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Mon Feb 29, 2016, 01:06 AM

Investigation launched into five 1976 disappearances linked to Argentine Finance Minister's family

Last edited Mon Feb 29, 2016, 01:44 AM - Edit history (1)

The Tucumán Province Public Prosecutor's office, led by Pablo Camuña, has initiated a formal inquest into the 1976 disappearance of five labor activists who were detained by security forces in the early days of Argentina's last dictatorship.

The inquest was made possible by recent testimony by former Tucumán Sugar Workers' Union (FOTIA) organizer Hugo Santillán, whose research uncovered this cold case involving the five missing sugar mill workers. Santillán, 64, is the younger brother of the renowned late FOTIA leader Atilio Santillán, who was also murdered by security forces in 1976.

The five abducted mill workers, which included union shop stewards Jesús Ortega and Pedro Silva, all worked in the Northern Sugar Company in rural Leales. The firm was owned at the time by the Prat-Gay family, and was managed by Jorge Prat-Gay - the father of current right-wing Argentine Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay.

The case has thus uncovered hitherto unknown connections between the Prat-Gay family and Argentina's last military dictatorship, whose Dirty War resulted in up to 30,000 deaths.

The family's ties to the Tucumán Province sugar industry began in 1936, when Fernando Prat-Gay, grandfather of the current Finance Minister, established the firm. Their Leales mill was one of the smallest in Tucumán until, in 1966, the newly installed dictatorship of Gen. Juan Carlos Onganía shuttered eleven rival sugar mills in the province by eliminating their federal subsidies. Over 50,000 direct layoffs resulted, and an estimated 200,000 Tucumán residents emigrated in the next few years - many of them swelling the ranks of slum inhabitants in Buenos Aires.

"What I never understood at the time," said Hugo Santillán in a Página/12 interview, "is why the Leales mill, one of the smallest and most recently-established in the province, was left out of the plant closure list when much larger and more modern plants were closed. Once Jorge Prat-Gay was appointed Chairman of the National Bank shortly after the 1976 coup, I realized why."

The Prat-Gays had joined the influential Argentine Sugar Commission (CAA) shortly before President Onganía's sugar mill closures in 1966. It was the CAA itself, controlled by the most powerful family in northwest Argentina, the Blaquiers, which submitted the plant closure list to Onganía. These closures became the principal motivation behind the wave of social unrest in Tucumán Province in the early 1970s - unrest which, in turn, prompted the brutal Operation Independence counterinsurgency campaign in 1975.

The military leader of Operation Independence, Gen. Antonio Bussi, was convicted in 2008 for his role in the estimated 2,000 disappearances (including these five). He created a slush fund at the time, the "Patriotic Sugar Fund," which collected nearly $5 million from the province's sugar barons - including $240,000 from the Prat-Gays.

Like their fellow sugar barons, the Prat-Gays also hosted a military encampment on their plantation during Operation Independence, which lasted until September 1977. In the case of the Northern Sugar Company, company housing was vacated to house the encampment, while field workers were forced to sleep in a large tent.

"I lost my job at the sugar mill when the dictatorship took power and was forced into hiding," Santillán recalls. "I couldn't go home, or to my parents' house, because military officers were constantly searching for me and harassing my family."

"That was Jorge Prat-Gay's doing - the man whose son is now Finance Minister. They are the same elitists today that they were then."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.politicargentina.com/notas/201602/12029-investigan-cinco-casos-de-desaparecidos-en-el-ingenio-de-la-familia-prat-gay.html&prev=search

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Reply Investigation launched into five 1976 disappearances linked to Argentine Finance Minister's family (Original post)
forest444 Feb 2016 OP
Judi Lynn Feb 2016 #1
forest444 Feb 2016 #2
Judi Lynn Feb 2016 #3

Response to forest444 (Original post)

Mon Feb 29, 2016, 01:50 AM

1. Horrendous! This was a heavy operation, wasn't it? Huge, ponderous, oppresive.

I am learning it was far more pervasive, more heavy-handed than I already had learned through research, and keeping alert to info. in the public realm.

Starting to see how deeply sinister it is for a Prat-Guy to be part of this administration. After reading your excellent article, I found this one while looking for info. on "Prat-Guy":

martes, 10 de noviembre de 2015

Los Unitarios Prat Gay

Prat Gay, ese señor que no soportaría un Presidente santiagueño

Pero sigamos con Don Jorge.

. . .

Durante la gestión de José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz al frente del ministerio de Economía (1976-1981, es decir todo el período que tuvo a Videla como presidente de facto), formó parte de la

En dicho período su Compañía Azucarera del Norte fue ampliamente favorecida por la política crediticia del banco oficial del que formaba parte, que le otorgó en mayo de 1980 facilidades por 1.400 millones de pesos para financiar la producción de azúcares blancos de la zafra de ese año.

Cabe acotar que en la composición del directorio de la Compañía Azucarera del Norte de la época figuraban, al menos, cinco integrantes con el mismo apellido que el director del Banco Nación aludido: Fernando de Prat Gay (presidente), Máximo de Prat Gay (vice), Jorge de Prat Gay (director delegado), Gastón y Amelia de Prat Gay (directores, sin funciones ejecutivas a cargo).

Los nostálgicos amigos de la dictadura como la Sociedad Rural y distintos empresarios, todos tomadores de préstamos, que gracias a las gestiones de Cavallo (quien apoya abiertamente a la Alianza Cambiemos) y Melconian (integrante de la misma) pagamos todos cuando estatizaron la deuda, ya deben estar sacando la cuenta de cuanto van a ganar ante un eventual triunfo de Macri, de cuya Alianza Cambiemos, Alfonso es vocero.

Pregunto: ¿realmente tomás en serio a un tipo que goza del afano de tierras a los diaguitas, que se benefició por que la deuda que contrajo su familia la pagamos todos los argentinos para agrandar su fortuna (y hasta tal vez le pagáramos sus estudios en el exterior con nuestra plata), cuando nos está dando cátedra de eficiencia y ética.?


Google translation of this info.:

. . .

But about Don Jorge.

During the administration of José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz at the Ministry of Economy (1976-1981, that is to say the entire period had Videla as president de facto), he was part of the leadership of the Central Bank.

In this period the Company Azucarera del Norte was widely favored by the credit policy of the official bank of which he was part, which awarded him in May 1980 facilities by 1,400 million pesos to finance the production of white sugar of the harvest of that year.

It should be noted that the composition of the board of the Sugar Company North of the era included at least five members with the same surname as the bank manager alluded Nation: Fernando de Prat Gay (president), Max Prat Gay (vice ), Jorge de Prat Gay (deputy director), Gaston de Prat Gay and Amelia (directors without executive functions charge).

Nostalgic friends dictatorship as the Rural Society and individual entrepreneurs, all borrowers, thanks to the efforts of Cavallo (who openly supports the Let's change Alliance) and Melconian (member of) we all pay when they nationalized the debt, and they should be taking account of how much they will earn before an eventual triumph of Macri, whose Alliance's change, Alfonso's spokesman.

I ask you really are serious a guy who enjoys the struggle intently land to diaguitas, which benefited from the debt contracted her family paid all Argentines to enlarge his fortune (and perhaps even pay him his studies in outside with our money), when we are lecturing efficiency and ethics.?

The more you inform you that you realize that calesita are always the same names (or families). Partners in the past imposed by a dictatorship, and that today could legitimize larceny through voting.

Unbelievably disgusting. Horrendous.

"Nationalizing the debt" definitely jumps right off the page, doesn't it? (Privatizing the profits, of course.) That's an old, OLD, filthy bunch of crookedness, isn't it? OMG.

Thank you for this important news on this bunch of grifters, forest444.

We can only hope to see justice, in the end.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 29, 2016, 05:29 PM

2. A more informative reply than the thread itself.

Thank you for taking time to dig a little deeper into the life and times of this very sinister man.

It stands to reason Macri would choose him as Finance Minister: just as the Prat-Gay family used their post in the National Bank in 1980 to take out loans for their Northern Sugar Company that were never repaid, the Macri family's SOCMA holdings is famous for taking advantage of the 1982 exchange rate guarantee program (a bailout, really) to pass along their high-interest debts to the Argentine government.

Except that whereas as Northern Sugar's bad debts amounted to around $1 million, SOCMA shafted the government to the tune of at least $124 million (in 1982 dollars).

And as the JP Morgan leaks revealed, Prat-Gay held large put options (possibly in the millions) before enacting the shock 40% devaluation two months ago. Like writing yourself a check, really.

Thanks again, Judi.

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Response to forest444 (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 29, 2016, 05:53 PM

3. You're so right, forest444. It really should NEVER have been allowed to happen. They are criminals

of the highest, sleaziest order.

Thank you so much for making sense of this.

I love the tone the fascists adopt when they get "sniffy" claiming the people of Argentina are trying to worm their way out of a legitimate debt. It would make a buzzard vomit.

There's NOTHING legitimate about this debt, or any other acquired under such dirty, unrighteous conditions.

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