Argentina’s minister of culture resigned on Wednesday after facing strong public pressure to step down for questioned the number of forcibly disappeared people during the country’s military dictatorship.
“It was an intense experience,” said Dario Loperfido, an ally of President Mauricio Macri, referring to his post as the city’s minister of culture. He added that his decision was tied to controversial remarks he had issued earlier this year.
Loperfido, who issued the comments in January, refused to acknowledge official figures which cite that 30,000 people disappeared during the country’s military dictatorship of 1976-1983, mocking the longtime efforts of local human rights groups.
“There were no 30,000 disappeared, the activists made that number up to get subsidies,’’ Lopérfido stated earlier this year.
In response to his comments, human rights and large groups of artists staged protests throughout the country calling for his resignation. Meanwhile, in an online petition via change.org, organizers calling for his resignation obtained more than 9,000 signatures.
In 1976 the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Isabel Peron ushered in years of state violence in which 30,000 Argentines were disappeared and countless others murdered and tortured.
Throughout the country’s liquidation program aimed at communist and perceived communist sympathizers, condoned and funded by the U.S. with current Hillary Clinton supporter Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State, innumerable atrocities were committed by the military, including the practice of giving the children of murdered and disappeared leftists to right-wing regime supporters.
Campaign groups, like the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, still fight for justice and look for their stolen grandchildren.