The Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL), express its support to the initiative of Legislator of the City of Buenos Aires Sergio Abrevaya, declaring Robert Cox distinguished citizen of Buenos Aires for his defense of human rights.
As the project highlights, "Robert Cox, journalist of British origin, served as editor of the newspaper Buenos Aires Herald, for the British community in Argentina. Cox was illegaly arrested and was forced to leave ARgentina on december 1979 in face of his inminent disappearing, something he knew because of a perverse letter his son Peter (the fourth of his five children) received".
In the fundamentals of the project it is also said that "Roberto Cox came to Argentina on 1959, hired as a journalist by Buenos Aires Herald, a British communisty newspaper in English. A short time after that he met Maud Daverio, with whom he got married and had five children, Victoria, Roberto, David (who wrote two books dedicated to his father), Peter, and Ruth, establishing in Argentina, country he adopted as his own, and where he comes back any chance he has. For his initiative, Buenos Aires Herald was the first media outlet to inform open and sistematically that the military government was kidnapping people illegaly and making them disappear. As a journalist we would go in person to the demonstrations of Madres de Plaza de Mayo and he also ascertained that the military used the crematoriums of Chacarita cemetery to incinerate the bodies of the disappeared".
Bob Cox's brave acting during the military Argentine dictatorship, is also described by Jorge Elías's book "Maten al cartero: Posdata del asedio a la prensa durante las dictaduras militares del Cono Sur”, published by CADAL in 2006.
By the way, Cox had the generosity of writing the prologue to the Fernando J. Ruiz's book "Otra grieta en la pared: Informe y testimonios de la nueva prensa cubana", published by CADAL, Konrad Adenauer Foundation and La Crujía by mid 2003. There Cox shows once again that he is a true defender of human rights, condemning any kind of dictatorship. He states:
I think one of the reasons that allow Castro to keep repressing the Cuban people is a consequence of what I call “ideological blindness”. This mental illness allows human beings to ignore what they do not want to see.
I came across the horrible consequences of ideological blindness in Argentina during the military dictatorship (known as the ‘Proceso’) between 1976 and 1983, when most Argentines refused to see what was right in front of them and did not protest against the illegal assassinations, routinely accompanied by tortures. These crimes were carried out by the military in response to a guerrilla and terrorist uprising.
Ever since my departure from Argentina in December, 1979, when the lives of my wife and five children were in danger after a death threat targeted at my 11 year-old son, I have dedicated a great deal of effort towards the defense of human rights and, particularly, the defense of freedom of expression, the most basic of rights. In my work for the Inter American Press Association, twice as president of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and as president of the Society between 2001 and 2002, I have found more similarities than differences between the governments of the right called authoritarian and totalitarian regimes of the left. While in Cuba, I recognized the same techniques used by the repression forces against dissidents in Pinochet’s Chile or Videla’s Argentina.
But there is an enormous difference of perception. The horrors committed under Pinochet and Videla are universally recognized and condemned. But the forty four year-old dictatorship is celebrated and Fidel Castro can bask in the admiration he aroused during his visit in Buenos Aires, when the Argentine president, Nestor Kirchner, took office. I have asked myself many times why Castro is not hated like Pinochet, seeing that they have, in my opinion, a lot in common. Even those who promote the cause of human rights and relate to these ideas see Castro’s regimes from a different perspective, from another point of view."
Cox and his wife were also kind enough to attend to CADAL's office in Buenos Aires on the occasion of the photo gallery on "Ladies in White". http://www.cadal.org/prensa/nota.asp?id_nota=858 Besides, with Pat Derian, former Human Rights Secretary of President Jimmy Carter, and José Miguel Vivanco, Regional Director of Human Rights Watch, Cox also signed a request by CADAL asking Minister of Foreign Affaris, Jorge Taiana, to name a representative for the Embassy in Cuba to give a follow-up of the situation of human rights violation in that country. http://www.cadal.org/institucional/nota.asp?id_nota=1120
Currently , Cox is based in Charleston, South Carolina, United States. There he was named under-director of the paper Daily News and Courier. On 2005, the Legislature of Buenos Aires distinguished him, giving a homage for his braveness as journalist during the military dictatorship. On 2005, his wife, the Argentine Maud Daveria de Cox wrote a book on their lives in Argentina during the years of the dictatorship, entitled "Salvados del Infierno".
Undoubtedly, the initiative of Representative Abrevaya is very laudable, since Robert Cox was an emblematic figure denouncing the abuses during the last Argentine military dictatorship and besides he represents a great example of intellectual honesty in the defense of Human Rights. It would be a good thing if Human Rights referrents in Argentina followed Bob Cox's example.