November 22, 2017

Investigation is ongoing in the country

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Case has ties to union persecution, snatched babies

By Luciana Bertoia
Herald Staff
Argentina is currently investigating the responsibility of several companies in the repression unleashed during the last dictatorship in the country. Mercedes Benz is an emblematic case for human rights activists, who denounce that the automaker was involved in the abductions of 14 workers and the snatching of babies from their mothers.

During the mid-70s, the Mercedes Benz plant in González Catán, Buenos Aires province, became a heated place where social activism and state terror merged with 4,000 people working there every day.

Human rights activists have been claiming that the company bosses not only provided information to the dictatorship’s death squads but were also on such good terms with the military that a man who led the San Justo’s Brigade was appointed as the man in charge of the security of the plant. Rubén Luis Lavallén was convicted for the appropriation of Paula Logares, whose parents Mónica Grinspon and Claudio Logares were abducted in Montevideo, Uruguay, and presumably taken to the brigade where Lavallén worked.

In 2002, Mercedes Benz’ Legal advisor Rubén Pablo Cueva appeared in the so-called Trial for Truth in the city of La Plata and said that the company had donated neonatology equipment to the military hospital located inside the military garrison of Campo de Mayo, one of the biggest concentration camps in Buenos Aires province and where the majority of the workers from Mercedes Benz were taken. That hospital has been reported as a clandestine maternity ward, where dozens of women were taken to give birth to their babies while they were held captive.

Human rights activists and journalist Gaby Weber have been pointing out that Juan Tasselkraut, former Mercedes Benz manager, adopted a son irregularly and that his brother, Alejandro Tasselkraut, adopted two children in strange circumstances and with midwives who have been accused in other cases related to snatched babies.

Lawyer Eduardo Fachal, who represents the relatives of the workers from Mercedes Benz who were disappeared, yesterday explained that though their DNA samples were compared with samples gathered at the National Genetic Database, they still had suspicions.

“There is much to be investigated but the courts are not making much progress,” Fachal said.

This is a complicated case to gather evidence for because not all of those who were abducted were taken to the same place. And it is also difficult to prove the link between the heads of the company and the repressors.

“We thought that a positive ruling from the US Court would give momentum to the case in the country but we didn’t get one,” Fachal said. “We still seek justice from the Argentine courts.”

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