Chapter

Finding a Cynical Center

David M. K. Sheinin

in Consent of the Damned

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780813042398
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043005 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813042398.003.0006
Finding a Cynical Center

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The 1987 Easter Week military uprising shook Argentines in suggesting that military rule might again be possible. In response, Alfonsín moved to consolidate his government through strengthening more moderate factions within the Armed Forces by ending what many officers viewed as an “assault” on their dictatorship records. The exculpatory Due Obedience and Final Point laws may well have contributed to the marginalization of dictatorship-era figures within the Armed Forces. At the same time, though, the laws severely damaged Alfonsín’s reputation on human rights. Even so, and while the government redoubled its efforts on damage control over its human rights record, policy remained largely unchanged. In the face of ongoing dramatic economic challenges, human rights progress remained limited, despite Alfonsín’s claims to the contrary. While new government bureaucracies responded to complaints and chased down information and perpetrators, only small numbers of disappeared were found and few perpetrators faced justice of any sort. In the international community, the Alfonsín administration became more cynical through the late 1980s, focused on human rights but willing to compromise objectives for the sake of improved commercial or strategic ties.

Keywords: Raúl Alfonsín; Easter Week Uprising; Argentina; Human Rights; Military; Due Obedience; Final Point; Armed Forces; Justice

Chapter.  8954 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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