Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Did the Buenos Aires Police Kill Facundo Castro?

Mounting evidence suggests that the Buenos Aires Police are responsible for the disappearance and murder of Facundo Astudillo Castro.

Inés In and Jack Allen

September 5, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share
Photo: TN.COM

Buenos Aires’s famous Avenida de Mayo, the avenue that connects the country’s presidential palace to its congress, is known as a popular site for protests. During the quarantine, numerous protests have taken place over a wide range of issues, including the country’s economic decline, the restructuring of the national debt, and the length of the anti-Covid quarantine measures. On September 3, a large mobilization of left-wing parties and human rights organizations demanding the resignation of Sergio Berni, the security minister of the Buenos Aires province, and the truth regarding the disappearance of Facundo Astullido Castro could be heard echoing blocks away.

On April 30, Castro left his house in Pedro Luro, a small town in the south of the Buenos Aires province, intending to hitchhike to his girlfriend’s house in nearby Bahía Blanca, in violation of the quarantine put in place by the Argentinian national government beginning on March 21. The last time he was seen was shortly after, during a mysterious encounter with the police, before disappearing for nearly four months. His disappearance has gained nationwide attention, as many have accused the police of being responsible for the disappearance.

On  August 15, after four fishermen notified local authorities, a mutilated body suspected to belong to Castro was found in a marsh near the area in which he was last seen. Weeks later, on September 2, a DNA analysis identified the body as belonging to Mr. Castro. Police involvement seems more than probable, considering that the police had called off the investigation the day before, on August 14, after “thoroughly searching” the area, and that there were fresh tire tracks next to the body when it was found.

This is not the first time Argentina has seen a scandal involving malfeasance from their police force. The country is famous for the forced disappearances of political dissidents during the country’s military dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s. And even almost 40 years after its transition to democracy, the nation has continued to see questionable disappearances and other police actions. 

For instance, in 2017, Santiago Maldonado disappeared in the south of the country while protesting for the rights of Mapuches, an indigenous community in the south of Argentina and Chile, leading to a nationwide scandal and enormous protests and occupations over suspected police involvement. Of course, that occurred during the right-wing administration of Mauricio Macri, who lost reelection to the populist Alberto Fernández of the political center last year due to widespread discontent with his policies.

Throughout Fernández’s administration, he has constantly tried to reconcile social forces that oppose each other, with varying levels of success. Original intentions to expropriate Vicentin, a large soy producer in the north of the country, were later backtracked after right-wing protests around the country convinced the president to not go through with the plans. Other actions such as sending the military to block off entrances and exits to local slums with Covid cases have drawn questions as to how far right the president is willing to go.

Lie Like a Trooper

This year has been affected by numerous cases of police brutality, such as in a case involving an indigenous Qom family in the nation’s Chaco region. A video emerged of police beating younger members of the family before taking them to the local commissary, where the victims say they were tortured, racially abused, and sexually assaulted. Another case was the one of Walter Nadal in Tucumán, who was choked to death by officers using a similar tactic to that which killed George Floyd. In Córdoba, a large city in the country’s interior, police opened fire on a moving vehicle, riddling it with bullets, killing 17-year-old Valentino Blas Correas, and later planting a weapon in the car.

Since the date of Castro’s disappearance, the police have repeatedly lied and covered up their involvement. For instance, after denying that they had seen Castro hitchhiking, a photo emerged of Castro handcuffed next to a police patrol truck, along with three eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen the incident but have not been interviewed by police. Additionally, the police denied that Castro had been taken to a station, even when a personal belonging of the 22-year old was found in the commissary of Origone. Finally, they have routinely lied, even publicly, and even to his mother, Cristina Castro, who has endlessly pushed for the truth about her son’s disappearance and for justice for those responsible.

The push for justice by mothers and grandmothers for state crimes against their sons and grandsons has been a common theme in recent Argentinian history. It has often been the mothers and grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who were represented at today’s protest, who have fought for “Memory, Justice and Truth” for the 30,000 disappeared during the military dictatorship.

Despite the attention on the case, it is uncertain whether or not the truth will come out about Castro’s disappearance and death. This year, all over the world, we have seen how mass protests against police brutality have effected change, such as in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and attempted murder of Jacob Blake in the United States. This pressure must continue to be relentless in Argentina until the security minister explains how, when and where Castro died, and identifies those responsible. We know the state is responsible, and we demand Justice for Facundo Castro. 

Facebook Twitter Share

Latin America

Alfredo Cisneros, Mexican land defender from Michoacán, stands in a forest. He is the fifth land defender to be murdered in the country in 2023.

Alfredo Cisneros: Fifth Mexican Environmentalist Assassinated in 2023

Alfredo Cisneros Madrigal, indigenous leader and forest defender in Michoacán, Mexico was murdered on February 23. He is the fifth environmental defender to be murdered in the country so far this year.

Axomalli Villanueva

March 13, 2023

Lula Visits Biden to Repair Relations with U.S. Imperialism

Brazilian President Lula's U.S. visit shows that he's focused on maintaining the interests of Brazilian capital while aligning with U.S. imperialism and being careful not to alienate Beijing.

Caio Reis

February 16, 2023

SOUTHCOM Chief Aims to Increase Imperialist Plunder of Latin America’s Resources

U.S. Southern Command Chief Laura Richardson has expressed interest in lithium and other natural resources in South America. It shows the country’s commitment to corporate profits at the expense of workers, Indigenous people, and the environment.

Luigi Morris

January 26, 2023

The Peruvian Uprising: Massive Protests Demand the Fall of the Coup Regime and a Constituent Assembly

Peru has erupted in a massive uprising demanding that President Dina Boluarte resign, that the current Congress be shut down, and that a new constitution be established. The protests are the culmination of years of political oppression of the country’s indigenous communities, drastic poverty rates and precarity for Peru’s workers and poor, and a political regime that continues the legacy of Alberto Fujimori’s dictatorship.


“We are your economy”: Trans Youth Walkout and Speak Out

The following is a speech by a young trans person as part of an action called for by NYC Youth for Trans Rights.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

March 20, 2023
Three tables full of food, with signs hung above them. One says "The People's Pantry: FREE FOOD." Banners hung from the tables say "Free CUNY" and "Cop Free School Zone"

CUNY Administration Cracks Down on Student and Worker-Run Food Pantry

Students and workers opened "The People's Pantry" seven weeks ago as part of a broader anti-austerity campaign at CUNY, leading to several direct confrontations with the administration.

Olivia Wood

March 19, 2023

Neither NATO Nor Putin: An Anti-war Program for an Anti-war Protest

The following is a flier that Left Voice distributed at the March 18 rally in DC with the anti-war program we believe we must all take up.

Left Voice

March 19, 2023

France: Macron Bets On His Presidency as Millions Rise Up

A historic two weeks of mobilizations against Macron’s pension reform, with several sectors going into open-ended strikes, and including a spectacular show of solidarity on International Women’s Day. Yet despite the massive turnout, the government pushed through the reform Thursday night, using an antidemocratic maneuver to bypass the National Assembly. Which direction will the movement take? Will it fizzle out in a failed top-down union strategy, or will it generalize the struggle to all sectors from the bottom up?

Antoine Ramboz

March 17, 2023