Argentinean cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich has dismissed any advice from US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). On Friday, January 30, he responded to the proposal for an international investigation into the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, describing it as “undue intervention” into Argentinean sovereignty.
“Our country is autonomous, sovereign and independent, and with this imperial vision Senator Rubio ignores the United Nations Charter and the principle of self-determination of peoples,” said the Kirchnerista official during a press conference.
Capitanich also asserted that “guarantees exist for a profound and exhaustive investigation [in Argentina]” and described Rubio as an example of a “most stubborn right-winger.” The former governor of Chaco Province also branded the Florida senator’s comments as a “gratuitous attack” on Argentinean citizens.
Rubio, recently named chair of the US Senate Foreign Relations Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, sent a letter to John Kerry, US Secretary of State, in which he claimed to be “increasingly concerned about the ability of the Government of Argentina to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into [Nisman’s] death.” Rubio called for the government of President Barack Obama to “to support the establishment of an independent, internationally assisted investigation into Mr. Nisman’s suspicious death.”
“I further ask that the Administration does all it can do to ensure that Mr. Nisman’s investigations into the AMIA attacks and Iranian activities in the region continue without obstacles,” the letter, dated Thursday, January 29, continued.
“As you intensify discussions with the Iranian regime, including with some officials whose names have surfaced in Mr. Nisman’s work, it is more important than ever for the American public and lawmakers to clearly understand the nature of Iran’s activities in our own hemisphere, now as well as in the past.”
Former opposition candidate for the Argentinean presidency Sergio Massa has proposed a similar initiative to Senator Rubio, stating that investigating experts should be “devoid of any interests.”
Such an initiative has a precedent in the case of the death in 2009 of Guatemalan lawyer Rodrigo Rosemberg, which was resolved by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).
Nisman “Didn’t Trust” Security Detail
Alberto Nisman was heading investigations into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which left 85 dead and hundreds wounded. On Sunday, January 18, the judicial official was found dead in the bathroom of his apartment with a gunshot to the head and a 22-caliber pistol lying nearby.
On the Wednesday prior to his death, Nisman had presented a complaint against President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, accusing them of covering for Iranian officials presumed responsible for the terrorist attack.
The prosecutor was due to appear on Monday, January 19, in Argentina’s National Congress to give further evidence before a closed-door inquiry.
Prosecutor Viviana Fein, in charge of investigating the case, is currently waiting for the results of examinations of security-camera footage from Nisman’s apartment building.
Fein aims to compare the CCTV footage with the testimony given by Diego Lagomarsino, Nisman’s judicial colleague who was the last to see him alive, and who gave Nisman the weapon that was used to take his life.
The prosecutor has charged Lagomarsino with handing a weapon to Nisman when he had no authorization to carry it, but has clarified that there’s no evidence to suggest that he had any direct role in Nisman’s death.
According to Lagomarsino, Nisman had asked for the weapon because he was “afraid for the girls [his daughters],” and “didn’t trust” the state security officials assigned for his protection.
Fein is also scheduled to evaluate the analysis of DNA recovered from the weapon and Nisman’s clothing.
The prosecutor was buried in a small ceremony on Thursday in the La Tablada Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Present at the service were friends, family, and Jewish community leaders. Nisman was laid to rest near to the 85 victims of the AMIA attack, in a section of the cemetery reserved for those considered to be martyrs.
Translated by Laurie Blair. Edited by Fergus Hodgson.