Dutch royals’ friendship with Argentine Macri criticized


This Associated Press video says about itself:

Argentines protest softening of human rights law

Buenos Aires – 10 May 2017

1. Girl handing out white scarves (symbols of the plight of Argentine human rights group, Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo) to people as they begin to arrive for rally

2. People gathered in Central Plaza de Mayo square at beginning of rally

3. Woman holding placard reading (Spanish) ‘No to the 2×1 for perpetrators of genocide

4. Man standing amongst crowd in square holding large placard reading (Spanish) ‘No forgetting, no forgiving. What is missing is to put on trial those who are responsible for the economy, those from the church and the members of the justice system.’

5. Wide of large number of people walking along central avenue to arrive in square for rally

6. One of the elderly members of humanitarian group, Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, being wheeled into square; she passes over image of white scarf painted on Plaza de Mayo Square

7. Nora Cortinas, leading member of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo humanitarian group arriving at event

8. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Nora Cortinas, Leading member, Mothers of Plaza de Mayo:

“People have come out to the street to rally to call for the reversal of the injustices that members of the justice system are inclined to commit. People using their voice, breaking the silence, will help us achieve the true justice for human rights.”

9. Top shot, large number of people gathered in Plaza de Mayo Square

10. Person dressed as the Grim Reaper carrying banner reading (Spanish) “The Supreme Court of injustice, corrupt and immoral, has liberated death”

11. Zoom out from image of man that disappeared during the 1978-1983 dictatorship in Argentina to his sister in law

12. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Ana Maria Vega, her brother-in-law was disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship:

“How can I look my grandchild and my niece in the eyes, and tell them about this (referring to the top court’s decision last week that reduced the sentence of a human rights abuser based on an interpretation of a repealed law, known locally as the 2×1 ruling). I also lost a daughter to Spain (in exile, during the dictatorship). This is what they have achieved. We can not let that the 2×1 continues. They are perpetrators of a genocide, whether it’s here or in China or even in Lujan (town in province of Buenos Aires).”

13. Top shot of people carrying large banner with images of people who disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship, through crowds into Plaza de Mayo Square

14. Wide of large number of people in Plaza de Mayo square at dusk

Buenos Aires, Argentina – 10 May 2017

++NIGHT SHOTS++

17. Various of large number of people in Plaza de Mayo square during rally

STORYLINE

Thousands of Argentines of all ages and opposing political parties joined Wednesday to protest a Supreme Court ruling that many feared would lead to the release of convicted human rights criminals.

Lower court judges denounced it as unconstitutional and rejected requests for freedom by other convicted abusers.

The Dutch royal couple and the Argentine presidential Macri couple, HH photo

This photo shows from left to right: Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Dutch Queen Máxima, Argentine presidential wife Juliana Awada and Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today, by Kysia Hekster:

King’s friendships can be risky

It is not wise for [Dutch King] Willem-Alexander and [Queen] Máxima to have friends with a distinct political profile. For his credibility as king of all Dutch people, it is important that Willem-Alexander should be above the parties. It is not for nothing that the king has the right to vote, but never votes.

Yet the Dutch royal couple are close friends with the – not uncontroversial – Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and his wife Juliana Awada. Máxima first met Macri in January 2016, at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He had then just become president of Argentina. Apparently things went well with … Máxima.

When Willem-Alexander became engaged to Máxima, there was criticism in the Netherlands of Máxima’s father, who had been Argentine minister of agriculture during the bloody military dictatorship.

Willem-Alexander then on 7 March 2001 defended his prospective father-in-law Jorge Zorreguieta by quoting Argentine ex-dictator Videla. Máxima then called, advised to say so by a Dutch senior official, that defense of her father by her fiancé ‘een beetje dom’ (a little stupid).

Because at the end of that year, King Willem-Alexander and Máxima and their three daughters spent Christmas together with the Argentinian couple and their daughter Antonia in Patagonia, where Máxima’s aunt runs a hotel. A few months earlier Maxima posed with the president, his wife and their daughter, when she visited the country for her United Nations work.

State visit

Macri and his wife visited the Netherlands in March 2017. Prior to that visit, they slept at Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn and visited the Dutch royal couple in private on the Eikenhorst, where the Orange royal family lived at the time.

Last November, Máxima was at the invitation of the Argentine president in her home country for the G20, the twenty largest economies in the world for her United Nations work. She was given an honourary place in the group photo, right behind the Argentinian presidential couple.

Macri‘s wife Juliana was also at the funeral of Máxima’s sister Inés. At the beginning of this year, the Dutch royal couple and their daughters ate again with the Argentinian president and his wife, wrote Argentinian media.

Of course the royal couple can choose their own friends. But Macri is not undisputed. During the state visit to the Netherlands, there were demonstrations by Hijos Nederland, an organization of children whose parents disappeared during the Videla regime in Argentina. The organization blames the Argentinian president for “ruling by decree, advocating milder punishment for war criminals and imprisoning human rights activists“.

Last year, Amnesty International also expressed concerns about signs of the erosion of the right to demonstration and freedom of expression under Macri. In 2015, he won the elections with the promise to put an end to the economic crisis and poverty. But he did not keep that promise.

Elections tomorrow

There are presidential elections in Argentina on Sunday. It looks like Macri will probably lose it in the first round. It is very likely that there will be a new president, Alberto Fernández, who will have nothing to do with Macri‘s political course. He is probably also a lot more distant from Macri‘s friends, including Willem-Alexander and Máxima.

This may not have immediate consequences in the Netherlands. But friendship with one president can negatively influence contacts with another, new head of state of Argentina. It is therefore important that the king also guards his political impartiality – essential in the constitutional monarchy – internationally.

2 thoughts on “Dutch royals’ friendship with Argentine Macri criticized

  1. Pingback: Argentina under right-wing President Macri | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Dutch billionaires even richer | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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