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Héctor Timerman

Héctor Marcos Timerman (16 December 1953 – 30 December 2018) was an Argentine journalist, politician, human rights activist and diplomat. He served as his country's Minister of Foreign Relations from 2010 to 2015, during the presidency of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.[1]

Héctor Timerman
Timerman en sept 2015 (cropped).jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship
In office
22 June 2010 – 10 December 2015
PresidentCristina Fernández de Kirchner
Preceded byJorge Taiana (as Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina)
Succeeded bySusana Malcorra
Ambassador to the United States
In office
10 December 2007 – 18 June 2010
PresidentCristina Fernández de Kirchner
Preceded byJosé Octavio Bordón
Succeeded byAlfredo Chiaradía
Personal details
Born
Héctor Marcos Timerman

(1953-12-16)16 December 1953
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died30 December 2018(2018-12-30) (aged 65)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Political partyJusticialist Party
Other political
affiliations
Front for Victory (2003–2018)
Spouse(s)Annabella Selecki
Alma materColumbia University

Contents

Life and timesEdit

Early life and careerEdit

Héctor Timerman was born in Buenos Aires, to Risha (née Mindlin) and Jacobo Timerman. He was of Lithuanian Jewish descent.[2]

He was named editor-in-chief of La Tarde, one of a number of periodicals owned by his father, in 1976, and steered the daily in support of the newly installed dictatorship.[3] His father's kidnapping on 15 April 1977 prompted Timerman to become active in the defense of human rights, however, and in 1978 he was exiled to New York City, where, in 1981, he co-founded Americas Watch, the Western Hemisphere counterpart to Helsinki Watch that proceeded the creation of the unified Human Rights Watch. He later served in the board of directors of the Fund for Free Expression, a press freedom advocacy group based in London.[4] During his exile in the U.S, he gained American citizenship.[5]

Journalist and activistEdit

Timerman earned a master's degree in international relations at Columbia University in 1981, and wrote several op-ed columns for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and The Nation. After returning to Argentina in 1989, he founded two news magazines, Tres Puntos and Debate, and became a regular contributor to Noticias and Ámbito Financiero.[4] He also hosted a television news interview program, Diálogos con Opinión. Timerman was an early adherent to Congresswoman Elisa Carrió's center-left ARI. Following elections in 2003, however, he became a close supporter of President Néstor Kirchner.[6]

Timerman remained active in human rights advocacy. He served as a director of the Buenos Aires office of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights from 2002 to 2004, and was President of the International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience. Timerman was the first witness to give testimony in the trial of Christian von Wernich, a former Buenos Aires Province Police chaplain convicted of complicity in numerous dictatorship-era murders and tortures (including that of his father).[6] He published his observations on this issue in a 2005 book, Torture.[4]

Foreign MinisterEdit

 
Foreign Minister Timerman and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Feb. 2012

President Néstor Kirchner appointed Timerman Consul General in New York City in July 2004, and in December 2007, he was named Argentine Ambassador to the United States. Differences between President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, and an incident in which she called Taiana's loyalty into question, reportedly led to Taiana's resignation on 18 June 2010;[7] Taiana's replacement by Timerman was announced the same day.[8]

Timerman's tenure was marked by intensified diplomatic foreign controversies. Bringing perpetrators of the 1994 AMIA bombing to justice was prioritized, pursuant to which he persuaded the neighboring government of Bolivia to cut short a state visit to that country in 2011 by Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi (whose arrest Argentine authorities had sought since 2007 in connection with the attack),[9] while also working to establish a Truth Commission jointly with Iran in 2013 to investigate the 1994 bombing.[10] He likewise advanced ongoing efforts against vulture funds seeking payment at face value on bonds bought from resellers for pennies on the dollar, and whose attempts to block payments to all other bondholders continued to threaten Argentina's successful earlier debt restructuring.[11][12]

The longstanding Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute figured prominently during Timerman's tenure as well. Timerman said, "We have been trying to find a peaceful solution for 180 years. I think the fanatics are not in Buenos Aires."[13] His policy regarding the dispute remained assertive, refusing to accept a letter from a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands who ambushed Timerman following talks in February 2013 with U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague,[14] obtaining declarations in support of Argentine sovereignty from African and Latin American nations,[15] and later declaring that the Falklands "will be under our control within 20 years."[16] He nevertheless described the dispute in January 2014 as a "peaceful struggle".[15]

Arrest and deathEdit

Timerman was arrested in late 2017 under charges of covering up Iranian involvement in the 1994 AMIA bombing which left 85 people dead. He died of cancer while he was under arrest on 30 December 2018.[17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Argentina names envoy to US as foreign minister". The Guardian. 19 June 2010.
  2. ^ Bryan Ryan (1991). Hispanic writers: a selection of sketches from Contemporary authors. Gale Group.
  3. ^ "Timerman dirigió un diario que defendía la dictadura". Perfil. 3 November 2007.
  4. ^ a b c "Curriculum vitae" (PDF). Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Timerman, un progresista que paso por exilio, el periodisimo, la militancia y la diplomacia". La Nacion. 30 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Un kirchnerista fiel, al palacio San Martín". La Nación. 18 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Una frase de Cristina molestó a Taiana y lo llevó a presentar la renuncia". Clarín. 18 June 2010.
  8. ^ "Argentine Foreign Minister Taiana in shock resignation". BBC News. 18 June 2010.
  9. ^ "Bolivia apologises to Argentina for Iran minister visit". BBC News. 1 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Argentina says Iran committed to probing 1994 bombing". Reuters. 28 September 2013.
  11. ^ Arthur Phillips and Jake Johnston (2 April 2013). "Argentina vs. the Vultures: What You Need to Know". CEPR.
  12. ^ "Africa and Latin America Still Fight Vulture Funds". Huffington Post. 14 November 2012.
  13. ^ "Argentina vows to control Falklands". 5 February 2013 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  14. ^ Dominiczak, Peter (5 February 2013). "Argentina's foreign minister refuses to speak to Falkland Islander". The Daily Telegraph.
  15. ^ a b "A Peaceful Struggle". Embassy of Argentina in the United States. 3 January 2014.
  16. ^ "Falklands will be under our control within 20 years, says Argentina". The Guardian. 5 February 2013.
  17. ^ "Héctor Timerman, Argentine diplomat and foreign minister, dies at 65". The Washington Post. 30 December 2018. Retrieved 2 January 2019.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Jorge Taiana
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2010–2015
Succeeded by
Susana Malcorra