Jorge Zorreguieta in The Dirty War

Jorge Zorreguieta is a retired Argentinian politician who served during the Dirty War. Zorreguieta was the Minister of Agriculture. He is mostly known for being the father of Queen Máxima of The Netherlands. Once it became public that Zorreguieta served during the Dirty War, there was a lot of arousal around the royal house.

The tasks of Zorreguieta during The Dirty War

At the start of the Dirty War, Zorreguieta acquired the task of undersecretary of agriculture. His main task was to regain trust from foreign investors in the Argentinian agricultural products again. This trust was lost when the Dirty War started. Besides this, he helped with the development of detailed plans to improve the production of farmers. Zorreguieta had a lot of freedom in his tasks, and he was very thankful for this. He was, however, limited in performing his tasks, due to a lack of money to travel to other countries.

During the Dirty War, the military claimed that the agriculture as the most important economic factor of Argentina. Cadenas Madariaga, who was Secretary of State at the time, didn't agree with this, and it was the main reason he resigned his position in 1979. Zorreguieta took Madariaga's position, which gave Zorreguieta more right to speak in the government. Zorreguieta's main change was to privatise the agricultural sector. This change didn't get much support from smaller farmers, because they had to give up their family business to a multinational. Besides the discontent, Zorreguieta went through with it.

Grain Embargo

In 1980 the American president Jimmy Carter wanted to start a grain embargo against the Soviet Union. They asked for all the big grain producers to support this embargo. Argentina was included in the list of producers. It was not an easy decision, since the Soviet Union was an important client of Argentina. Argentina also tried to stay out of the Cold War, but with this embargo they were sucked in nonetheless.

Their final decision was to decline the embargo, and the main reason for this was that Carter had an aversion against the regime in Argentina.


The End of the regime

In 1981, when Videla was arrested, Zorreguieta resigned his position out of respect for Videla and the regime.

The effects for Zorreguieta

In 1999, when Dutch prince Willem-Alexander and Máxima made their relationship public, the Dutch newspaper 'de Volkskrant' published an article about Jorge Zorreguieta (Máxima's father). Zorreguieta responded to this article by denying any knowledge of the disappearances and murders during the dirty war. This comment lead to a state driven research led by professor and historian Michiel Baud. This result of this research was that Zorreguieta absolutely knew about the disappearances, but didn't have any involvement in them. Prince Willem-Alexander confirmed that Zorreguieta knew of at least one disappearance. However, Willem-Alexander also stated that this research was an 'opinion', and there were other 'opinions' on this case. A famous 'opinion' was a letter sent by a citizen, who later turned out to be Zorreguieta himself.

In 2001 Zorreguieta was charged with involvement in disappearances and murder by Maarten Mourik. This declaration wasn't continued because of a lack of jurisdiction. In 2011, Maarten Mourik's son filed another charge. This case is still running.

At the start of april 2005 a new case opened: Case-Sierra. The two sons of biologist Marta Sierra charged Zorreguieta with involvement in the disappearance of their mother. As of today, this case is still isn't resolved.

On the 4th of january 2013 another case opened against Zorreguieta. It was set up in Argentina and is still running. The Netherlands has no involvement in it, and didn't announce if they will have any in the future.

With two running cases, Zorreguieta is still a free man. He is, however, limited in The Netherlands. He can't attend official Dutch state affairs, like his daughters wedding. He can visit unofficial affairs like the baptism of his grandchildren.



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