Will Macri stay in touch with the people? © Mauricio Macri | Flickr
DemocracyEssays

Will There be Real Change in Argentina?

On the Macri election

Argentina has a new president, but the same traditional presidentialist system remains. After more than a decade of the Kirchners in power (2003-2015), the new president Mauricio Macri was elected because he convinced Argentine voters that he was the candidate of “change.” …
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March against Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for the death of the prosecutor Alberto Nisman, Jan. 19, 2015. Sign says "We are all Nisman. Are we going to kill everyone?" ©  jmalievi | Flickr
DemocracyEssays

Argentina in Shock

A mysterious death in Buenos Aires raises questions about the true sources of power inside Argentina's state

A federal prosecutor in a democratic state accuses the elected president of a major cover-up. Alberto Nisman is scheduled to explain the cover-up in Argentina’s congress when, hours before testifying, he mysteriously dies in his apartment. What kind of democracy allows this to happen? In the context of such events, what will be the fate of this democracy? As a result of Alberto Nisman’s death, Argentina is facing a traumatic shock, one without precedent in the last two decades of its young democracy. …

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Stop fascism symbol © Zoya Fedorova | Dreamstime.com
DemocracyEssays

Fascism on Trial: Greece and Beyond

Last week, Greeks woke up with a shocking phone video that was posted on the newspaper Kathimerini’s website and then went immediately viral on the Internet. A toddler dressed in a traditional Greek uniform, bearing a Nazi armlet on his right arm, and holding a Nazi flag, was being taught by an adult how to perform the Nazi salute and say Heil Hitler. The adult was identified as Christos Pappas, the second in command of the neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn. This is not the result of a phone hacking scandal. The video was retrieved from Mr. Pappas’s phone and is part of the massive evidence that prosecutors have collected to put fascism on trial. …

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Juan Perón and José López Rega © Liepaja1941 | Wikimedia Commons
DemocracyEssays

When Neo-Fascism was Power in Argentina

An anniversary few want to remember

After forty years, though more historical research is needed on the presidency of Isabel Perón (1974-1976), what we know today leads us to consider that her Peronist government was one of the most violent in the violent history of Argentina. To be sure, political violence was quite extensive prior to the death of her husband, President General Juan Perón. Violence was unleashed before and after 1974 to the left and right of the political spectrum in in those years. But the state violence generated from the Peronist government of Isabel Perón acted as a sort of historical preamble to the “Dirty War” of the military junta that ruled the country after toppling her by early 1976.

Commanded by the most powerful minister of Isabel Perón’s administration, José López Rega, the neo-fascist organization Triple A acted as a paramilitary arm …

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Visitors of the controversial monument at The Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen) near Madrid sporting a flag of Spain under Franco © RomanD | Wikimedia Commons.
DemocracyEssays

Can Europe Learn from Latin America about History and Justice?

Can Latin America change European political memory? Can a long history of European silence be dealt with from across the Atlantic? The current investigations of Argentine courts into the crimes of the Franco dictatorship have brought these questions to the fore. As we have seen this week, many in Europe are not happy with this Third World « judicial intrusion » under the aegis of universal jurisdiction. However, the situation was exactly the opposite in the 1990s when Spanish courts sought Pinochet’s extradition and the detention of a notorious Argentine dirty war criminal. In the Chilean case, this Spanish intrusion even allowed Chileans to embark on a more serious judicial and historical questioning of the past. Can Latin America play such a role in Europe?

Should democracy oppose historical denial? Guatemala and Argentina are examples of how democratic engagement with past violations of human rights can lead to justice. In both countries, the effectiveness of the legal system should not be taken for granted, but in Argentina and Guatemala dictatorial regimes are finally being taken into legal and historical account. In Europe the situation is and was historically different. Neither Italy nor Germany (from East to West) prosecuted significant numbers of fascist criminals. Spain simply avoided the question.

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