Argentina this week
Mothers of Plaza del Mayo accused of financing Crisina’s campaign while invesigation into flight SOL 5428 shows pilots at fault.
Investigations into the former financial manager of the Mothers of the Plaza del Mayo, Sergio Schocklender, has suggested that the human rights organisation has committed more than US$1.5 million to the political campaigns of President Cristina Fernandez, vice presidential candidate and Minster of Economics Amado Boudou, and the secretary of public works.
Schocklender is under investigation following the corruption scandal earlier this year that has tarred the reputation of one of Argentina’s most outspoken human rights groups with a history of intimate connections with the Kirchner government. He claims to have invoices revealing substantial donations to the government and further documentary evidence of an offshore account in the name of the Madres’ leader, Hebe de Bonafini, to the tune of US$2 million.
Bonafini has rejected the accusation, denying the charge of donating to Kirchnerism and explaining the account held in Spain as a depository for international donations.
The leader of the group maintained that ‘they want to sully us’, adding that she has ‘much confidence in Oyabide [the investigation judge] that he will put things right’.
It is worth noting that Norberto Oyarbide is seen by many as a close ally of the Kirchner government.
A preliminary report released this week by those investing the crash that killed all 22 of the passengers on flight SOL 5428 in May has attributed the accident to pilot error, although it confirmed that the plane had been suffering technical deficiencies.
The investigation led by the Junta de Investigaciones de Accidentes de Aviación Civil (Civil Aviation Accident Investigation Group – JIAAC) concluded that the pilot had made errors both in the flight plan and during the formation of ice particles on the plane.
The report suggests that the pilots were in all probability ‘complacent’ about the situation, suffering a ‘situational complacency’ in failing to recognise the seriousness of the circumstances.
Comments were also made about the suitability of the aircraft, the conclusion being that the plane was not fit for use, although the deficiencies were not the cause of the crash.
Cabin recordings reveal a chilling conversation among the flight crew, where one pilot asks his colleague, ‘Why do you think the plane drops [loses altitude] so much?’ before remarking, ‘This aircraft is not suitable for this route but they just don’t want to know’.
Elsewhere, following the discovery of 11 year old Candela Rodriguez’s body last week, six people were arrested in relation to her murder. A 53 year old Peruvian man, Hugo Elvio Bermúdez, with links to the drug trade is being held as the chief suspect following a statement by an anonymous witness. Bermúdez is pleading his innocence.
Finally, the first gay marriage among Argentine service men was announced this week. The captain and lieutenant-colonel – whose names were not released – will be the first serving same-sex married couple in the history of the Argentinean armed forces.
A statement released by the armed forces read, ‘Sooner or later it was going to happen that the equal marriage law would extent to include members of the army’.
The Director of the Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA), César Cigliutti, was outspoken about the nuptials, saying, ‘The visibility of the gay community in the armed forces – such a traditionally conservative environment – is both necessary and important’. He added, ‘We hope that more same-sex partnerships in the military choose to exercise their right’.
Since the law was passed last year more the 2,600 same-sex couples have been married.