Digitalization for truth in Argentina

28 May 2014 by Luciana Bertoia, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

At the end of October last year, Argentina’s Defence Minister Agustín Rossi received a phone call from Mario Callejo, the head of the Argentine Air Force, to tell him important news. During a clean up of the cellar of the Condor building – the Air Force headquarters – two strongboxes and several shelves packed with dusty papers were discovered, containing 280 minutes of meetings held during the former dictatorship.

Stella Segado, the head of the Defense ministry’s  Human Rights office, rushed to the building along with a group of colleagues. Amazed by the find, they immediately decided to start analyzing the documents, Segado explained to IJT. This was one of the most important archive discoveries since the return of democracy to the country. Five months later, on the 38th anniversary of the last military coup, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s administration created a virtual platform, archivosabiertos.com, to make the minutes available for public consultation. 

“We did not hesitate. We wanted people to have access to the documents,” Segado says. “The digitalization of the files is an important step forward, but the website still needs improvement, and surfing through the archives should be more straightforward” comments Lorena Balardini, coordinator of the archival research team at the Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), a prominent Argentina’s human rights organization. 

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