Argentina’s Milei picks former pro-Nazi youth for top legal post newsbhunt


BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s libertarian president-elect Javier Milei has caused a stir days before his inauguration, filling a top legal post with a former justice minister forced to resign in the 1990s over anti-Semitism claims.
Rodolfo Barra, 75, was named Friday as the attorney general of the treasury, responsible for counseling and representing the state in legal matters.
It is a key post in the context of a sweeping reform of government promised by Milei, elected last month on promises of uprooting Argentina’s political establishment and dramatically overhauling its ailing economy.
Barra was a judge of the Supreme Court and held several government posts in the 1990s, including as justice minister from 1994 to 1996 under leftist President Carlos Menem.
He was forced to resign from that post over the public outcry that ensued after a photo of him as a teenager, with his arm outstretched in a Nazi-style salute, was splashed across newspapers nationwide.
His efforts to apologize away the fact he was a member of an ultranationalist, allegedly anti-Semitic movement as a youth, failed.
Several civic groups and opposition politicians have protested against Barra’s appointment and urged Milei to reconsider.
The Argentine Forum Against Anti-Semitism has expressed its “concern and rejection” of an appointment it said represented “a direct affront to the democratic and plural spirit of our country.”
The Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations (DAIA) noted in a statement that Barra had “in the 1990s apologized to DAIA for his horrible behavior.”
The group to which Barra belonged, Tacuara, was active mainly in the 1950s and 1960s.
“If as a youth I was a Nazi, I am sorry,” he said in 1996.
On Saturday, he told LN+ TV: “I was a teenager, a teenager lacking maturity, knowledge. Many at this teenage age do crazy things, and I did this madness.


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