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Our Guerra Sucia on the Border

That the U.S. government is currently engaged in a policy of disappearing immigrant children on the Texas-Mexico border should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with our role in the Argentine Military Junta’s “dirty war” (1976-1983). The strategy of disappearing was devised to eliminate anyone vaguely suspected of opposition to the Junta. A declassified memcon (Memorandum of Conversation) of October 5, 1976 from then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Admiral César Augusto Guzzetti, assured him that, “We read about human rights problems but not the context…The quicker you succeed the better…We want a stable situation. We won’t cause you unnecessary difficulties…” A post-1983 Argentine Commission on the Disappearance of People confirmed that the Argentine military routinely used extrajudicial murders — disappearing — to bring about the stability Henry Kissinger urged it to achieve. During the years of the Military Junta at least 10,000 and possibly as many as 30,000 Argentines were disappeared in the “dirty war” against so-called subversives and terrorists. The shame of our current Texas-Mexico border immigrant policy, though of a different dimension than the Argentine’s, will not disappear any time soon.

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