How to Shame a Dictator – The New York Times


How to Shame a Dictator

Their neighbors carried out crimes against humanity — and were exposed for it.




Atención! Murderer Next Door

What to do when your neighbors have carried out crimes against humanity.

In the mid 1990’s, we found ourselves in a tragic and uncomfortable situation of living amongst known torturers, kidnappers, and murderers. Genocide perpetrators had total liberty and freedom to navigate the same spaces that we lived in our city. At a bar, sitting next to your table, you could find one of the worst perpetrators of forced disappearances. In this photo, you can see my father in 1974; he was thirty years old. My father, Enrique Jose Juarez, was a leader in the Peronist youth movement. He was a filmmaker. He disappeared on December 10th, 1976. To this day, they have remained silent and there has been no mention whatsoever of what they did to his body. MONTAGE SEQUENCE TITLE CARD: Between 1976 and 1983, over 30,000 people were killed or disappeared by a military dictatorship in Argentina. TITLE CARD: In the mid 1990’s, the children of the disappeared organized under the name of HIJOS. They staged peaceful protests they called ‘Escraches’ to demand justice, which had been denied them by amnesty laws. Buenos Aires Argentina, 2001 Chanting: “Murderer, Murderer, Murderer” The red-paint filled balloon signifies that the house is stained with blood. We did not choose sticks or stones or violence. The “escrache” strategy is a way of revealing that there is an unpunished murderer adjacent to where you live. They shouldn’t be in your neighborhood, they should be in prison, but if they are in your neighborhood, you know who they are. It is not about killing with your own hands and killing the members of the military. Instead the purpose is to build on this idea of justice and anti-impunity. We are going to do an escrache on a perpetrator of mass murder. If there’s no justice, there’s escrache. Our demand was justice. Trials and Punishment. The previous governments hadn’t paid any attention. “Trial and Punishment” We had to peacefully publicize what these people had done. Letting everyone know that this person was a rapist, a torturer, a murderer. Saying it loud, with paint, flyers and crowds of people in the streets, drumming and chanting. “Attention neighbors, a murder is living next door to you!” The point of the escrache is that it settles and it starts creating a ripple effect. We always said that the escrache starts the next day. When the action was over, when we had already shown who lived there, and what they did. The perpetrator’s social isolation in the neighborhood becomes a symbol of his imprisonment. The visible joy was a powerful force as it had to counterbalance the fact that we were branded as violent or as doing something illegal by a large segment of society. What is unacceptable is to oppose the movement, and say “Don’t do anything”. It is precisely that silence that makes impunity possible. Many times we were repressed during these actions, with gas, batons; but at the same time our numbers grew. Escrache is our way of transforming memory into action. Tomorrow, the newsstand owner decides not to sell to him, the tax driver decides not to drive him, the baker won’t sell to him. The next day, the struggle multiplies. It worked because many people did not know that the person greeting them everyday was responsible for the crimes of the dictatorship. My mother was a wardrobe designer for theater and film. She arrived at the Devoto prison in bad shape healthwise. They were detained without being accused or charged, with no indication of the duration of the captivity. We stayed with my grandparents. We asked my aunt what we could bring my mother in prison. She said we should bring her an apple because the military wouldn’t let you bring anything through. “They’ll let you through because you’re a kid”, she said. My mother took a bite out of the apple. And she passed it to her friends. I told her the apple was a present for her. And she told me that they shared everything. That I would understand why later in life. Jorge Rafael Videla was one of Argentina´s most depraved and atrocious perpetrators of mass murder. He was the ideologue of the massacre that occurred during the dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. He is ultimately responsible for all of the forced disappearances. He was the fundamental figure. Hence the importance of him being in prison because if he was not detained, everyone underneath him would be absolved. The Videla escrache was symbolic for us. We rallied more than 10,000 people. My grandson would kill me if he saw me. We stopped by the Military Hospital, where many babies were born and subsequently, were stolen from their mothers. “Where are our siblings?” – H.I.J.O.S At this hospital, mothers who had been abducted gave birth and lost their babies. “Videla, Murderer” Videla was one of the organizers of the theft of the babies belonging to disappeared women. The majority of the pregnant women were killed after they gave birth. Many of these children began living with a different name and a different identity. The grandchildren whose identities were recovered were able to tell their story. On October 8, 2004, I was able to discover my true identity thanks to H.I.J.O.S. and to the grandmothers´ movement. For me, the most powerful ending happened in front of Videla´s home. He was living comfortably in a luxury apartment. We rented a scissor lift that our friend climbed on. We displayed the victims´ faces in front of the perpetrator´s house. Our friend ends up at around the same height as Videla’s balcony and speaks to him directly. Society judges you and everyone here says they do not want to live next to a murderer. They want you to rot in prison. Murderer! Murderer! The day we were at Videla´s house, the window shutters were closed, you could not see inside or see if there was anyone there. The person usually does not come out and says “I didn’t do it” or “What is happening?” On the contrary, they hide even more when there is an escrache. It’s not a dialogue with the mass murderer. It’s a message from society to that person and to the people who have the power to put him or her in prison. The Videla escrache was a milestone. Shortly thereafter [Change to: A little later] he was tried and sentenced to prison for the case of the stolen babies. He went to jail, as anyone with multiple life sentences should, instead of living at home. The powerful symbol of Videla’s dictatorship collapsed with his imprisonment and subsequent death in prison. It was no longer possible that the most emblematic perpetrator of state terrorism could go unpunished forever. In those years, the silence started to reverse itself. Head of ESMA Detention Center Jorge Eduardo Acosta Sentenced to life imprisonment, 2011 Commander Alfredo Astiz Sentenced to life imprisonment, 2011 Navy Lieutenant Commander Ricardo Cavallo Sentenced to life imprisonment, 2011 Naval officers Manuel Garcia Tallada and Adolfo Donda Sentenced to life imprisonment, 2014 and 2011 At that time, it was unimaginable to hold trials for crimes against humanity. These trials started in 2003, when Néstor Kirchner assumed the presidency and he committed to the principles of “memory, truth and justice”, which human rights organizations demanded become government policies. My mom had asthma. No one dies from it. And she died due to lack of medical attention. There is a lawsuit pending trial for my mother´s case. We are suing the Bureau of Prisons and those who participated in her death. At least we’ve gotten a real conviction, not just social condemnation. Of the people who disappeared my father, along with so many other activists. The process of memory, truth and justice in our country was a collective achievement. It was an unprecedented and unparalleled example for the world. 30,000 disappeared. Present! Now and always! We have a saying, “The impossible only takes a little longer.” It took us many years to re-open cases of crimes against humanity to prosecute and convict the murderous criminals in this country. But we did it. Escrache was a useful tool during times of impunity. Silence is over in our country, and that is an advantage. But we have to keep fighting for the collective memory and for the 30,000 disappeared. There is still a lot left to escrache to this day.

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What to do when your neighbors have carried out crimes against humanity.CreditCredit…Horacio Villalobos/Corbis, via Getty Images

Mr. Mattison is a filmmaker.

Faced with a lack of prosecution of those accused of crimes against humanity committed during Argentina’s military dictatorship, family members and descendants of the country’s estimated 30,000 disappeared took action. In the mid-1990s, they began gathering outside of accused perpetrators’ homes and workplaces to publicly shame them and raise awareness about the government’s systematic and brutal targeting of its people — and how it had gone unpunished. The human rights group HIJOS (Sons and Daughters for Identity and Justice Against Forgetfulness and Silence) led and labeled this direct-action style of protest “escrache,” or exposure.

After years of organizing and sustained pressure from activist groups like HIJOS, the amnesty laws protecting the perpetrators were repealed. In the short documentary above, we see how peaceful protests ensured that the perpetrators could no longer live in quiet anonymity. Now “escrache” is an important tool for activists seeking justice worldwide.

Sean Mattison is a filmmaker, photographer and visual artist.

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Biden Says No More Coddling Dictators. OK, Here’s Where to Start. – The New York Times

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to put democracy back on the agenda after four years of President Trump’s unapologetic coddling of dictators. Mr. Biden has promised to host a gathering of the world’s democracies to demonstrate his commitment to democratic values both abroad and at home. But will Mr. Biden go beyond rhetoric and gestures to making concrete policy?

If he is serious, there is an obvious place to begin: Egypt.

Mr. Biden will assume office at a time of multiple crises. A country where the regime appears stable, the relationship is well established, and there are no urgent security problems is unlikely to be high on his list of priorities. Still, there is good reason to start the push for democracy with Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country.

Egypt appears intent on fully exploiting the remaining weeks of Mr. Trump’s unseemly embrace of deepening autocracy. Secure in the knowledge that it can act with impunity, the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has opened an assault on the few remaining structures of independent civil society in Egypt.

That assault began with the arrests last month of a leader and two staff members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a human rights group that had hosted senior European diplomats for a briefing just days earlier. The action seems intended to deter other activists and cripple E.I.P.R. The arrests are a continuation of a zero-tolerance approach to dissent that has produced thousands of political prisoners. The three detainees were released on bail, but the legal efforts against them continue.

In these latest actions, the Egyptian government has made itself a test case for America’s approach to both the Middle East and what the president-elect has described as “the rising authoritarianism we see in the world.”

International condemnation of Mr. el-Sisi’s latest crackdown has been broad and swift, including public comments from the European Union, the office of the United Nations secretary general, France, Germany, Canada — and even Mr. Trump’s State Department. Mr. Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, shared his concern over the arrests, noting, “Meeting with foreign diplomats is not a crime. Nor is peacefully advocating for human rights.”

Together, this suggests that there is eagerness for a new approach from the United States to Egypt — and to human rights abusers around the world. Mr. Biden needs to show what a new approach would actually look like.

If he doesn’t, Egypt will continue to believe it will suffer few penalties for its repression. Its rulers remain convinced of the country’s centrality to the Middle East and American policy in the region. More than anything, it seems, Egypt expects that Washington’s fear of potential instability and Cairo’s close relationships with American partners like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel make a change in American policy unlikely.

Such inaction would be a mistake. The underlying assumptions that have formed the basis of the American-Egyptian partnership no longer apply, and the problems in the relationship can no longer be ignored.

That partnership began in 1979, following Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel. In the context of the Cold War, this was a major diplomatic achievement for the United States. Egypt became an anchor of American policy in the Middle East and was key in advancing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and combating terrorism.

Today, though, Egypt is no longer a major driver of events nor a leader among the Arab states. Egyptian security ties with Israel have deepened in recent years and are no longer dependent on American support. Egyptian counterterrorism efforts are a matter of Egyptian national security and are in no sense a favor to the United States. Military cooperation remains limited and Egypt resists detailing how American weapons are being used.

Finally, and perhaps most important, the relationship is marked by so much dysfunction and suspicion that many Egyptian leaders continue to push unfounded conspiracy theories that the Egyptian uprising of 2011 as part of the Arab Spring was the product of American machinations.

While the United States may preserve its theoretical access to Egyptian leaders by restraining its criticism of appalling human rights violations, there is no evidence that access has allowed Washington to try to brake Egypt’s deepening authoritarianism and increasing repression. Instead it has only furthered perceptions of American complicity.

Those diminished ties represent an opportunity. Taking a hard line on Egypt would not, in fact, be costly to American security or strategy in the Middle East. The incoming Biden administration should pause and clearly outline the consequences of continued lawlessness.

So what can Mr. Biden and his team do? Egypt has already received $1 billion in foreign military financing this year, but $300 million more is yet to be released. Those funds, which are typically disbursed before the end of the fiscal year in August or September, are supposed to be conditioned on human rights.

In recent years, that aid has been distributed despite the Egyptian government’s dismal record via a national security waiver. The Biden administration should make clear that these funds will not be sent without immediate and significant improvements on human rights.

Appropriations for 2021 are being negotiated in Congress, which appears unlikely to alter current aid arrangements. Instead, the Biden administration will have to indicate that unless the Sisi government changes its behavior, it will seek to downgrade the partnership, including military assistance. If Egypt is intent on imprisoning its best and brightest it should not be done with Washington’s acquiescence.

It’s basically unheard-of for Washington to undertake a major reassessment of a longtime partnership like the one with Egypt. Doing so would send a powerful signal not just in the Middle East but around the world. It would also represent a necessary first step in resetting the terms of America’s relationships in a region that still represents a disproportionate focus of American policy.

By beginning with Egypt, the United States will also convey the seriousness of its commitment to push back against resurgent authoritarianism more broadly.

Michael Wahid Hanna (@mwhanna1) is a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and a nonresident senior fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security.

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Abren ciclo documental de resistencia a la dictadura en Uruguay – teleSUR TV

Una nueva edición del Ciclo de documentales testimoniales: homenaje a la resistencia en el interior del país a la dictadura pasada, fue abierta este miércoles por la Intendencia del departamento Canelones, en Uruguay.


García Márquez, en busca de unidad, identidad e integración

Una invitación efectuada en el 2014 por parte del entonces intendente por el Frente Amplio, Marcos Carámbula, a todas las féminas que sufrieron cautiverio y represión en la dictadura ocurrida entre 1973 y 1985 en la nación sudamericana, fue una gran oportunidad para que ellas compartieran sus historias en la sala de teatro Lumiere.

Ese encuentro motivó a reunir los testimonios de algunas de esas mujeres en un documental llamado Voces de Santa Lucía, el cual inaugura el evento que inició en esta jornada en el complejo Cultural Politeama-Teatro Atahualpa del Cioppo, y que se desarrollará hasta el próximo 25 de noviembre.

Voces de Santa Lucía concentra las historias de varias víctimas de la dictadura militar, una obra en la que mujeres, como la referente del grupo Voces de Canelones, María Luisa Listur, participan de forma protagónica.

Listur cuenta que al salir ella de prisión los represores le advirtieron que si regresaba a Santa Lucía la dejarían enterrada, por lo que sufrió un destierro de 35 años y fue a partir de la invitación de Carámbula que pudo reencontrarse con algunas de sus compañeras, y de donde provino la idea de realizar el documental.

El material que representa una exhortación al respeto por los derechos humanos “nos une el amor a la vida, la salud, la vivienda, la educación, la cultura, la paz, la libertad y la democracia para que nunca más nuestro país llegue a un período como ese”, según Listur.

Además del referido documental, el ciclo incluye otras obras no menos importantes que se estarán proyectando en el Complejo Cultural Politeama – Teatro Atahualpa del Cioppo, con entrada libre y funciones en el horario de 10H00 a 15H00 (hora local).

De manera que, posteriormente se presentarán Dos mujeres en los calabozos de San Ramón, previsto para el 28 de este mes; ¿Qué pasó en Montes? el próximo 11 de noviembre;  Historia de dos maestros: Ernesto Murro y Cristina González, el 18 de noviembre; y  Marcos Carámbula: Homenaje a la resistencia del pueblo uruguayo, el 25 del mes venidero.

Y una noche, el vóley se reveló contra la dictadura – Diario El Zonda

La Selección Argentina que logró el tercer puesto en el Mundial de 1982, con los dos sanjuaninos: Raúl Quiroga, parado, con la camiseta nueve, y Leonardo Wiernes, hincado en el centro con la camiseta 12.

El ocaso del gobierno militar se podía vislumbrar en cualquier rincón de Argentina, incluso hasta en un partido de vóley, un deporte que hasta ese momento no era muy seguido por los argentinos.

Corría octubre de 1982. La dictadura que gobernaba el país desde marzo de 1976 estaba llegando a su fin. La dolorosa derrota en Malvinas fue su sentencia de muerte.

Los partidos políticos comenzaban a tomar protagonismo en la vida pública exigiendo la vuelta de la democracia. Los gremios salían a la calle reclamando que se mejorara la deplorable situación de los trabajadores.

Los problemas económicos y sociales se sumaban uno tras otro. El presidente Reynaldo Bignone, que a la postre sería el último de facto, junto con su gabinete, no encontraba solución a los múltiples planteos que le efectuaba la sociedad, agobiado además por las divisiones y peleas que existían en el seno del Ejército.

El ocaso del gobierno militar se podía vislumbrar en cualquier rincón de Argentina, incluso hasta en un partido de vóley, un deporte que hasta ese momento no era muy seguido por los argentinos.

Hugo Conte (7) remata luego del armado de Waldo Kantor (8), ante la mirada del capitán del equipo Daniel Castellani (2).

Luego de muchas idas y venidas debido a la situación que atravesaba el país en esos momentos, la FIVB (Federación Internacional de Voleyball) resolvió otorgar la organización del campeonato mundial a la Argentina.

La decisión la tomó dos meses y medio antes de la fecha prevista para el inicio, octubre de 1982. En el torneo participarían 24 selecciones de todo el mundo. Desde la cúpula militar no se puso ningún tipo de objeción a la organización debido a la falta de popularidad del vóley.

La competencia pasaría casi inadvertida dentro de la grave situación que atravesaba la sociedad. Pero se equivocaron. Los culpables de echar por tierra las presunciones de los militares fue un grupo de jóvenes conducidos por un técnico surcoreano, grupo que marcará una bisagra en la historia del vóley argentino.

Dicho proceso, que cambiaría el vóley en el país, se inició en 1975, un año antes de que los militares irrumpieran en el poder. El punto de partida lo marcó la asunción del surcoreano Young Wan Shon como entrenador del seleccionado argentino.

El nuevo técnico cambió la modalidad del entrenamiento, muchos de los cuales duraban hasta 6 horas, lo que no era bien visto por jugadores y dirigentes. El asiático ponía mucho énfasis en la repetición, la dinámica y la disciplina.

Los jugadores argentinos orgullosos con la medalla de bronce, el objetivo estaba cumplido.

Además, comenzó a trabajar con los juveniles, decisión que con el tiempo dio sus frutos, una brillante generación de jugadores cuya máxima conquista fue una medalla de bronce en los Juegos Olímpicos de Seúl en 1988. Shon les decía a sus muchachos: “Ustedes enseñar idioma, yo enseñar vóley”.

Sin embargo, los resultados de las giras previas al certamen que se realizó en tierras argentinas no fueron demasiados alentadores, pero el técnico asiático mantenía el optimismo.

El Mundial

El surcoreano no estaba desacertado. El comienzo del torneo le dio la razón. Sus muchachos, en el debut mundialista, vencieron a Túnez 3 a 0, para posteriormente derrotar a México 3 a 1 y caer ante Japón, una de las potencias del deporte. Los tres partidos tuvieron como escenario el microestadio de Newell’s Old Boys.

Raúl Quiroga, uno de los sanjuaninos que integró la plantilla junto a Leonardo Wiernes, expresó: “El apoyo del público nos potenció, no esperábamos un boom tan grande”.

Ese aliento se hizo sentir aún más durante la segunda fase del campeonato que se desarrolló en el Luna Park de Buenos Aires, fase en donde los locales vencieron sucesivamente a Corea del Sur, Cánada, Alemania Oriental y China, logrando el boleto a semifinales en donde cayeron ante la Unión Soviética, que finalmente se convirtió en el campeón del torneo al vencer en el partido decisivo a Brasil.

El 15 de octubre de 1982

Ese día, en el mítico estadio de Bouchard y Corrientes, Argentina derrotó a Japón 3 a 0, en el partido correspondiente al tercer puesto.

Pero también esa noche, el vóley se reveló contra la dictadura. Las 20 mil personas que colmaron el Luna, además del silbar al vicealmirante Carlos Alberto Lacoste (hombre fuerte de la FIFA) que se encontraba presente en el estadio, cantaron en varios pasajes del partido “el que no salta es militar”, a lo que le siguió “se va a acabar la dictadura militar”.

El grito del vóley pronto se extendió a las calles y a otros estadios del país. No fue en vano. En diciembre de 1983, un año y meses después de ese grito de libertad, Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín asumía la presidencia de la República.

La dictadura militar había llegado a su fin, la democracia florecía en Argentina y el vóley argentino comenzaba a ser protagonista dentro del ámbito internacional.

Juan Rodulfo publishes his new Book: Politics for Millennials

Left Right Politics for Millennials by Juan Rodulfo

LEFT RIGHT: Politics explained for Millennials, GENs XYZ and future generations by Juan Rodulfo

Available on his website is the new book of Juan Rodulfo, titled LEFT RIGHT: Politics explained for Millennials, GENs XYZ and future generations, in an effort to help humans understand POLITICS, and get the most of Us involved in it, since our Planet is in danger because of politics designed to profit a small group of people behind a huge conglomerate of corporations, imposed by governments all around by force or simple by ignorance of large portions of Planet Earth Population.

Presented in simple language, social media like format, the author offers the IMDb of politics, with digestible concepts, pictures, likes and dislikes to guide you to see politics the way your human and citizen condition must see it, with responsibility, awareness and conviction that your vote is your voice but only when given to the cause that really shares your interests, as planet earth inhabitant or else.

If you feel that the planet is in danger because of global warming, if you are pro-immigration, anti-war, pro-LGBTQ, pro-civil rights, if you are not NAZI-KuKuxKlan-Proud Boy, if you are carrying student debt, if you are a worker, if you are human, if you know that States charge taxes in order to distribute wealth, if you have ever heard about the Social Contract, you may be a Socialist, there is nothing wrong with it! Do not panic, you are not the Venezuelan Dictatorship nor they are Socialists. Just take a look inside to fact check it.

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