The visit of the president of the United States begins on March 23 and will extend to March 24, the 40th anniversary of the coup that installed the military dictatorship that lasted until 1983. First there will be stop in Havana and Obama’s presence there will be laden with extremely symbolic value for Cuba, Latin America, and also the United States. The Cold War that was buried with the Berlin Wall in 1989 has finally collapsed in the region although the melancholy people of the bipolar world continue, like lost patrols, reinforcing a story that already has found another course.
Speaking of the Cold War, it is interesting to review the role that the United States and the former Soviet Union played with respect to the Argentine dictatorship.
There is no doubt that the White House embraced the coup of 1976, which the White House supported without reservation during the first period of the military dictatorship or Dirty War. Still, one recalls the words of Henry Kissinger to Videla’s foreign minister, Cesar Guzzetti, in Santiago, Chile: “If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly.” He is referring to the savage repression and brutality that extended beyond the Kissinger’s suggestion.
It happens that Jimmy Carter won the U.S. presidency and became a serious problem for the Argentine military junta. The leader in the White House strongly pressured the junta to respect human rights. Patricia Derian, commissioned by Carter for this task, became one of the dictatorship’s most hated people.
Paradoxically, the relationship between the dictatorship and the former Soviet Union, which was accused of promoting terrorism with Cuba, was intense. The Soviet head of state visited Argentina in those years, the same head who refused to let the grain boycott promoted by Carter cause problems for Moscow, and took other actions including abstaining from a United Nations vote on the violation of human rights in Cuba.
Internally, the leadership of the Communist Party held that the Pinochet wing of the Argentine military had exerted pressure in such a manner that one had to give in and support the duo of General Videla and General Viola.
These policies should be explained in the historical context in which they were developed and they cannot be ignored by ignorant people who manipulate history to bend it to the present situation.
Obama, a Democrat, probably remembers the March 24 paper that Carter and Derian produced.
The presence of Obama-like leaders such as Matteo Renzi and Francoise Hollande, and the Pope’s visit to Cuba are evidence of the broad shift in the foreign policy of Mauricio Macri with respect to the policy practiced by Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. And today, in this context, one can announce that the bid on the Kirchner and Jorge Cepernic dams in Santa Cruz will not benefit from Chinese funding.*
*Editor’s note: Former Argentine President Kirchner was in favor of and cultivated China’s support for the dam projects. Current Argentine President Macri is leaning away from communist support and toward the U.S. and the U.K., where an environmental group has denounced construction of the dams.