‘I do not answer questions from journalists’Thursday, August 21, 2014
La Nueva Provincia’s Massot is the star of repression show
He is not a movie star nor a pop sensation, but Vicente Massot has plenty of fans — and they were all on time waiting for the owner of the ultra-conservative La Nueva Provincia yesterday as he partook in the forum of lawyers and relatives of men convicted for crimes against humanity in the country and the southern cone.
“I do not answer questions from journalists,” the head of the most important newspaper in the city of Bahía Blanca in Buenos Aires province said when the Herald approached him to ask about the legal investigation into his role in the murder of two printshop workers in 1976.
Massot took part in a panel to discuss national defence along with a former military officer from Chile, who was cheered by the audience when he recalled the misfortune that the Chilean military suffered during the transition to democracy.
“The same happened to us,” a retired officer murmured. Next to Massot and Adolfo Paúl Latorre was Uruguayan retired colonel Elmar Castiglioni, who criticized the “members of the guerrilla who now rule the country.” Castiglioni is a member of the Freedom of Concord organization, created on December 27, 2010 when the Inter-American Human Rights Court was about to condemn Uruguay for its Amnesty Law that prevents those who committed crimes in the 1975-1983 dictatorship from being taken to court.
The head of La Nueva Provincia arrived at the conference room in the Hotel Meliá at 10.54am, half an hour before his appearance was scheduled. He took a peek into the room where a former Venezuelan general was saying: “In Venezuela, we will never be able to change a regime through elections... Draw your own conclusions.”
At 11.30am and after a short break, it was time for the man who had to face Judge Álvaro Coleffi in April to shine. Nicolás Márquez, a renowned icon of the far right, was on the stage to present Massot and the other members of the panel.
“He is someone we all love and admire. I strongly recommend his latest book, El Cielo por Asalto,” said the lawyer from Mar del Plata — where he reportedly became a good friend of Buenos Aires provincial deputy chief Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz, who is serving life in the Marcos Paz penitentiary unit.
“Politics is not dogmatic. If times change, enemies also change. Now our most fearful enemies are drug-trafficking terrorists,” Massot said, criticizing the strict division between security and defence, established in the return to democracy.
He seemingly could not help but make reference to the left-wing armed groups that operated in the 1970s — one of his favourite topics. “Revolutionary processes no longer exist in this part of the continent,” he said.
Then, Massot stood up and left. Before leaving the hotel, he refused to talk to the Herald but kindly accepted the book given by one of the women who are part of the the Justice and Concord association.
“You must read these books. They contain lots of objective information,” she said to two journalists who were passing through. The woman not only gave a present to Massot but also to the Herald. “Here, have two prayer cards,” she said. They had the pictures of Carlos Sacheri and Jordán Bruno, two theologists killed by a left-wing armed organization in 1974.
Prosecutors José Nebbia and Miguel Palazzani accuse Massot of the murder of two printshop workers, Enrique Heinrich and Miguel Ángel Loyola, who were abducted on June 30, 1976. Their corpses were found four days later in “Cueva de los leones,” located 17 kilometres from the city of Bahía Blanca.
The prosecutors yesterday told the Herald that they are analyzing more evidence gathered at the La Nueva Provincia newsroom and they will probably be filing a new request before Judge Coleffi, who questioned the Argentine Catholic University (UCA) professor in April and now must decide if he indicts Massot. Nebbia and Palazzani also accuse Massot of covering up 35 abductions and killings.