Case 311 - Torture for Profit? The Role of Mercedes-Benz in Argentina's Dirty War and the Struggle for Accountability and Reconciliation
Lowe, Daniel and Steve R. Garrison
This case study examines the legacy of Argentina’s dirty war through the exploration of a series of domestic and international debates. It centers on the experiences of Héctor Rátto and several other employees of Mercedes-Benz’ González-Catán plant. Fourteen of these employees were detained by the military government between 1976 and 1978. Only two of these employees survived to tell their story, one of whom, Héctor Rátto, is at the forefront of efforts to hold the Argentine military and their collaborators responsible for human rights violations during the dirty war. His story provides a fruitful avenue for investigations into the challenges faced by a society constructing a democratic government. The case can be used in the classroom to examine the appropriate governmental approach to armed challenges, the limits of responsibilities for human rights violations, and the appropriate strategies for the punishment of human rights violations.