One of Argentina's most high-profile human rights leaders, Estela de Carlotto, came under fire this week for comments in which said she had "forgiven" the governor of San Luis province, Alberto Rodríguez Saá, over a letter he sent during the military dictatorship to former Army chief, the convicted human rights abuser, Emilio Massera.
UCR Radical Party leaders in the province of San Luis, on Monday questioned Carlotto and said that, unlike the internationally renowned activist, "they will never stop opposing the perpetrators of genocide and their collaborators".
"Only the petty, insensitive and timorous can ignore, look the other way or become distracted from the horror which Argentines lived through and we do not forget, we do not forgive, nor will we reconcile [with the perpetrators of the dictatorship's crimes]; and will demand justice and punishment," they said in an open letter.
The president of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo told reporters last week that she had forgiven Rodríguez Saá for a letter he sent to Massera in 1978 calling for "exemplary punishment for the subversives" in his province, in reference to members of Argentina's left-wing.
"If one kept such bad memories, few of us would be left standing. They [the Rodríguez Saá family] have returned to the fold and we welcome them back," Carlotto said last week.
The open letter was signed by national lawmaker José Riccardo; the grandson of former governor Elías Adre, Guillermo Adre; the mayor of the City of San Luis Enrique Ponce; relatives of Pedro Valentín Ledesma, who was disappeared during the dictatorship; teacher and former political prisoner, Silvia Lacreu and former chancellor of the UNSL university, Esther Picco, among others.
SUPPORT FOR CFK
Carlotto's comments come as the Peronist movement tries to reshuffle in time for the 2019 general elections.
Rodríguez Saá was one of the first Peronist leaders to accommodate former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's electoral ambitions following her political movement's defeat at the 2015 general elections.
For her part, Carlotto has long supported Fernández de Kirchner and shown her willingness to defend the former head of state against accusations of corruption and abuse of power.
"What are they trying to do with the former president Cristina? They want to wipe her off the political map, cancel her out, and if they can, take her to prison", Carlotto told the Times in January, criticising the Mauricio Macri government's record on human rights.