Argentina Redux

By Fabian Kussman

 

 

Héctor Hugo Munro, known simply by his pen name, “Saki”, said in one of his many stories that “that place produced more stories than what could be consumed”. This can be very accurately applied to the damaged Republic of Argentina. An endless string of news buries one under the following one with unattainable speed. Yesterday’s news are but ancient chronicles. Pieces of news are replaced in the time taken to get from one’s bed to the office. Reports are sent to storage as soon as they are discussed at a coffee bar.  They become oversights, and those omissions carry consequences. They are abandoned, and people suffer, and people die. Qom children are forgotten and they die of malnutrition. The news about the woman who was abused by her husband becomes blurred, and the woman dies. The misfortunes of our fellow citizens go out of sight, and their lives are endangered.

Endangered is Mr. Kussman’s life now. An honest policeman, disgraced by a cruel parody beneficial to those who turn a profit out of the misfortune of others. Judges caring for their positions above all, district attorneys seeking promotions, people seeking monetary gain. The truly miserable are those who are no longer with their families and the families who lost a loved one. The victims and their families. There is a particular generation of people who deny a long list of events which actually happened. They most likely are the same who adopted Ernesto Guevara as a romantic rebel whose image hangs from their walls, ignoring what he really did, who he really was. History books are written with significant bias, and they account the Argentine tragedy as starting in 1976. Perhaps due to lazines, or to carelessness, they choose to ignore that terrorist cells acted in times of democracy. The national debate holds the de facto government solely responsible for the disaster, overlooking entire episodes, as the order to act issued by a (woman) President, and a dozen politicians signing the orders of extermination. These left-out episodes tell the real story of politicians banging at the doors of army headquarters for help.

In short, Claudio Kussman is a forgotten human being. He is held in prison due to a mostly unreasonable conspiracy. He was charged without evidence, with false testimonies, including absurd conclusions drawn by less-than- brilliant distric attorneys. In other words, a cluster of irrational accusations.

Some of these accusations may draw a grimace from the eventual reader. A police minutes congratulating Mr. Kussman for his work assisting the community and protecting society from criminals was interpreted by the district attorneys as being proof of his anti- terrorist activity. It is as if to claim that a person loved literature but hated reading. Mr. Kussman is accused of crimes against humanity while he worked for the Bahía Blanca Radio Patrol Unit but he never served in that unit, as appears clearly in his Service Record. More absurd still is the fact that this Service Record was presented as evidence by the district attorney’s office themselves. Mockery, indifference, imcompetence? Place your bets, sirs. A newspaper article predicts what a victim or witness is going to declare a week later. Anticipatory journalism or a reporter with paranormal powers? A witness’s statement names officer Bluma as the arresting officer, but the district attorney’s report names Kussman instead. An illusion or a distraction? A victim is captured by hooded men and is blindfolded ... and he can still name his captors. Were his captors supporting actors in a Mel Brooks movie? Did they call out to each other by their real names, or was it an act of divination performed by the district attorney? The victim herself, who died in 2006 of a terminal disease, when she regained her freedom and under a democratic government, never mentioned his captors. Wouldn’t her female cell mate for a long period have heard those names, if the victim knew them? The victim’s mother, after visiting her daughter, stays at a hotel where she writes a note to her granddaughter, telling her that she knew the names of her daughter’s captors. However, she never mentions this “subtle” detail to the judges. Oversight? Forgiveness? Or witness tampering?

 

The ramifications of a fabricated accusation are quite easy to uncover. There are only two thought processes to pursue: Either the district attorneys did not invest enough time and work into fabricating the evidence (evidence which they consider conclusive but which is inconsistent to anyone who studies it carefully), or they simply assumed that in the midst of the general chaos, nobody would take the time to examine it thoroughly.  "He who tells a lie is not sensible of how great a task he undertakes for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.", said Alexander Pope in one of his writings. Gabriel García Márquez (to whom we always resort in times of need) declared: “Death comes not with old age, but with oblivion.”

In this bizarre Argentina, a guilty man, upon the slightest suspicion falling on him, would have fled the country. Mr. Kussman did not. He is innocent, and for years he placed himself at the disposal of justice in order to clarify any confusion. Today, unjustly imprisoned, he fights in a trial which is infected with forged evidence, clearly fabricated statements, false accounts on the part of district attorneys who repeatedly contradict themselves, either because they did not reread their own expositions or because they took for granted that the scandals and outrageous news that flood the Argentine media would conceal the ludicrousness of this case, and people would accept their allegations as logical and believable.

History repeats itself, and we still will not learn from our past mistakes and their consequences affecting us, passing on the despotic message invented by the usurpers of truth. “History is written by the victors”, as George Orwell quoted in his marvellous book 1984, but it is endured by everyone.

We forgot how to think, how to reason, how to deliver justice. Instead, we seek to satisfy our own needs and our convenience, to assuage our consciences, to rise to power, to make easy money. We deny the innocent, we shelve people’s rights, we abandon those who suffer injustice, those, like new Davids, who uphold the truth against a Goliath who is not only powerful but also arrogant because of that power, ignoring the people who actually think for themselves.