Laurels for an Argentina Laureate

An egregious example of either incorrigible obtuseness or imperious contempt?

In what has to be one of the most offensives decisions to visit a country by another leader, and a world leader to boot: the scheduling of the visit of the US President to Argentina, and between 22-24 March, of all dates. Any good high school student studying Latin American history would have been appalled at the decision. Worse yet, is that the US President was recipient in 2009 of the Nobel Prize for, yes, Peace, the justification for which still continues to mystify.

That the main player in those dark days of 1976 in Argentina should be unaware beggars belief. It would take a storm of criticism from human rights groups and governments , especially those similarly abused, to protest that disrespect to the people of the country, in particular the victims and next of kin. As a result, the US has deigned to change the President’s visit to Buenos Aires from the originally scheduled 24 March.

Noteworthy in all this is the post at the common dreams blog, Letter from Pérez Esquivel to Barack Obama in Ocassion [sic] of His Travel to Argentina on March 24. From a human rights activist and  victim of that era, a powerful letter that highlights the US role in the region, something any mediocre Presidential adviser should have known. A telling paragraph,

If your intention is to come here to acknowledge on behalf of the United States of America that your country was an accomplice of coups d’état in this region, in the past and currently; to announce that your country will sign and ratify the Statute of Rome and be subject to the International Criminal Court; and to stop being the only American country which does not ratify the American Convention on Human Rights; if you shall please us with news that the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation” (WHINSEC) and the“International Law Enforcement Academy” (ILEA) shall be terminated in their capacity as heirs of the School of the Americas, and with news that the military bases of the United States in Latin America shall be closed, then you shall indeed be welcomed to Argentina on any day.

In this letter, we have a lesson on communication, language couched in quiet disappointment, yet a searing indictment of gratuitous state criminality. Still, the message will most certainly be lost on its intended recipient, the counterpart Nobel awardee – the prerogative of exceptionalism.

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