We silently marched in the pouring rain, side by side with all of our clothes soaked in cold water. Federal Prosecutor Alberto Nisman was dead, and thousands of Argentinians stood in solidarity for the loss at the Court House in Plaza de Mayo.
Nisman was the chief investigator in the case of the July 8, 1994 AMIA (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) bombing in Buenos Aires, when a van bomb parked outside a Jewish Community Center exploded, killing 85 people and wounding hundreds. It is the largest terrorist attack ever recorded in Argentina’s history.
In January 2015, Nisman filed a 300-page complaint accusing Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and foreign minister, Hector Timmerman, of covering up Iranian ties to the bombing in order to secure an economic deal with the Iranian government. Then, on Jan. 18, 2015, Nisman was found dead in his apartment from an apparent suicide the day he was supposed to testify in front of Congress.
Upon further investigation of Nisman’s apartment, details cast serious doubt over the initial suicide ruling. There are many speculations and theories as to what happened to Nisman, but investigators are meeting dead ends and more mysterious circumstances arise every time the news is turned on. For example, President Kirchner announced on television that she was convinced Nisman had taken his life, but then, a few days later, she retracted her statement and said that she was convinced it was not a suicide.
On Feb. 18, exactly one month after Nisman’s death, 400,000 people marched in silence under unrelenting rain, in remembrance for what he devoted his life to; uncovering the truth and delivering justice to the families of the people that were killed or injured in the Community Center bombing.
Those who are abroad can sign up for the U.S. Embassy’s program: Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This program delivers alerts to American citizens when there may be travel strikes, political marches or rallies, possible risks and security threats, natural disasters, and lost or stolen passports within the area. Before the march took place, STEP sent an alert message to Americans in Argentina, warning of the potential dangers that could result from a march of this size, and asked citizens to exercise good judgment if attending.
“I felt completely safe in the streets during the March of Silence for Nisman because the majority of the participants were older people. I participated in the march because I wanted to be a part of the movement and what Nisman stood for; that we are all one and that we all demand justice,” said International Studies major, Robert Portillo ’16 from Humboldt State University in California.
The march remained peaceful and respectful, with a great number of people in attendance; way more than what was originally expected by the Kirchner administration or Argentine news media. The President and her supporters agreed that the march was an undercover political rally held by the opposition party, but the march focused on paying homage to a man who worked tirelessly on uncovering the truth.
“The march is not a tribute to a Prosecutor, nor an unusual claim of justice, but the baptism of fire of the Judiciary..it is an attempt to destabilize the Executive Branch,” said Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
The truth about Alberto Nisman may never completely come out, but the Argentine people deserve to know what happened and who was involved on the day of the bombing, so that they may be held responsible for the innocent lives they took.