Grapevine: An open wound

Grapevine: An open wound

Twenty seven years after the attack on the Israel Embassy in Buenos Aires, the anguish caused to the families of the victims and the scar left on Argentina’s legal system, which has failed to bring the perpetrators to justice, will not go away.

Notwithstanding the passage of time, certain Argentine officials believe in the importance of honoring the memories of the victims. One such official is Argentina’s Ambassador to Israel Mariano Caucino, who this week hosted a commemorative gathering at his residence to recall the events of March 17, 1992.

At the time of the attack Ambassador Daniel Carmon had been consul and administrative officer at the embassy in Buenos Aires, and as a survivor of the tragedy, shared his memories of the nightmarish event.

“The chronological distance does not soften the pain,” said Carmon, who emphasized that the attack was not only an attack against Israel but also an attack on Argentina.

Carmon described the moments before and after the explosion. He was wounded and hospitalized for a few days. His wife, also present at the embassy at the time of the attack, did not survive. A few days later Carmon flew home to Israel, where he stayed for 28 days, and then returned to Buenos Aires to complete his mission at the embassy, where he worked for three more years, in various positions.

Referring to the attacks against both the Israel Embassy in 1992 and against AMIA in 1994, Carmon said: “Some people try to distance the two attacks, even though the two share elements and perpetrators and ideologists. Therefore, we must look at the two as a continuity”.

Caucino had invited several diplomatic colleagues as well as prominent representatives of the Argentine community in Israel and Israeli diplomats, who shared their experiences and views on terrorism and the need to fight it with strength and determination.

Among those present were Argentine soccer player Rodrigo Javier, Chile Ambassador Fernandez Gaete, Colombia Ambassador Carlos Morales, Mexico Ambassador Pablo Macedo, Spain Ambassador Manuel Gomez Acebo, Honduras Ambassador Mario Castello, and Dominican Republic Ambassador John Guiliani.

 Also in attendance were representatives from the embassies of Paraguay and Uruguay, as well as a 12-member group from Argentine Jewish institutions, headed by president of DAIA (Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations), Jorge Knoblovits.

Representing Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry were deputy director-general for Latin America Ambassador Modi Ephraim and director for South America Ambassador Shmulik Bass.

Dorit Shavit, a former Israel ambassador to Argentina, and Jaime Aron, a former Israel ambassador to Colombia, were also among Caucino’s guests. Aron said that he and his family miraculously avoided death when his Bogotá residence was devastated by a bomb attack.

Caucino and all present emphasized the importance of working together to combat terrorism in its changing forms. Caucino also praised Carmon’s strength of character and thanked him for his valuable testimony. He credited the idea of hosting the remembrance event to his Israeli counterpart in Argentina, Ambassador Ilan Sztulman, who headed a similar gathering in Buenos Aires attended by members of the Argentine Cabinet of Ministers.

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