Santiago Maldonado was last seen as he was being forcibly dragged away by military police in Argentina on 1st August. Today marks the two-month anniversary of his disappearance. The police and the security minister, Patricia Bullrich, both deny that they have detained him. ATUS MARIQUEO-RUSSELL and CAROLE CONCHA BELL report
Two months after the disappearance of Santiago Maldonado it is becoming increasingly clear that the 28-year-old, who was participating in a protest with indigenous Mapuche people in the province of Chubut, was taken by the Gendarmerie. Eyewitnesses have stated that they saw members of the security force beating and carrying a person away in one of their vehicles.
The Macri government has consistently defamed and refused to meet his family. They have even gone so far as to claim that he has likely gone into hiding to make the police look bad, and launched raids on Mapuche communities on the pretext that he may be hiding there, which he was not.
Worryingly, in a country where the military dictatorship killed around 30,000 people from 1976-1983, the Argentinian government has refused to call this case what it is: a forced disappearance by the military police. Instead, they have done their upmost to resist conducting a proper independent investigation, and have chosen to invest in criminalising and further defaming both the Mapuche community and Santiago’s family.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and a United Nations committee, have all called for urgent action from Argentine President, Mauricio Macri. And on 1st September tens of thousands of people marched on the Argentinian capital to demanding to know the whereabouts of Santiago Maldonado. This marked the first disappearance of Macri’s premiership.