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Tue Feb 25, 2020, 10:17 PM

Tex Harris, U.S. diplomat who helped bring Argentine dictatorship's crimes to light, dies at 79

Allen “Tex” Harris, the United States diplomat who helped save the lives of Argentines during the brutal 1976-83 military dictatorship, has died.

The tall, robust ex-U.S. official, who commanded great respect in the human rights community, passed away on Monday, sources close to the family confirmed. He was 79.

Beginning his service in 1965, Harris served in the U.S. Foreign Service for 36 years.

Sent by President Jimmy Carter to monitor Argentina's military dictatorship and its nuclear ambitions, Harris arrived in Buenos Aires in June 1977 - where he served as a human rights officer in the U.S. Embassy.

But after learning of the human rights abuses at that time, efforts to combat state-sponsored terror quickly became his primary focus.

Receiving thousands of complaints denouncing abuses perpetrated by the Jorge Videla regime (1976-81), Harris opened the doors of U.S. Embassy to relatives of the missing and their details of the disappearances.

After two years, Harris compiled a comprehensive report on the fate of some 9,500 known victims, as well as the structure of the regime’s repressive apparatus.

Harris informed the U.S. government that the dictatorship had “a clear intention to exterminate” its enemies - angering both the dictatorship and U.S. defense contractors who saw $400 million in arms sales nixed by President Carter following Harris' 1978 report.

In 2000, he established the “Tex Harris Award” for creative dissent by a Foreign Service specialist, honoring those who broke ranks to denounce crimes.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/world/us-activist-for-disappeared-tex-harris-dead-at-79.phtml

U.S. diplomat Allen "Tex" Harris, 1940-2020.

Harris marshaled U.S. Embassy resources to document and draw attention to the Argentine military regime's human rights abuses in the late 1970s.

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