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  • Protesters hold portraits of Santiago Maldonado, the young artist who drowned after being arrested at a Mapuche demonstration in August.

    Protesters hold portraits of Santiago Maldonado, the young artist who drowned after being arrested at a Mapuche demonstration in August. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 December 2017

Argentinians reacted with incredulity on social media, criticizing Chaco Governor Jorge Milton Capitanich for his insensitive gesture in the wake of Santiago Monaldo's tragic death.

The decision by an Argentinian politician to dedicate a pool to artist Santiago Maldonado, who drowned in the waters of the southern Chubut River after surrendering to authorities at a Mapuche demonstration in August, has been met with widespread incredulity.

RELATED: 
Argentinian Artist Santiago Maldonado 'Drowned’: Officials

Announcing the decision on his Twitter account, Governor of Chaco Jorge Milton Capitanich said the 10-hectare pool will include high-quality toilets, showers and lighting. "It will carry, as a tribute, the name of #SantiagoMaldonado," Capitanich said in his tweet.

Twitter users reacted swiftly, chiding the governor for what they called an ironic, insensitive decision.

"Santiago Maldonado drowned because he could not swim. Jorge Milton Capitanich opens a pool with his name. What's next, a PC keyboard 'Juan Domingo Peron'?" one user responded.

They were referring to the late Argentine president, whose tomb was desecrated: his hands were cut off with a chainsaw, allegedly by military officers, during Argentina's U.S.-backed Dirty War.

Another posted: "You have to be bizarre, they named a pool in the name of a person who drowned."

"Sorry: Are they doing BLACK HUMOR ????? A POOL ????????” reacted yet another user.

Last month, Judge Gustavo Leal confirmed the 28-year-old fine arts graduate's death was caused by hypothermia as he "remained underwater."

Maldonado, who had spent seven months backpacking around his native Argentina before he disappeared, went missing on August 1 in Pu Lof, shortly after he was arrested during a demonstration in support of Argentina's Indigenous Mapuche community.

His body was finally found in the Chubut River on October 19, caught in the branches of willow trees.

Maldonado's family is calling for the case to be investigated independently as a "forced disappearance followed by death."

"We will continue demanding an impartial, independent and exhaustive investigation," they have said.


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