Marea Editorial

That past that persists | Tucumantes is presented

Sibila Camps is almost a seal registered in Argentine journalism. Chronicler for 40 years, with a long journey in Clarin, where he opened a gap for gender issues, is also a connoisseur of Tucuman, the small province of 22,524 square kilometers. She herself tells that she traveled "countless" times there for different reasons. Three books that could be seen as a trilogy were born from the love and horror he picked up in that territory. The last, Succulent stories to overcome the silence, it is a thorough one – always its works – archeology of the present traces of State terrorism. Tucumantes appears today, at 19.30, at the Roberto Fontanarrosa Cultural Center (San Martin 1080), with the presence of the author and the journalist Sebastian Riestra.

Why Tucuman? Operation Independence and the 700 missing persons registered – many families gave up on denouncing the terror and the persistence of a network of power that allowed Domingo Bussi to be elected governor in 1995 – could be sufficient elements but Sibila began his work cycle after knowing the testimony of a man, Juan Carlos "the dog" Clemente, who had been kidnapped in 1976, was admitted as a policeman shortly thereafter and resigned in 1984. He was able to take documentation that 33 years later made him a key witness megacausa Tucuman Police Headquarters, where deaths, torture and disappearances were judged. There were 37 convicted and four acquitted. That story and a question – how had Clemente done to live thirty-three years of life on the bodies? – were the initial kick for a book that displays other questions, rehearses some answers but above all, tells stories that hilvanan a past still in live meat

Sibila Camps published The sheriff, life and legend of the Malevo Ferreyra, in 2009 and The net. The hidden plot of the Marita Veron case, in 2013. His third book on Tucuman reveals as an engraving the marks that remain in the social plot of that province as open wounds. The story is displayed in data, dates and testimonies that the chronicler organizes with pinpoint accuracy, with the obsession of finding a document for each statement, and with an empathy that leads her to listen a little beyond what the words say, always Few to name the horror.

The book is about Tucuman, yes, and that's why its name Tucumantes. Throughout more than 200 pages you can read the particularities of state terrorism instituted in 1975, with that decree signed by Isabel Martinez de Peron that authorized the Army to annihilate subversion. The voices of Esther Toconas and her sisters reconstruct the figure of their father, Tomas Francisco Toconas, the missing person who returned to his town turned into a legend, but was previously expected for almost 40 years by his daughters. In that story, it is evident how the peasant women, those who challenged the social and patriarchal order, even if they were not silently accompanying the militancy of their husbands, suffered double punishment from the civic-military-ecclesiastical dictatorship. This is also revealed in the history of Mirta del Valle Aldeco, a woman who was captive during a lifetime of Roberto "El Tuerto" Albornoz, a mannanas from the Tucuman police who died last August serving life in his home. The story of Mirta, a compendium of violence, reveals the continuities of a class and macho power that has been trapped in its web since 1975, and is still difficult to dismantle.

To count Tucuman is also to get into the open wounds that the illegal repression left in Argentina. Especially, in that story – that of Clemente – that is the common thread of a good part of the narrative: the betrayal of those who collaborated with the genocides after being captured as members of the revolutionary organizations. The bet of Sibila Camps is to complicate, clarify, collate different voices, shorten in academic and judicial investigations, listen to one another, without prejudice or naivety and above all, listen to those who were protagonists, to let the open wounds of That past is not yet such.