photo credits: Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación - CC-BY-SA-2.0
country of citizenship:
educated at: Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires
occupation: writer, journalist
award received: CPJ International Press Freedom Awards
position held: ICDB commissioner
Horacio Verbitsky (born 1942) is an Argentine left-wing investigative journalist and author with a past history as a leftist guerrilla in the Montoneros. In the early 1990s, he reported on a series corruption scandals in the administration of President Carlos Menem, which eventually led to the resignations or firings of many of Menem's ministers. In 1994, he reported on the confessions of naval officer Adolfo Scilingo, documenting torture and executions by the Argentine military during the 1976–83 Dirty War. His books on both the Menem administration and the Scilingo confessions became national bestsellers. The veracity of the once-accepted works became a focus in 2015, however, as more questions arose over Verbitsky's own professional identity during the military dictatorship. As of January 2015 Verbitsky is a Commissioner for the International Commission against the Death Penalty.Most recently Verbitsky has become immersed in controversy due to his disputed accusations that Pope Francis was complicit with military dictators during the so-called Argentine dirty "war." This, despite the fact that Verbitsky, a former member of the left-wing Montonero guerrillas leadership, himself was a ghostwriter for a book written by a retired senior Argentine Air Force officer and dedicated to those same dictators. Noted human rights advocate Gabriel Levinas and his investigative team in early September 2015 came out with a quickly best-selling book, Doble Agente. La biografía inesperada de Horacio Verbitsky (Double Agent: The unexpected biography of Horacio Verbitsky), documenting Verbitsky's work with the Argentine military during the period of state terror. September 2016, former Argentine Army chief César Milani, a frequent Verbitsky target on alleged human rights grounds, responded bluntly that his critic "has to explain his time during military dictatorship," adding, "His friends were senior military officials. Why was it that he never questioned them?"Verbitsky heads the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), an Argentine human-rights organization.
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