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Ex-official with Neo-nazi Past Becomes Adviser in Argentina

September 3, 1996
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Rodolfo Barra, who resigned as Argentine justice minister in July after a local magazine exposed neo-Nazi ties in his youth, has become a legal adviser to the country’s Senate.

Jorge Yoma, an Argentine senator who used to be President Carlos Menem’s brother-in-law, said last week that Barra is “one of my most trusted advisers.”

Barra is now advising Yoma on the composition of a future body charged with the supervision of the Argentine judiciary. Yoma oversees the influential Senate Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Barra gave up his post after the magazine Noticias exposed him as a former member of a right-wing youth organization affiliated with the extremist group Tacuara and, later, as a follower of Argentina’s most prominent fascist, Alberto Ottalaganno.

Tacuara was responsible for hundreds of anti-Semitic attacks in the early 1960s and for the murder of a local Jewish lawyer.

In response to the revelations, Barra denied being a Nazi but admitted to “the mistake of being against Jews.”

“I was taught that all Jews were Communist, and I was against communism,” Barra wrote in an open letter to the Argentine Jewish community organization DAIA.

After leaving his post, Menem presented Barra with a memorial medal as a “token of thanks.”

At the time of his resignation, Barra had been overseeing the investigations of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy and the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community headquarters.

Barra was replaced by Elias Jassan, a former deputy justice minister who is Jewish.

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