Argentina's Defense minister Agustín Rossi said that secret minutes dating back to the military dictatorship of 1976-83 will be available for the public to read and study, while admitting that he did not know why the documents had not been discovered previously.
A week ago Rossi called a press conference to announce that around 1500 documents concerning repression unleashed by the 1976/83 military regime had been found in a cellar at the Air Force building the previous week and handed over by an officer.
Speaking in an interview Rossi explained that once [the documents] are 100% ordered, they would be freely accessible for anybody. The politician also ruled out any prospect of the government filtering information held in the files.
We are still analyzing the material but the minutes of meetings prior to the Junta, in which the three Secretary-Generals of each military force met in order to decide the actions that the Junta would later carry out, are included amongst other things, Rossi revealed.
The minister also asserted that the release of the documents was not an effort by the government to link the Clarín Group with Papel Prensa (newsprint monopoly) and the dictatorship, therefore weakening the media giant.
The truth is that we have never tried to take advantage of the Papel Prensa issue; that was what the military Junta did, he fired.
Between September 1976 and November 1977 there are 13 minutes which discuss the matter. From a total of 36 minutes, 13 represents more than a third. That is significant.
It is also clear that for the Junta, Papel Prensa was a part of the same theme as the detention of [ex-owners] the Graiver family... this appears clearly in the minutes,” he added.
“The thing is that they bought Papel Prensa newsprint and that situation was discussed by the Junta members. It’s obvious that it was not a minor topic”, concluded Rossi.
The original Papel Prensa idea was floated by dictator Juan Carlos Onganía, who ruled Argentina between 1966 and 1970 and wanted to establish a newsprint manufacturer in order to promote industrialization via import substitution. But Papel Prensa SA was actually founded in 1971, during General Alejandro Lanusse’s dictatorship.
Later, during Juan Perón’s third presidency (1973-1974), businessman David Graiver, allegedly linked to the left-wing Peronist organization Montoneros, purchased the private shares of the newsprint. Graiver died in a strange plane accident in México in August, 1976. His heirs were his wife, Lidia Papaleo, and his daughter Sol. Papaleo and other members of the so-called Graiver group were reportedly kidnapped by the dictatorship squads, tortured and forced to sell Papel Prensa newsprint to Fábrica Argentina de Papel para Diarios (FAPEL SA) on November 2, 1976, which later sold its shares to the dailies La Nación, Clarín and La Razón.
Rossi also announced that the Air Force will be in charge of protecting the documents as a sign of change in one of the forces that unleashed repression in Argentina, focusing mainly in the Western part of Buenos Aires province.