On Academe and the list was Re: NACLA and Colombia

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at SPAMarnet.com.ar
Sat Dec 16 12:03:27 MST 2000

En relación a Re: On Academe and the list was Re: NACLA and Col,
el 16 Dec 00, a las 10:51, Louis Proyect dijo:

> One of the participants is Argentine politician Graciela Fernandez Mejide,
> a "human rights crusader turned lawmaker" who perhaps Nestor knows
> something about.

This is like throwing a piece of juicy raw meat to a shark! Not done, Proyect,
tsk, tsk, tsk.

Graciela Fernández Meijide, AKA (_by her own followers_) as "La bruja" -that
is, "The Witch"- is a typical gorilla turned human by the years of lead (1976-
1983). Let me give you a short glimpse at the history of this archetype.

Graciela Fernández Meijide, néé Graciela Castagnola and married to a
professional (architect? not sure) whose family name she eagerly clung to (1),
had never had anything to do with politics. She was "apolitical", in that
reactionary sense that individualist liberalism resorts to when had always been
a political nullity, a characteristic "señora gorda" (that is, a "fat lady") as
they are known in Argentina: rich, fat women who boast their rings and
necklaces  and display a reactionary view of the world condensed in their
absolute lack of interest for whatever goes beyond their personal fancies.
Those who have followed Quino's _Comedie humaine_ known as the "Mafalda" comics
will remember the character "Susanita". Well, Graciela Fernández Meijide was a
typical Susanita. Graciela F. M., left to herself and untouched by history,
would have turned out to be yet another foolish woman with no explicit
political ideas, thus an objective supporter of the established regime.

But she suffered a tremendous coup when a son of hers was sequestered,
disappeared and eventually murdered by the dictatorship. This personal tragedy
turned her into a militant of human rights, who dedicated her life to fight for
his son and the memory of this son. Not of the _ideals_ for which he died, let
us put it clear. Just the martirology in itself.

Thus she became an excellent figure for the post-1982 war political move that
put in the first line of struggle a depoliticized "human rights" issue (much in
the Jimmy Carter line). In  a tetric sense this meant, in practice, killing the
murdered twice by extending their political defeat to the defeat of the ideas
they had fought for. But since people such as Graciela FM had, in the end, no
serious political ideas, for her the matter was to be settled when her personal
tragedy was settled.

Thus, she proved to be an extraordinary piece in the move that transformed the
whole "human rights" issue in a petty bourgeois antimilitarist rage, thus
further deepening the rift that had been established by the Junta commanders
between the Armed Forces and the civilians.

Later on, after the Frente del Sur experience in a new National Revolutionary
Front was destroyed from by Jozami and other allies of Chacho Alvarez, she
joined forces with Alvarez in constituting the emasculated "Frente Grande", the
local expression of the "Buenos Aires consensus", and a safety valve invented
by the system to release the pressure that the impoverishing petty bourgeoisie
of Buenos Aires had begun to gather.

This Frente Grande was one of the feet of the table known as "Alianza", the one
that provided the arch-reactionary De la Rúa with a petty bourgeois coverage
against Menemism (this time impersonated in Duhalde, the Peronist candidate in
the last Presidentials).  In fact, De la Rúa would have never been able to win
the election without the Frente Grande and the central piece of the Frente
Grande, the Frepaso of Alvarez. The electoral agreement, based on an optimistic
evaluation of the situation in the Province of Buenos Aires, was that De la Rúa
would be President, Alvarez Vice President, and Graciela FM Governor of Buenos

The Alianza won the national elections. Graciela Fernández Meijide, one of the
"great electors" in the Alianza, however, lost (unexpectedly for many) against
the Peronist candidate Carlos Ruckauf, and found herself in the uncomfortable
situation of having nothing in her hands. So she was awarded the Ministry of
Social Action, which she has managed with utter lack of efficiency up to this

However, in a display of her great principles, she has turned her back on her
former allies in the Frente Grande -Alvarez (the Vice President who has
recently resigned) in the first place- and studiously continued to suck from
the nipple of the Cow State at her post, accepting any measure that De la Rúa
would take.

In a nutshell: a typical upper petty bourgeois who industrialized the death of
her own son in order to achieve some well rewarding post in the Government.
This is Graciela Fernández Meijide (néé Castagnola) in my ruthless mood of
today. Corrections must certainly be made to this bleak picture, but the
central characteristics of the character are, believe me, well depicted.

Next time, Lou, please give me a less unsavory model to portrait.


(1) Double family names have an aristocratic air here in Argentina, even in the
case when they have nothing of aristocratic in actual origin. There are
exceptions: yours truly, a "Gorojovsky Schuminer", can't even dream of having a
double family name. Castagnola is another case. As ironically stated by a
character in a novel by Ernesto Sábato, most Italians or Jews can't make "one"
family name out of those of both their parents. Thus, "Castagnola de Fernández"
-the "correct" family name that would have had to take Graciela FM after
marriage- had no upward mobility music, thus she sunk her own name in the
garbage can as soon as she could.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar

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