Friday, September 29, 2006

Jorge Julio López


It has been over twenty years since the end of Argentina's "Dirty War", and messages like the above were thought to be a bad memory of the past. But the process of bringing justice for the disappeared, and prosecuting the junta's agents for their crimes has reopened old wounds and brought the past back to life. Last week, Miguel Etchecolatz, a former police chief under the dictatorship, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the kidnap, torture, and murder of dissidents. A key witness in the trial was Jorge Julio López, who testified about his detention and torture at Etchecolatz's hands. Now, he has disappeared - and Argentinians fear he has been kidnapped by former agents of the junta eager to intimidate those who would testify in future.

Fortunately, they're not taking it lying down; tens of thousands have marched in Buenos Aires to protest Lopez's disappearance and demand the government get to the bottom of it. The demand for justice for the past is strong. We just have to hope that kidnapping witnesses and threatening judges is not enough to thwart it.