On August 1, in the midst of a confrontation between the Lof Cushamen Mapuche community in Patagonia (a community fighting for their ancestral lands in the southern part of Argentina, which are currently occupied by large corporations like Benetton and Lewis groups, among others) and the Argentine Gendarmerie (border patrol), Santiago Maldonado (an activist) went missing.
Multiple witnesses saw Maldonado being detained by the Gendarmerie and put into a van. Yet, there is no official record of his detainment, and nothing has been seen or heard of him since.
This case recalls the tens of thousands of forced disappearances that occurred under Argentina’s military dictatorship between 1976–1983, but now under a democratically elected government.
Few days ago, a body was found floating in the icy waters of a southern Argentina river, the body is that of Maldonado…
“Where is Santiago Maldonado?” was a hot topic in social media in Argentina for several months, loaded with anger and frustration.
The “search” is over, Santiago is dead. To ask Where is Santiago Maldonado is no longer appropriate. The question now is WHAT HAPPENED to Santiago Maldonado?
These are dark, sad and shameful days for Argentina.
And a tragic day for humans rights and justice.