Friday, August 27, 2004

Press roundup: Rights in the Americas

There's quite a bit of coverage that's grabbed my attention today:

  • Chile: Pinochet was stripped of immunity today, but the Herald report expresses some skepticism about whether he'll ever stand trial for his role in Operation Condor, "the military code name for an intelligence-sharing network between Chile and other South American dictatorships in the 1970's that rights groups say aimed to eliminate dissidents throughout the region."(NYT)

  • Argentina: The New York Times has a longer, better story on the new release of an old memo from a meeting between Kissinger and the Argentine foreign minister in 1976, that seems to support the idea that Kissinger gave the green light to Argentina's dirty war. The key passages:
    In the meeting, Admiral Guzzetti complained that his country's "main problem" was terrorism. "It is the first priority of the current government," he said, adding that the government sought, first and foremost, "to ensure the internal security of the country."

    Mr. Kissinger responded: "We are aware you are in a difficult period. It is a curious time, when political, criminal and terrorist activities tend to merge without any clear separation. We understand you must establish authority."

    Later, he said, "If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly. But you should get back quickly to normal procedures."
    But only the Miami Herald draws the link between this memo, about Operation Condor, and the Pinochet story, which also involves Condor. The Herald also drew out a pithy retort about the implication that the U.S. supported rights violations, from William Rogers, who was also in the Kissinger meeting: "poppycock."

  • Cuba: The Herald publishes a story, originally from the Dallas Morning News, about how life continues to be tough for the six dissidents who were released in June, apparently because they were in poor health. They were part of 75 dissidents, writers and librarians sentenced to prison terms of up to 28 years in April 2003.

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