Darío Lopérfido today tendered his resignation as the City of Buenos Aires’s Culture Minister. Most outlets suggest this has something to do with the incessant criticism Lopérfido got after he said that “there weren’t 30,000 people disappeared in Argentina” during the last military dictatorship. “That number was fixed behind closed doors,” he said back in January during a conference.
Human rights groups rejected his statement and even President Mauricio Macri’s administration, with which Lopérfido is politically aligned, distanced itself from him. He later claimed his comment was taken out of context and did not, in fact, represent his opinion. He claimed he was citing historian and human rights advocate Graciela Fernández Meijide’s 2009 book, An Intimate History of Human Rights in Argentina, in which she states that the number “30,000” is not an exact figure.
However, Fernández Meijide herself distanced from the statement and made it clear that she does not reject the number 30,000. While conducting research for her book, she could only find 7,954 reported cases of persons disappeared during the last military dictatorship. However, she said, that does not mean there weren’t more undocumented cases. “I cannot say that it was not 30,000. I can only say that, documented, it was around 8,000,” said Fernández Meijide, who also criticized Lopérfido for speaking “frivolously” about the topic. “I did not think highly of the way in which Lopérfido referred to the disappeared,” she said. “One cannot speak so lightly of the tragedy that befell us.”
Ever since, Lopérfido has been a constant source of controversy, something that caused him to clash with actors and even citizens. He was even heckled at the last BAFICI, the City’s independent film festival. Finally, six months after his controversial statements and seven months after he took office, he’s stepped down from his post.