speech and has turned to action,” referencing Vice President Cristina Kirchner’s murder attempt in September 2022.
After the meeting, Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, former Women, Gender, and Diversity minister and attorney involved in crimes against humanity trials, told the Herald that “for the first time in 40 years, a limit against [denialist claims] becomes necessary.”
“It’s not like they didn’t exist before, but now there is a very strong public endorsement of them,” Gómez Alcorta said.
The attorney added that “it’s a contradiction that those who want to participate in democracy vindicate state terrorism,” speaking of Milei and Villarruel.
While the meeting was being held, Villarruel made a post on X (formerly Twitter) saying that these bills want to “muzzle” those who think differently.
“They want you to have monolithic thinking, be quiet, and not question their human rights con. We won’t be silent,” Villarruel said.