BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — The 19th annual commemoration of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires reflected concern about the influence of Iran in Latin America.
“Iran was behind the 1992 embassy attack. Iran is trying to increase its influence in Latin America,” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a message read by Israel’s ambassador to Argentina, Daniel Gazit.
Jewish leaders, Jewish school groups, and local and federal government officials met March 18 in the square where the embassy once stood to remember the March 17, 1992 attack, which killed 29 and injured 242.
"I came here with my parents and met all the ambassadors of Israel. Then I came due to political persecution," said Hector Timerman in his first appearance at the annual ceremony as Argentinean foreign minister. "Today I come as foreign minister of a government committed to justice.
"It is hard for me stand up here; I am a foreign minister of a country who was attacked twice and there is no justice for the attackers.”
The perpetrators of the deadly car bombing on the embassy have gone unpunished. A second attack on the Jewish community in Argentina, on July 18, 1994 at the AMIA Jewish center, killed 85. The perpetrators also have gone unpunished.
Gabriel Pitchon, a survivor of the 1992 attack, expressed the commitment of family and friends of the victims to seek justice.
Timerman told the crowd at the March 17 memorial that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has appealed to the Iranian authorities to cooperate with the justice minister of Argentina in the AMIA case at the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2010, proposing that a third country should judge Iranian citizens accused of involvement in the attack.
The previous day, young Jews held an artistic and educational ceremony to memorialize the victims of the attack featuring Israeli pop star Ivri Lider, who was invited to Argentina by the Autumn Festival of music. Young media professionals prepared a video about the attack memorials titled “Justice will not stay buried under the rubble.”