Mon, Apr 29, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Argentine junta casts shadow over new Dutch queen

AFP, BUENOS AIRES

The Argentine junta her father served has cast a shadow over the future queen of the Netherlands, Maxima, but since becoming Dutch she has tried to escape the bubble she grew up in and learn the truth.

Dutch Princess Maxima, the wife of Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander — who is set to become king tomorrow — even secretly met with relatives of victims of the brutal regime of the 1970s and 1980s in her quest for the truth.

The link with the most vicious of the Latin American dictatorships is such a burden that Maxima’s father, Jorge Zorreguieta, could not lead his daughter up the aisle at her 2002 wedding in Amsterdam.

Not only could he not attend his daughter’s wedding, but he is also not coming to the ceremonies to mark his daughter becoming queen of the politically correct Netherlands.

Maxima concealed her sadness when asked about her father.

“This is a constitutional event, when my husband becomes king and my father doesn’t belong there, especially if there are issues,” Maxima said. “He remains my father, we still enjoy our private moments.”

Maxima has admitted in the past that she was saddened by her parents’ absence from her wedding.

Her father faithfully served former Argentine president Jorge Videla’s dictatorship, first as junior minister and then as agriculture minister.

While Zorreguieta, now 85, was in government, regime opponents and others were disappearing across the country, often tortured, drugged and thrown from aircraft into the ocean.

Human rights organizations say an estimated 30,000 people were killed or disappeared.

Two civil cases have been brought against him, concerning the disappearance of a doctor and a biologist from his ministry, but he has never been charged.

Various other members of the dictatorship have been tried and jailed in Argentina, including Videla who is now serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

Zorreguieta insists that he knew nothing of the regime’s atrocities during the so-called “Dirty War.”

“There are concrete cases of people who asked him for help to find some of the disappeared and he didn’t help them,” Gonzalez Guerrero, who along with Soledad Ferrari wrote the book Maxima, a true story, told reporters.

In 2006, Maxima went to meet the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an association that seeks to reunite babies stolen by Videla’s regime with their biological parents.

“Yes, we met with Maxima,” the association’s head Estela de Carlotto told reporters.

“It was a very positive meeting. She showed that she’s not indifferent to human rights matters. She’s very sensitive and seemed very intelligent, much more connected to Argentina than I imagined,” she said.

Maxima, 41, has had to give up her Argentine nationality and is reportedly not allowed to speak Spanish in public, but is admired in Argentina, where the country is proud of her royal destiny.

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