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Argentina24 March 2006

On 30th anniversary of coup, a tribute to the 98 journalists missing or killed during the military dictatorship

As Argentina remembers the 24 March 1976 coup that began Latin America’s worst-ever military dictatorship, Reporters Without Borders paid homage today to all the journalists who fell victim to what the military called ‘el proceso,’ which continued until 1983. Those who disappeared or were murdered during the final years of the preceding Peronist government (1973-76) were included in the tribute.

“Thirty to forty thousand people lost their lives in this terrible dirty war,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We salute the memory of all those - politicians, social workers, trade unionists, civil society activists and ordinary citizens - who were considered subversive by the military regime and who were said to have ‘disappeared’.”

The press freedom organisation continued: “We also join in the mourning of the Argentine press, which lost 98 journalists between 1973 and 1980. Although Argentina is one of the few Latin American countries to have brought its leading torturers to justice, many military officers involved in serious human rights abuses never served any sentence thanks to amnesty laws passed by democratic governments.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “Despite the repeal of these laws, justice is far from being done and probably never will be entirely. But Argentine society can count on our support so that the yesterday’s ‘disappeared’ are never forgotten.”

The dirty war began before the military coup. It dates back to 1973, when Juan Domingo Perón began his second and final spell as president. Under his right-hand man, José López Rega, social welfare minister and founder of the Argentine Anti-communist Alliance (the Triple A), it was open season on ‘subversives,’ especially leftists. Eight journalists were killed from 1973 until the 1976 coup, including Uruguayan parliamentarian Zelmar Michelini, who wrote for the La Opinión and Noticias newspapers.

Isabel Perón, who succeeded her husband as president on his death on 1 July 1974, was finally ousted by Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla in the coup of 24 March 1976. Three military juntas occupied the Casa Rosada (the presidential palace) in turn until defeat in the war over the Malvinas (Falklands) in 1982 paved the way for a return to democratic rule a year later.

For the most part, the press went underground during ‘el proceso.’ Among the many things banned by the military were Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, the Beatles, modern mathematics and Greek philosophers. They even tried to ban the tango. Opponents of the regime ‘disappeared’ - meaning they were kidnapped, tortured and then disposed of, often thrown out of a plane, while drugged but still alive, into the estuary of the River Plate.

Eighty-three journalists ‘disappeared’ and 15 others were murdered. They include the writer Rodolfo Walsh, who helped found the Prensa Latina news agency along with Gabriel García Márquez and Jorge Masetti. Walsh disappeared on 25 March 1977. Just over two weeks ago, Argentine judge Sergio Torres requested that one of Walsh’s suspected murderers, former federal police officer Juan Carlos Fotea, be returned to Argentina from Spain, where he was charged with genocide, terrorism and torture by judge Baltasar Garzón in 1998. This extradition request has not yet received an answer. Ten other people, including former naval Capt. Alfredo Astiz, are the subject of legal proceedings over their suspected role in Walsh’s disappearance.

Two laws absolving the military that were adopted during Raúl Alfonsin’s presidency (1983-89) - the Law of ‘Punto Final’ (1986) and the Law of Due Obedience (1987) - were overturned by congress in 2003 and by the supreme court in 2005. Néstor Kirchner’s government now hopes to repeal the amnesties that were adopted during Carlos Menem’s presidency (1989-99). Reporters Without Borders has learned that the cases of around 400 military personnel - of whom fewer than 50 are still in active service - could be reopened.

List of disappeared journalists (Surname, given name, date of disappearance or murder, media)

Adur, Claudio, 11 November 1976, Crisis, El Cronista Comercial, Arte Hispanoamericana

Aiub, Ricardo Emir, 9 June 1977

Almeida, Alejandro Martín, 17 June 1975, Télam

Alvarez de Barros, Lucina, 7 May 1976, Barrilete

Amadío, María Elena, 30 March 1976, Discusión

Ariza, Andrés Lucio, 22 July 1976

Ascone, Juan José María, 18 May 1977, La Opinión, Primera Plana, Competencia

Asenjo, Jorge Alberto, 12 June 1976

Barros, Oscar Osvaldo, 7 May 1976, Crisis, Barrilete

Bedoian, María, 12 June 1977, Dinamis

Bertholet, Horacio Félix, 1 October 1976, Canal 2

Burdisso Rolotti, Alicia Raquel, 21 June 1977

Bustos, Miguel Angel Ramón, 30 May 1976, El Cronista Comercial, Panorama

Capdepón, Juan José, April 1978 Carri, Roberto, 24 February 1977, La Opinión, Primera Plana, Extra

Casadidio, Aldo Néstor, 7 December 1976

Ceretti, Conrado Guillermo, 27 July 1976, Panorama, Clarín, La Opinión

Colmenares, Jaime, 2 January1977

Conti, Haroldo Pedro, 5 May 1976, Crisis

Danquen, Daniel Alberto, 15 May 1977, Clarín

Defieri, Eduardo, 1977

Delgado, Julián, 4 June 1978, Mercado and El Cronista Comercial

Demarchi, Héctor Ernesto, 5 August 1976, El Cronista Comercial

Denis, Carlos María, 27 March 1977

Dorigo, Pablo Hermes, 20 August 1976, Canal 9

Dorronzoro, Dardo Sebastián, 25 June 1976, Alberdi de Vedia, El Civismo de Luján, La Gaceta de Tucumán

Eguren de Cooke, Alicia Graciana, 26 January 1977, Nuevo Hombre

Espinosa, Guillermo José, 18 January 1976

Fernández Pondal, Rodolfo Jorge, 5 August 1977, Ultima Clave

Ferraris, Claudio Arnoldo, 30 July 1977, La Opinión

Fossati, Ernesto Luis, 26 November 1976, Panorama

Foulkes, Jorge Horacio, 17 March 1978, LU 13, Radio Necochea, la Voz del Pueblo

Gatti Acuña, Gerardo Francisco, 9 June 1976

Gleyzer, Raymundo, 27 May 1976, Panorama, Life, Parabrisas, Time, Georama, Editorial Códex, Alexoraft

Gómez, Célica, 3 January 1978, Télam

Gorrini, Alberto Jorge, 3 June 1978

Guagnini, Luis Rodolfo, 21 December 1977, La Opinión, Clarín, El Cronista Comercial, Interpress Service, El País, Latin American Political Report, Latin American Economic Report Guerrero, Diana Griselda, 27 July 1976, El Cronista Comercial, La Opinión, Discusión

Habbegger, Norberto, August 1978, Noticias, Panorama, Primera Plana

Harriague, Jorge Rodolfo, December 1977

Hernández, Mario, 11 May 1976, Militancia, El Descamisado

Herrera, Mario, 24 May 1976, Confirmado

Higa, Juan Carlos, 17 May 1977, Akoku Nippo

Hopen, Daniel Saúl, 17 August 1976

Ikonicoff, Ignacio, 12 June 1977, La Opinión, El Mundo, Noticias, Panorama, Interpress Service

Illa, Santiago José, 12 May 1976

Jaeger, Maurice, 8 July 1975, La Gaceta de Tucumán

Kolliker Frers, Alfredo, 15 December 1976, La Plata Ruff, Prensa Libre

Lizaso, Miguel Francisco, 14 September 1976, La Causa Peronista

Lugones, Susana, 24 December 1977, La Opinión, Siete Días, Crisis

Marin, Francisco Eduardo, 14 May 1977, La Nación

Martínez, Mario, 23 January 1977

Martínez de Ramirez, Elsa, 30 May 1978

Martínez Suárez, José Mario, 23 December 1977, Uruguayan journalist

Marucco, Heraldo Juan, 3 May 1977, Atlántida

Medina de Bertholet, Susana Beatriz, 1 October 1976

Melo Cuesta, Nebio Ariel, 8 February 1976, Uruguayan journalist

Molteni, Liliana, 21 June 1976

Mónaco, Luis Carlos, 11 January 1978

Motta, Toni Agatina, November 1980, US journalist, Daily News

Moyano Vega, Daniel, 1976, Los Andes de Mendoza

Nazar, Paulo Alberto, 23 April 1977

Oesterheld, Héctor Germán, June 1977

Pérez, Carlos Alberto, 8 May 1976, Clarín

Perrier, María José, 30 October 1976

Perrota, Rafael, July 1977, El Cronista Comercial

Poggio, Horacio Norberto, 23 July 1976

Raab, Enrique, 16 April 1977, La Opinión, Clarín, El Cronista Comercial, Primera Plana, Siete Días, Confirmado, Visión, Análisis

Ramos, José Eduardo, 1 November 1976, Noticias de Tucumán, Canal 10 de Tucumán

Sajón, Edgardo, 11 April 1977, La Opinión

Santoro, Roberto Jorge, 1 June 1977, Barrilete

Satragno, Juan Miguel, 26 February 1978, La Nación

Seib, Víctor Eduardo, 30 July 1977, La Nación

Servín, Santiago, 7 September 1976, La Voz de Solano

Sinigaglia, Roberto Juan Carmelo, 11 May 1976, Nuevo Hombre

Soler Guinard, Juan Marcelo, 29 April 1977, Confirmado, El Mundo

Solís de Marín, María Cristina, 11 August 1978, La Nación

Speratti, Horacio Rodolfo, 6 June 1976

Suárez, Eduardo, 12 August 1976, Siete Días, La Opinión, El Mundo, El Cronista Comercial, Interpress Service

Villa de Suarez, Patricia, 14 August 1976, La Calle, La Opinión, Interpress Service

Walker, Enrique Juan Ricardo, 17 July 1976, Gente, Semana Gráfica, Extra, Nuevo Hombre, El Descamisado

Walsh, Rodolfo Jorge, 25 March 1977, La Opinión, Mayoría, Noticias, Prensa Latina

Wenner, Tilo, 26 March 1976, El Actual de Escobar

List of murdered journalists

Barraza, Pedro Leopoldo, 13 October 1974, Radio del Pueblo de Buenos Aires

Bettanín, Cristina, 2 January 1977, Ya, El Descamisado, Noticias, El Diario

Bettanín, Guillermo, May 1976, Noticias

Bettanín, Leonardo, 2 January 1977, Confirmado, Primera Plana, El Descamisado, Siglo XXI

Cabo, Dardo, 6 January 1977, El Descamisado

Colombo, José Domingo, 3 October 1973, El Norte de San Nicolás

Estevao, Ana María, 20 October 1975, La Voz de Solano

Fumarola, Julio César, 6 February 1974, Siete Días

Gelman, Marcelo Ariel, 1976, Gente, Noticias

Gutiérrez Ruiz, Héctor, 21 May 1976, Uruguayan journalist

Michelini, Zelmar, March 1976, La Opinión, Noticias, Interpress Service

Ortega Peña, Rodolfo, September 1973, Militancia

Urondo, Francisco, 17 June 1976, Todo, Confirmado, Panorama, Noticias, La Opinión, Clarín

Walsh, María Victoria, 29 September 1976, La Opinión, Primera Plana

Zavala Rodríguez, Miguel Angel, December 1976, El Auténtico

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