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Montevideo, November 23rd 2017 - 07:41 UTC

Family confirm body recovered in Argentine Patagonia is that of missing activist

Saturday, October 21st 2017 - 07:05 UTC
Full article 58 comments
Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old tattoo artist, was last seen being detained by paramilitary police as they moved to disperse a protest by the Mapuche people Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old tattoo artist, was last seen being detained by paramilitary police as they moved to disperse a protest by the Mapuche people
The case has embroiled Macri’s government in a political storm and revived dark memories of the country’s years of dictatorship and the forced disappearances The case has embroiled Macri’s government in a political storm and revived dark memories of the country’s years of dictatorship and the forced disappearances
Shortly thereafter, Maldonado’s sister-in-law Andrea Antico told C5N the family was critical of the call because “it’s a bit too late.” Shortly thereafter, Maldonado’s sister-in-law Andrea Antico told C5N the family was critical of the call because “it’s a bit too late.”
Maldonado’s elder brother Sergio said the body has now been identified, and that the family blamed authorities for his death. Maldonado’s elder brother Sergio said the body has now been identified, and that the family blamed authorities for his death.

The body recovered from a river bed in southern Argentina is that of a missing activist who disappeared two months ago during a police operation, his brother confirmed on Friday. Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old tattoo artist, was last seen being detained by paramilitary police as they moved to disperse a protest march by the Mapuche indigenous group in the Patagonia Chubut province, on August first.

 The case has embroiled President Mauricio Macri’s government in a political storm and revived dark memories of the country’s years of dictatorship and the forced disappearances of opponents.

Macri spoke with the activist’s mother late Friday, Justice Minister German Garavano told TN television. But shortly thereafter, Maldonado’s sister-in-law Andrea Antico told C5N the family was critical of the call because “it’s a bit too late.”

“We cannot believe it. It’s so shameless to call today after 80 days. It was wrong and now we’re even more disappointed,” she added.

Maldonado’s elder brother Sergio said the body has now been identified, and that the family blamed authorities for his death.

“We were able to look at the body, what we recognized were Santiago’s tattoos, so we are convinced that it is him,” he said, speaking at the gates of the morgue in Buenos Aires where an autopsy was due to be performed.

“The autopsy will take place in a few days and we will get further confirmation.”

Both government and opposition parties had earlier suspended campaigning for legislative elections on Sunday.

Sergio Maldonado, brother of Santiago Maldonado, says police murdered the late activist. After Maldonado’s identify was confirmed, dozens of people spontaneously gathered at the medical examiner’s office, where they lit candles and left flowers and messages of encouragement for the family.

Leftists congregated at the capital’s main square Plaza de Mayo to demand justice. On social media, the hashtag “Es Santiago” (“I am Santiago”) led Argentina’s Twitter trends.

Prosecutor Silvia Avila said the body, found 300 meters from where Maldonado was last seen, was wearing clothing that bore a resemblance to Maldonado’s.

The Maldonado family’s lawyer, Victoria Heredia, said that the body was found in a place where it “was visible to the naked eye. We don’t understand why it should appear in an area that had already been swept three times.”

The body was found entangled in roots in the bed of a river that traverses ancestral lands sold to Italian businessman Luciano Benetton but which is claimed by the Mapuche indigenous people.

However the judge of the case denied that particular area had been swept and this because as an in depth report from Clarin newspaper explained, the Mapuches are divided as to how address security forces, which they do not trust. Furthermore during the recovery of the body, Mapuches with sticks and knives were present all the time, and it now seems that they were aware of the situation but did not want any forces intruding in what they consider their lands.

“This does not acquit the police. They are still responsible,” said Sergio Maldonado after confirming the body was his brother’s.

The government initially rejected any police responsibility, but later acknowledged that some individual police officers could be involved.

“Whoever is responsible, they will have to assume the consequences of their actions, whether they are part of the police or someone else,” said minister Garavano.

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • imoyaro

    So, blackstabber Gauchito Drink, you'll be donating your ranch and horses to the Mapuche? C'mon let's see it!

    Oct 21st, 2017 - 10:52 am +3
  • imoyaro

    Kamerad /Komrade Rique, your K thug cops offed him in hopes of derailing the election and you pontificate your crap blaming Macri. You are literally (and you can quote me on this,) the living embodiment of the “banality of evil.” You supported Peron's torture of students, academics, and trade union Leaders and come heer acting like nothing happened?Why weren't you down there to defend him? Oh yeah, I get it, you couldn't come down because you failed to get your snout in the trough. Bummer, eh?

    Oct 21st, 2017 - 12:52 pm +3
  • Little J

    Dear Mr. Massot, and others

    Frankly comparing the Dictatorship that ruled Argentina in the 197'0's with the current government shows a total lack of knowledge of what happened then and what the current situation is with the Macri government. In the 1970' over 30.000 persons went “missing”, there were ilegal detentions, etc.which anybody who lived in Argentina at the time and subequently kept abreast of the fiindings of the Committee set up to investigate theses issues will recall. I cannot agree that this the situation with the current government, nor for that matter it's predecessor.

    Personally I strongly believe and sustain that the judicial system is improving - albeit slightly and slowly - and that the truth of what actually happened will come to light at some point. In the meantime we should respect the family of the deceased, allow them to get over this dreadful incident to grieve the loss of a dear-one in peace, quietness and total respect from us all.. And above all avoiding that this whole unfortunate matter become “politized” by any political party, whatever their leanings may be.Let the electorate decide what they consider best for the country and go forward from there.

    Oct 21st, 2017 - 02:13 pm +3
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