Home LATEST NEWS Argentina: trial of a massacre of Indigenous people a century later

Argentina: trial of a massacre of Indigenous people a century later


the truth trialwhich will be spread over nine hearings spread over a month, began on Tuesday in a court in Resistencia (northeast) in the province of Chaco, where, on July 19, 1924, what is known as the massacre of Napalpi.

That day, a force of around 100 police, soldiers and civilian settlers opened fire on members of the Qom (or Toba) and Moqoit (Mocovi) communities in a reserve, which served as a de facto reservoir of manpower. work for the cotton fields and where a revolt has just taken place against living conditions of quasi-slavery.

The massacre caused several hundred deaths, between 300 and 500 according to survivors, men, women, children whose bodies were sometimes mutilated, then thrown into a common grave. The crackdown continued for several months, according to the Human Rights Secretariat, a government agency.

This trial for the truth seeks to approach the reality of the facts. He does not seek criminal responsibility, but to know the truth, in order to rehabilitate the memory of the peoples, to heal the wounds, to repair and also to activate the memory and the conscience that these human rights violations must not happen again.said judge Zunilda Niremperger, opening the trial.

We will demonstrate in a concrete and clear way who participated, and who was responsible for this genocide, said federal prosecutor Federico Garniel, in charge of the prosecution. The Province of Chaco, the Human Rights Secretariat and the Everyño Aboriginal Institute are co-plaintiffs in the proceedings.

Read:  Turkmenistan: an election to ratify the father-son succession

The massacre was qualified by justice as a crime against humanity, giving it an imprescriptible character.

The words of the survivors

Men seated at a table in front of a banner calling for justice for the Napapli massacre.

Efforts to shed light on the Napapli massacre and obtain justice began in 2004.

Photo: Wikimedia commons / Carlos Diaz Vexelman

The procedure began in 2004, with since the patient collection of clues and testimonies and a desire to hear all the parties, descendants of the settlers as well as of the indigenous communities.

Incredibly enough after nearly a century, the investigation has found eyewitnesses. The trial was also able to hear the testimony, filmed in 2014, of Pedro Valquinta, a centenarian who has since died, then of Rosa Grilo, who allegedly approximately between 110 and 114 years old, and could also testify in person at the hearing if his health permits.

For me it’s sad, they killed my dad. I almost don’t want to remember anymore. »

A quote from Rosa Grilo, survivor of the massacre

[Ce sont] sad things. A lot of people, they killedsaid Rosa Grilo in a mixture of Spanish and her Qom language, in testimony filmed in 2018 as part of the investigation and broadcast on Tuesday, during the hearing partly broadcast online.

I was a child, but not that small […] My grandfather and my mum were shouting “Run, run”, and we fled towards the forest. There we lived eating carobs, drinking thistle water […] I don’t know why they killed children, old people. Lots of pain…said Rosa.

In another filmed document, Juan Chico, a historian of Qom origin who died last year of COVID-19, explained how Napalpi is a subject that is very dear to us, which has become invisible, but which in recent years has begun to re-emerge.

There is, in the communities, a cultural memory, which must be received by justice, he estimated. Historians regularly recall how the construction of Argentina as a nation, throughout the 19and century, went through a submission of the indigenous peoples falling under extermination.

More than any other, the episode says to the Conquest of the Desert — not deserted at all — which incorporated Patagonia into the Argentine nation at the cost of at least 14,000 dead among the southernmost ethnic groups.

Only about one million Argentines, out of 45 million inhabitants, define themselves today as a member or descendant of one of the 39 original ethnic groups, according to the 2010 census. Since 1994, the Constitution recognizes the rights of peoples indigenous.

Previous articleThe Large Collider restarts this week
Next articleAfter the supernovae, here are the micronovae!