May 21 1981
Jacobo has been frequenting headlines since his public opposition to Reagan’s nomination of Ernest Lefever as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanatarian Affairs. I read in Clarin today that during the hearing, a U.S. Senator asked Lefever if he would ever speak against the “disappearances”. Lefever responded outrageously, saying, and I quote verbatim “i Believe my job is to help sensitize the entire foreign policy establishment to the concern for human rights rather than play a Sir Galahand role going around the world on person missions.”
I almost spilled my morning coffee. Jacbo wasn’t technically allowed to testify as a foreigner, but he made his rounds on the press junket. I’m going to redact what he said:
“Do you expect to change a government with a policy? No, if you want to change the government you have to send in the Marines. What a human rights foreign policy does is save lives. And Jimmy Carter’s policy did. How many? I don’t know. Two thousand? Is that enough? But that policy is even more important to you than to us. It builds up a democratic consciousness in the United States. It is more important for the United States that Lefever be defeated than for Argentina. I am very disappointed in President Reagan. A new administration is entitled to change an approach, to change a strategy, but not to change a policy. The policy of human rights belongs to United States history. This administration is not changing a strategy, but an ideology.”
It’s incredible how the story of la opinion has become such an international sensation, and with Jacobo as the poster boy! Who thought.. Since the last assets of the magazine were sold late last year, I’m beginning to feel incredibly aimless. I write a daily column for La Razon, but the work is hardly fulfilling. The leadership lacks the tenacity of La Opnion. Quite frankly, I don’t think anything else will ever compare. Jacobo and my former colleagues and La Opnion. I don’t feel inspired. I write articles about mundane pleasantries that make me so ill I can’t bear to read them after they’re written. I think I’ve lost my integrity.
The fate of my “disappeared” colleagues remains largely unknown. I try not to think about them too much, but sometimes I can’t help it. I had coffee with the wife of a dear friend of mine, one of the political editors, who hasn’t been heard from. The anniversary of Roberto’s disappearance is coming up, I brought empanadas to take the edge off. She’s faring ok. Her hands shake as she drinks her coffee and I pretend not to notice. Her parents help them out a lot, she told me— them meaning her and her three boys, all under the age of twelve.
Still, they’re just trying to live, day by day…
Until next time,
I’ve included a picture of Jacobo’s book jacket for posterity