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Veteranos: los 400 locos – the 400 Fools

[spanish version by Luis Angel Giannini, below]

The 400 Fools

(text and photos: Antonio Amendola/S4C)

You can literally stumble into stories.

I was in Buenos Aires a few days ago and happened to walk through downtown Plaza de Mayo. I saw  a tent in the middle of the square, surrounded by huge sheets with slogans. Several men were in the tent and it looked pretty stable, yet “invisible”. People came and went by as they were – by now – used to see it there. And there were crosses, too, as in a graveyard.

(click to see the gallery)

(click to see the gallery)

Curious as I am, I approached a guy in front of the tent and asked who they were and what was going on.

They define themeselves “los 400 locos”, the 400 fools, of the “Campamento TOAS Plaza de Mayo”. They are veterans of the Malvinas/Falkland War and it’s already more than 6 years that they are demonstrating there, in the middle of the square, in that very tent.

(click to see the gallery)

(click to see the gallery)

They claim they are invisible, forgotten, hidden. They just ask the Governement to grant their earnt status of war veterans.

Having been deployed in the continental “operative teather” during the war (and not actually on the battle field in the Islands), a “flexible” interpretation of definition of veteran excluded them from receiving the status of war veterans, despite the actual operation, missions, etc.

[from Wikipedia: The Falklands/Malvinas War was a 1982 war between Argentina and the United Kingdom. The conflict resulted from the long-standing dispute over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which lie in theSouth Atlantic, east of Argentina.

The resulting conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982, which returned the islands to British control. During the conflict, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and 3 Falkland Islanders died. 

he conflict was the result of a protracted historical confrontation regarding the sovereignty of the islands. Argentina has asserted that the Falkland Islands have been Argentinian territory since the 19th century and, as of 2013, has not relinquished the claim.[6][7][8] The claim was added to the Argentine constitution after its reformation in 1994.[9] As such, the Argentine government characterised their initial invasion as the re-occupation of their own territory, whilst the British government saw it as an invasion of a British dependent territory. However, neither state officially declared war and hostilities were almost exclusively limited to the territories under dispute and the local area of the South Atlantic.]

 

It was a dark moment in Argentina history; one of those difficult to cope with and with a very high social and cultural impact. As all wars are.

As a consequence of having been forgotten and with no war veteran status: no health assistance, no pensions, no nothing.

They were so happy that somebody would listen to their story and asked me the favor to have their story told here.

(click to see the gallery)

(click to see the gallery)

I do not want to judges the reasons of an old war, nor I want to take a stand. I simply want to give a forgotten voice room to be heard.

When I asked Luis who they were, he replied:

Who are we?
We are those who are abandoned and forgotten, those who decided to actively figh injustice to talk about that Past that nobody wants to talk about. About a identity stolen by those  whom used us and who then wanted us to forget.
Struggling will show those bastards military and politicians that they were lied to them and more humbled we are still standing.”

If you happen to walk through Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, pay them a visit. And ask them to tell their story.

No story should be forgotten.

Antonio Amendola/S4C

————

CAMPAMENTO TOAS PLAZA DE MAYO, 400 LOCOS

Veteranos de Guerra del conflicto del Atlántico Sur- Guerra de Malvinas

(text: Luis Angel Giannini; photos: Antonio Amendola/S4C)

Quienes somos?

Somos esos que siguen abandonados y olvidados, esos que decidimos que solo luchando activamente podremos demostrar la injusticia de aquel pasado del que nadie quiere hablar. De una identidad robada por quienes nos llevaron, usaron y de quienes luego nos quisieron olvidar.
Luchando le demostraremos a esos sinvergüenzas de militares y políticos que los que mintieron fueron ellos y por mas que nos humillaron seguimos de pie, porque solo se llega a la victoria con sacrificio, exposición y trabajo. De quienes fuimos, somos, que tenemos nombre y apellido que nos enorgullece gritar “CAMPAMENTO TOAS PLAZA DE MAYO, 400 LOCOS”

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Hace casi 6 años  que decidimos plantar bandera en Plaza de Mayo para concientizar a un pueblo de esa parte de la historia que quieren seguir ocultando de los que fuimos  participes directos del Conflicto del Atlántico Sur.

 

(click to see the gallery)

(click to see the gallery)

Trabajamos en la búsqueda de la documentación, libros de guerra, ordenes operacionales, libro del plan esquemático etc. etc.  Que se habían encargado de desaparecer, eso avalo lo que venimos sosteniendo hace mas de veinte  años, ya no con nuestras palabras, sino  la del propio enemigo reconociendo sus misiones  para hacer volar las bases aéreas de donde se los atacaba y mayor daño se le ocasiono en Río Grande, Río Gallego, San Julián y Comodoro Rivadavia mas la verdad del informe Rattenbach que mando a desclasificar la Presidenta que habla de la incursiones enemigas en el continente.

La lucha activa dio  lugar a que seamos apoyados por todos los organismos de DDHH , la Liga Argentina por los derechos del hombre, APDH, SERPAJ, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Premio novel de la Paz) Madres L f y Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo,  La asociación de abogados de la ciudad de Bs. As, Juan Carr de Red Solidaria, La Iglesia Católica, Cardenal Bergoglio (hoy Papa)  y muchas Organizaciones mas. También así logramos que la asociación mas antigua de ex combatientes del mundo ARAC de Francia en Febrero del 2011 donde se reunieron todos los ex combatientes del mundo elaborara un dictamen pidiendo  se nos reconozcan e incluyan en las leyes de Veteranos de Guerra  y se lo elevara a nuestra Presidenta, Ministros y Presidentes de ambas cámaras del Congreso, dictamen que reiteran en el 2012 incluyendo el apoyo de la Federación mundial de ex combatientes.

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(click to see the gallery)

 

Dos Ministerios trabajaron mas el EMCO (Estado Mayor Conjunto) cuyo resultado dio el padrón que nos devuelve  la identidad que nos robaron de  que fuimos participes directo del conflicto,  por eso están reconocidas 17 bajas en el continente como héroes nacionales por Malvinas y la justicia Argentina así lo esta   entendiendo fallando a favor en los juicios.

Terminado el trabajo hace casi 2 años los organismos DDHH  enviaron un pronto despacho (que lleva un año) para que el Estado tome la determinación de enmendar el grave error que se cometió con nosotros.

Por eso seguiremos en esa plaza emblemática LUCHANDO esperando lo que nos CORRESPONDE, CORRESPONDE y nos negaron.

CAMPAMENTO TOAS PLAZA DE MAYO –VETERANOS DE GUERRA, 400 LOCOS

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(click to see the gallery)

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(click to see the gallery)

 

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/gpOkURgetCU” width=”560″ height=”400″ autoplay=”1″]



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