lundi 13 juin 2011

Les « mères » de la place de Mai épinglées

Où sont passés les sous des mémés ?

Le quotidien de gauche britannique The Guardian publie ce matin un papier d'Annie Kelly sur le scandale qui frappe l'organisation qui a beaucoup fait pour dénoncer les excès de la répression militaire contre la guérrilla d'extrême-gauche durant les années soixante-dix en Argentine.

Annie Kelly ne s'est pas foulée et son enquête est superficielle. Il est fort probable qu'elle n'entend pas l'espagnol car elle ne donne aucun renseignement sur le contexte et sur le passé des escrocs. Heureusement, la presse argentine a fait son travail. Voir deux exemples plus bas.

Il est fort probable que nous n'en saurons pas davantage dans l'hémisphère nord sur cette affaire dans la mesure où les journalistes répugnent à mettre en lumière les scandales qui éclaboussent des organisations de gauche aussi emblématiques.

L'autre scandale concernant des victimes en Argentine est resté à ce jour sans écho en Europe. Les victimes des terroristes d'extrême-gauche font l'objet d'un traitement discriminatoire scandaleux alors que leurs bourreaux bénéficient de prébendes et fréquentent les allées du pouvoir.

Pour en revenir sur le scandale, il illustre un des obstacles majeurs au fundraising en Argentine, le manque de sérieux dans l'utilisation des fonds.

Scandal hits Argentina's mothers of the disappeared

Mothers of Plaza de Mayo's former legal adviser accused over misuse of funds as presidential ally fears election backlash

Annie Kelly in Buenos Aires

For more than 30 years the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo have been a symbol of courage against adversity and the enduring battle against injustice.

Faut pas pousser. C'est une vision unilatérale par une bobo qui débarque de la première classe de British Airways sans rien vouloir connaître du contexte. Attention, le reste du papier est de la même farine.

Clad in white headscarves, the Mothers first appeared during the dark days of the Argentine dictatorship, a group of ordinary women valiantly facing down a brutal military government as they silently marched in front of Argentina's national congress demanding information about their missing children.

But now the headscarf has slipped as the Mothers have become engulfed in a corruption scandal that has stunned Argentina and could threaten to destabilise President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her government, just five months before national elections.

Last week the group was forced to fire one of its most high-profile executives over alleged misuse of funds meant for government-backed social housing projects. Prosecutors accuse the group's former legal adviser Sergio Schoklender, his brother and more than a dozen others of fraud and money laundering and of siphoning off substantial chunks of public money into personal businesses. Media reports allege that while Schoklender earned the equivalent of £13,000 to help Argentina's poor, he acquired an 18-room mansion, a yacht and sports car. Schoklender denies any wrongdoing.
La presse argentine est moins révérentieuse.

Kirchner was reportedly furious when news of the scandal broke, particularly given her close association with the group. The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo split into two factions in 1986, and the largest and most powerful group – headed by the 82-year-old Hebe de Bonafini – is a huge political ally and public relations tool of her administration.

Kirchner's late husband, the former president Néstor Kirchner, went to great lengths to establish close ties with Bonafini and the Mothers, an alliance continued by her government after she was elected in 2007.

Few political rallies are complete without a white headscarf appearing prominently next to the president, who has staked much of her public reputation on championing human rights.

Kirchner's government has also helped the Mothers transform themselves from an advocacy group into a powerful anti-poverty organisation.

Since Bonafini declared in 2006 that "there is no longer an enemy in the Casa Rosada [Argentina's seat of government]", the Kirchner cabinet has handed the Mothers more than 187m pesos (£28m) to complete thousands of social housing projects. Last week opposition politicians claimed that only 35% of these projects had so far been completed and that the Mothers and federal officials had shown a shocking failure of responsibility to the Argentine people.

Influential union leaders and the heads of other human rights groups including Las Abuelas, the group of grandmothers working to identify babies stolen from political prisoners during the dirty war of 1976 to 1983, have all called for Bonafini to be formally investigated.

Bonafini, who helped found the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo after the disappearance of her two sons and daughter-in-law, denies knowledge of any wrongdoing and has accused the Schoklender brothers of being "traitors and scammers".

"The Schoklenders are one thing and the Mothers are a completely different thing," she told Argentine national radio. "We personally carried on with the battle to vindicate our children … and no one is going to hurt our public image."

Government officials are struggling to contain the scandal and preserve the integrity of the group's reputation.

Argentina's foreign minister Héctor Timerman stated that any attack on Bonafini was inextricably an attack on the government itself.

As the scandal gathers pace, some analysts have suggested it could cause Kirchner to delay announcing whether she will run for re-election in October as her party frantically works to distance itself from the allegations.

Shaming the dictators

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo came together during Argentina's military dictatorship between 1976-83 when some 30,000 suspected people were "disappeared' in state-sponsored violence against suspected leftwing subversives. In 1977 mothers of some of the disappeared started to meet every Thursday outside congress in Buenos Aires to demand information about their missing children. With the return to civilian government in 1983, the Mothers resisted the decision to pardon "dirty war" officials and vowed to continue their fight for justice.

In Argentina the enduring memory of the Mother's bearing placards covered with the faces of their disappeared children has helped them become a powerful political and social force in the decades since the fall of the dictatorship. They are widely considered Argentina's moral compass as the country still struggles to atone for the crimes of the past. They have also become one of the world's most renowned and respected human rights organisations.

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