Argentina: A case of “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown?” UPDATE

At the end of the 1974 crime drama Chinatown, Walsh drags Jake away from the scene and says one of the all-time classic lines in movie history,

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown

Earlier in the film, the plot has established that Chinatown is a lawless, dangerous place, where even the District Attorney advises its men to do “as little as possible.”

Fast-forward 41 years to Buenos Aires and the murder of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, the day before he was schedule to testify in front of the Argentinian Congress on the civil lawsuit he filed accusing president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of colluding with Iran to hide evidence of Iran’s involvement (including current president Hassan Rouhani) in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center.

Among documents found at his apartment (the crime scene) was the draft of an arrest warrant for Fernandez.

Nisman was the lead investigator of a terrorist attack involving Iran, and possibly the foremost expert on Iran’s expanding operations in Latin America.

At first Fernandez tweeted it was suicide, later that it was murder. The facts of the case point to murder. However, it’s unlikely we’ll ever find out what really happened.

Argentina is a beautiful country, blessed with a variety of climates and terrains, rich soil, and a great port. But the political condition of the once-prosperous country for the last seventy years is rife with a history of assassinations and suspicious suicides; indeed, when I first heard of Nisman’s death, I called it a murder, even while I was being told it appeared to be suicide.

Sebastian Rotella wrote a lengthy article that must be read in its entirety. Rotella explains the details of the Nisman investigations, and includes “an experience [he] had in 1999 with a mysterious witness in the AMIA case.”

Jeremy Adelman posits that “The Nisman affair is a saga that braids together incompetence, corruption, and murder on a global scale.“ He asks,

At this stage, it is hard to know what is worse: the rot in Argentine public institutions that can’t investigate an atrocity after 20 years, the depths to which Argentine hopes for truth and accountability have plunged, or the sordid spectacle of a president personalizing a crisis she helped to create?

For now, two judges have declined to review the civil complaint Nisman filed the week before his death.

UPDATE:
BREAKING NEWS: Argentina’s President Fernandez Charged in Probe of Alleged Cover-Up (emphasis added)

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was charged by a prosecutor with trying to cover up the alleged involvement of Iranian officials in the country’s worst terrorist attack. Now a judge must decide whether to pursue the case.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s blog.