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Defence Ministry unveils more junta records

The card handed to Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman when he visited his father in prison.

Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and City Legislator Jorge Taiana receive documents

As the 38th anniversary of the last military coup nears, Defence Minister Agustín Rossi celebrated the discovery of 7,000 new documents from Argentina’s last military dictatorship that directly refer to the repression.

Following a 2013 order issued by his ministry, some heads of military units began doing what continues to be one of the pending issues of democracy: to dig out those military files that could provide information about the thousands of forcibly disappeared people or could provide symbolic compensation for the prisoners’ relatives.

The documents were found in the penitentiary unit that operated in Magdalena, in the east of Buenos Aires province and where many political leaders and intellectuals were imprisoned during the last dictatorship, including La Opinión founder Jacobo Timerman and Peronist doctor Jorge Alberto Taiana.

Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and his predecessor Jorge Taiana took part in the rally held at the Defence Ministry headquarters to receive the files that included information about their parents who had been imprisoned there.

“This is a compensation,” Taiana, who is currently a ruling Victory Front (FpV) legislator in Buenos Aires City, said. “This is part of a policy based on memory, truth and justice,” he added.

Taiana’s father — who died in 2001 — was Juan Domingo Perón’s medical doctor and also headed the Education Ministry during the Justicialist leader’s third term in office. After the 1976 coup, he was taken to that penitentiary unit and was released in 1982. His son was also taken to several prisons during the last dictatorship and in 2010 he delivered his testimony in the trial for the crimes committed in the Unit 9 in the city of La Plata, Buenos Aires.

For his part, Timerman celebrated the files being handed over by members of the Armed Forces. During the last 30 years, military officers have been reluctant to provide any information that could be used to solve some of the crimes committed by the forces during the darkest years of Argentine history.

However, last year Rossi also announced the first discovery of the state terrorism archives. Those files were found in the Air Force headquarters, following a resolution from the Kirchnerite administration ordering the military to search for files from the 70s.

“We are still looking for the 400 children snatched from their mothers, who are being searched for by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo,” said Timerman — who yesterday also received the card he had to use to visit his father in prison.

“I request the Armed Forces to cooperate in this search.”

Jacobo Timerman was abducted by the dictatorship’s death squads in 1977 and was first taken to the repressive circuit in Buenos Aires province which was under police chief Ramón Camps’ supervision. Then he was taken to the Magdalena unit and then was held under house arrest.

“The first time I entered this place — making reference to the Army headquarters where the ministry is located — was to file a letter requesting information about my missing father. The second time was as a Foreign Minister. Now, I am here as my father’s son,” he said as tears rolled down his cheeks.

Midshipman Julio César Urien — who headed a 1972 uprising within the Navy School of Mechanics to demand Perón’s return to power — yesterday received his file.

The daughter of Mario Guillermo Enrique Galli was also there to get the information referred to her missing father, who was taken to the clandestine detention centre that operated in that Navy’s building along with his pregnant wife and mother. All of them were forcibly disappeared but Marianella was present yesterday to honour their memories.

Herald staff with online Media

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