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ARGENTINA | 09-06-2024 17:36

Milei orders military parades for Independence Day celebrations

Defence Minister Luis Petri announces that President Javier Milei has ordered the restoration of military parades on July 9 marking Independence Day.

Argentina’s Armed Forces will once again march through the streets of Buenos Aires this July 9 after President Javiver Milei’s government announced it would bring back military parades marking Independence Day.

It will be the first time in five years that the Armed Forces will march on the holiday celebrating the declaration of independence.

“There’s a parade on July 9,” confirmed Defence Minister Luis Petri during a TV appearance last week. “The President of the nation will be there, he has asked for the return of military parades in Argentina.”

The last Independence Day parade took place in 2019, the last year of former president Mauricio Macri’s administration. The conservative leader brought back the tradition in 2016, but cancelled the 2018 edition due to the national debt crisis.

During the 15 years prior to the Macri government, the Peronist governments led by the former presidents Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner did not organise military parades as a general rule, though the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1816 was celebrated.

A parade was only organised in 2010 for the bicentennial of the May Revolution, the start of the Independence process from the Spanish crown on May 25, 1810, which became a national holiday.

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2010, parades were banned. Former president Alberto Fernández’s 2019-2023 Peronist government did not reinstate them once the health emergency was overcome.

Some modest parades did take place, though in locations such as San Miguel de Tucumán, the site where independence was declared, with music bands and regiments with historic grenadier uniforms.

In his television interview, Petri claimed that the Kirchner governments had “an anti-military bias.” He said Milei’s government wants to redeem the “historic role” of the Armed Forces.”

Since taking office last December, President Milei has introduced severe cutbacks in public spending as he attempts to right Argentina’s struggling economy. Asked as to the cost of the military parade, Petri said he did not yet have any figures.

Milei has sought to reposition the Armed Forces in the public eye during his time as head of state. This includes a reconsideration of its role during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship and calling for a “complete memory” of the era of state terrorism.

Human rights organisations estimate that as many as 30,000 people were disappeared by the security forces acting on the orders of the military junta that ruled the country. Several officials have publicly questioned that figure, while the government released a video on the anniversary of the March 24, 1976 coup stating the number of victims was closer to 8,000.


– TIMES/AFP

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