July 6, 2020

France withdraws the Order of Merit to Cavallo, repressor of the Argentine dictatorship



France agreed this Thursday with Argentina to withdraw the National Order of Merit that was handed over to a repressor during the last Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983), Ricardo Cavallo, after attending to a request from the Argentine Government, which reported that the claim became effective .

In a statement, the Argentine Chancellery indicated that it received the notification that the French President, Emmanuel Macron, and the Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, signed the decree by which they withdraw the decoration, granted in 1985, when Cavallo served as attaché naval in the Argentine diplomatic representation in Paris.

The Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, and his chancellor, Felipe Solá, had requested it last February, two months after coming to power in the southern country.

“The cancellation of the decoration for the repressor … was a demand from the Human Rights organizations,” said the Foreign Ministry, who appreciated the positive response from the French Government.

TORTURADOR IN THE ESMA

Cavallo was sentenced to life in prison by the Argentine Justice in 2011, in a historic trial in which dozens of soldiers were convicted of crimes committed during the dictatorship.

Among them, Cavallo is related to the so-called “death flights”, through which the dictatorship threw kidnapped people into the sea.

The “megacause” included 789 cases of crimes against humanity committed during the last dictatorship at the Army School of Mechanics (ESMA), where the de facto regime’s largest clandestine prison operated and where it is estimated that they were illegally detained nearby of 5,000 people.

Specifically, Cavallo is considered one of the main leaders of the ESMA Task Force, dedicated to torture, kidnapping and murder, and was in charge of the sector called “la Pecera”, where the detainees were forced to perform forced labor and are subjected to torture.

Numerous survivors have identified him as one of the main torturers of ESMA, where he was known by several aliases: Miguel Angel, Ricardo, Marcelo or “Sérpico”.

PASSED THROUGH FRANCE AND EXILED WITH ANOTHER IDENTITY IN MEXICO

He was promoted to captain in 1981 and moved to Paris, where he worked together with Alfredo Astiz, the “Angel of Death”, with the mission of improving the image of the dictatorship abroad.

Later, Cavallo, who had the rank of lieutenant in the military corvette, went into exile in Mexico, where he became an important manager under the name “Miguel Angel Cavallo”, until in the end a journalistic report identified him. as a torturer and he was extradited to Spain, claimed by Judge Baltasar Garzón, architect of a process against 98 Argentine soldiers.

According to Human Rights organizations, 30,000 people disappeared during the last Argentine dictatorship, most of them militant opponents of the regime.

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