Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Don Quixote Still Lives

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Don Quixote Still Lives

Article excerpt

It may come as a surprise to many, but Don Quixote is still alive, and in a most unlikely place. Don Quixote is now living in Tucuman, my hometown in Northern Argentina.


He is not dressed with body armor but rather, despite usually scorching temperatures, with suit and tie. He will probably be canting bundles of papers, some of them legal sheaves which enable him to persecute and enrage his enemies. Fortunately, his enemies are also those of civility, decency, and honor.

He is of medium height, a narrow face with a short beard, an aquiline nose, and penetrating eyes, a mixture of green and blue. They are serious, determined eyes.

Although he is not a lawyer himself, his legal knowledge is encyclopedic and probably greater than that of any lawyer, something he uses to full advantage when suing miscreants. He works as a director m a construction company but--to his wife's dismay--he will sideline any activity to pursue his obsessions.

What identifies him most is not his physical aspect. It is rather his devotion to fight for just causes. There is a wonderful phrase in Spanish that totally defines him, "Defensor de pobres, menores y ausentes," (Advocate for the poor, the children, and the absent.)

His defeats leave him undaunted. He strenuously protested when the Argentine government awarded a medal of honor to General Augusto Pinochet, sending dozens of letters to the Argentine authorities.

His appeals were denied and General Pinochet received his decoration. He then made a special motion to forbid him from using his medal, on the grounds that Pinochet had helped the British against the Argentines during the Malvinas/Falkland war. His motion was denied once more.

When Pinochet died, he again presented a motion to the authorities to have Pinochet's family return his medal. Again that motion was denied. "This is not the end of this story," he later told me, chagrined.

A recent incident shows him at his best, though. For a long time, it had been a source of irritation to Tucumanians that, beside the Government House was a twelve-floor tall apartment building whose wall was totally covered with the logo of an international soft drink company.

To Tucumanians, it looked as if that company owned the city government. …

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