#Obama to Declassify #US Records on #Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’

Soldiers with automatic rifles control access to Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires.

Ahead of his visit to Argentina, the U.S. president will release military and intelligence records on U.S. involvement during the 1876-1983 dictatorship.

The United States government will declassify documents from U.S. military and intelligence agencies related to Argentina’s 1976-83 “Dirty War,” the seven-year period when a U.S.-backed military dictatorship cracked down on left-wing opponents, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The move coincides with President Barack Obama’s visit to Argentina next week on the 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup that installed the dictatorship.

More than 30,000 people were killed or disappeared during that brutal period. Argentina returned to democracy in 1983. The declassification effort will include records from U.S. law enforcement agencies, the Department of Defense, the Department of State and the presidential libraries at the National Archives. It follows the declassification in 2002 of more than 4,000 State Department cables and other documents related to human rights abuses from the 1976-83 period.

“President Obama, at the request of the Argentine government, will announce a comprehensive effort to declassify additional documents, including for the first time military and intelligence records,” U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice said in a speech hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington. “On this anniversary and beyond, we’re determined to do our part as Argentina continues to heal and move forward as one nation,” she said.

On previous trips, Obama has failed to apologize to Latin American nation’s for CIA activities in the region during decades past. Argentina have welcomed the announcement. “Anything that helps analyze what happened during this chapter is a positive,” an Argentine government spokesperson told Reuters, declining to comment further
on a matter he said Obama and President Mauricio Macri would address.

Obama plans to visit Parque de la Memoria, or Memory Park, to honor the victims of that period. The U.S. president has been criticized by human rights activists and leading figures in Argentina over the timing of his visit as it coincides with the anniversary of the coup.
The right-wing Argentine president, Mauricio Macri, who took office in December 2015, has been eager to cozy up to the United States after years of fraught relations between the two countries under the leadership of the Kirchners.


Cuba’s Raul Castro in Solidarity With Venezuela Over US Decree

Delcy Rodriguez (R) meets with Raul Castro (L) and Bruno Rodriguez.
Taken from Granma website

U.S. President Barack Obama renewed a decree on March 3 that declared Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
The President of Cuba, Raul Castro, met with Venezuelan foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez in Havana, to offer solidarity over the renewed U.S. decree declaring her country a “threat.” Continue reading “Cuba’s Raul Castro in Solidarity With Venezuela Over US Decree”

Statement by White House Press Secretary on President Obama’s trip to Cuba and Argentina


President Obama and the First Lady will travel to Cuba on March 21st and 22nd and Argentina on March 23rd and 24th. In Cuba, the President will work to build on the progress we have made toward normalization of relations with Cuba – advancing commercial and people-to-people ties that can improve the well-being of the Cuban people, and expressing our support for human rights.

In addition to holding a bilateral meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro, President Obama will engage with members of civil society, entrepreneurs and Cubans from different walks of life. This historic visit – the first by a sitting U.S. President in nearly 90 years – is another demonstration of the President’s commitment to chart a new course for U.S.-Cuban relations and connect U.S. and Cuban citizens through expanded travel, commerce, and access to information.

In Buenos Aires, the President and First Family will meet with the new Argentine President, Mauricio Macri, to discuss President Macri’s reform agenda and recognize his contributions to the defense of human rights in the region. The President will deepen efforts to increase cooperation between our governments in a range of areas, including trade and investment, renewable energy and climate change, and citizen security. It has been nearly two decades since the last bilaterally focused visit by a U.S. President to Argentina, Latin America’s third largest country.

Cuba to Raise US Occupation of Guantanamo During Obama Visit

Cuba has maintained that the full restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries depends on the satisfactory resolution of issues like the blockade and Guantanamo.

“Therefore, for us, discussing matters such as this and others, form part of this effort we are making to build a new relationship with the United States,” said Vidal.

After five decades of tension between the two countries, with diplomatic relations normalized only in the last year, anticipation for Obama’s visit to the island is growing.

“The U.S. president will be welcomed by the government of Cuba and its people, with the hospitality that characterizes us,” said Vidal. “We believe it will be an important opportunity for him to have direct contact with the Cuban reality and everything we have been doing in recent years in our country as a result of the sovereign decisions of the government of Cuba.”