Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Investigating Fernando de la Rua's Role in Deaths in 2001

While the collapse in the economy last year was truly remarkable and a little frightening, it really didn't compare to what Argentina went through in 2001 - a total economic collapse, street protests and subsequent police violence that resulted in the deaths of 5 protesters in Buenos Aires and another 21 dead elsewhere in the country, and the president fleeing Argentina from a helicopter.

De la Rua, who had also attempted to censor all the media in Argentina at the time, was charged for ordering the police repression that did result in the deaths of the five in the Plaza de Mayo. In April, a lower court had dismissed the charges, but yesterday, an appeals court overturned the dismissal, ruling that the case be re-opened and charges continue until the investigation comes to a close. This of course doesn't guarantee that de la Rua will ever be punished for anything, or even connected directly to anything, but the ongoing investigation at least allows prosecutors, lawyers, and human rights officials to examine the case fully to get at what de la Rua's exact role in the events of December 19 and 20 of 2001 were, rather than letting him go free from any legal consequences of his actions, as would have been the case had the dismissal of charges been maintained. So this is overall good news, and it will be curious to see what (if anything) happens from this point on.