Hugo Vezzetti

* 1944

  • “At the period of dictatorship the whole left wing suffered a crushing defeat, which forced us to revise certain current attitudes and certainties. Related to this kind of ideological revision it needs to be pointed out that the group focusing around the View kept in touch with Argentinian exile intellectuals in Mexico, Spain and other countries, which mediated us the issue of European polemics of Marxism crisis after 1968. As I already suggested, other key moment in the history of the magazine meant the war of Malvinas; when it seemed that all fell for the nationalistic craze, the View took a critical attitude, condemned war as absurd and found a way to join public debate, mainly at the period of crisis, which followed after the Argentinian capitulation. The first issue after the defeat was very important and practically showed that the dictatorship came to its end; the regime had no power over general opinion, and practically anything could be spoken out loud. Very soon after that I started to work on the issue of memories and began writing at the time, the trial with army junta took place (Juicio a las Juntas, 1985).”

  • “Trials with the members of a repressive apparatus continues until today; and now the trials with lieutenants began, who were very young during the junta government and participated in system operation, part of which became all the armed forces. There is a certain issue of a legal, political and ethical nature… Crimes committed by junta are considered crimes against humanity, and therefore are imprescriptible, yet not all the judged directly participated in torture and murdering. A former lieutenant can be indicted for keeping someone, who later disappeared; without any evidence that the lieutenant was actually responsible for the death of the lost one; in any case, he operated as a link in the chain of repression. He obeyed orders, didn’t give them. He was not innocent for sure, but can we judge him for just keeping someone? Does this behaviour correspond to crimes against humanity? Without any doubt, these are crimes, but ones committed 40 years ago. Law works with a character of a necessary participant, but where is the line of guilt in case of crimes, that under different circumstances, would be barred? To explain clearly; murder, as the most serious crime falls the period of limitation of 15 years, that means that after such period is over, the culprit cannot be judged or condemned. Intending to punish the culprits of the worst crimes, which are presented as imprescriptible, is well justified, if related to leaders, torturers and murderers. But what to do in case of lieutenants and petty officers, who played minor roles? There is a live debate about it today.”

  • “In August 1978, just after the world football championship the junta raided the communist vanguard: they kidnapped and let disappear a large part of leadership, amongst others some of my acquaintance and even my big friend, almost a sister, Beatriz Peroci, who was the head of the Psychology association in Buenos Aires (APBA), also died. As I found out what happened, I left my home for security reasons but continued working in my consulting office; I was a relatively public person, I could hardly hide, and decided not to leave the country. On a contrary we, who stayed in APBA, decided to continue public activity and keep protecting; we demanded interviews and tried to figure out what happened to our colleague. From that point my contact with the relatives of victims unveils, and with the lawyer from the currently establishing Centre of Legal and Social Studies.”

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    Buenos Aires, 23.09.2015

    duration: 03:11:38
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Civic society has to accept its responsibility

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Hugo Vezzetti

Hugo Vezzetti born on 1944 is a professor of the Buenos Aires University, and holds a post of a research specialist at the National Board for Scientific and Technologic Research. He hosted at a number of prestigious academic workplaces abroad (amongst others in Boston, Maryland, Georgetown, Potsdam, London, Paris and Berlin) and Argentina (San Luis, Tucumán and Rosario). He specialises at mainly two areas; psychoanalysis history, psychology and psychiatry, further contemporary history and historical memory. During a transition period (1984-1986) he held a position of the first dean of the faculty of psychology. In a long-term he significantly contributed to the cultural magazine Punto de Vista (Point of view) and as a member of the board of management he participated in its directing. In 2004 he received an award of the Konex foundation in the category of a political essay; twelve years later then in a category of psychology. He is an author of the books La locura en la Argentina (1983, Madness in Argentina), Freud en Buenos Aires (1989, Freud in Buenos Aires), Aventuras de Freud en el país de los argentinos (1996, Freud´s adventures in Argentina), Pasado y presente. Guerra, dictadura y sociedad en la Argentina (2002, Past and present. War, dictatorship and society in Argentina), Sobre la violencia revolucionaria: memorias y olvidos (2009, On revolutionary violence; memory and oblivion) a Psiquiatría, psicoanálisis y cultura comunista. Batallas ideológicas en la Guerra Fría (2016, Psychiatry, psychoanalysis and communistic culture. Ideology battles in the cold war).