|Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries|
March 1979 – March 1981
|President||Jorge Rafael Videla (Military dictatorship)|
|Born||Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta Stefanini
January 18, 1928
|Spouse(s)||Marta López Gil
María del Carmen Cerruti Carricart
|Relations||Juan Antonio Zorreguieta Bonorino (father)
Cesina Stefanini Borella (mother)
|Children||María Zorreguieta López
Ángeles Zorreguieta López
Dolores Zorreguieta López
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
Martín Zorreguieta Cerruti
Juan Zorreguieta Cerruti
Inés Zorreguieta Cerruti
Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta Stefanini (born January 1928 in Buenos Aires) is a retired Argentine politician who served as Minister of Agriculture in the regime of General Jorge Rafael Videla. Zorreguieta is the father of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.
Jorge Zorreguieta was born in Buenos Aires, the oldest child of Spanish-Basque and Italian immigrants. His grandfather was mayor of the city of Mendoza. He became secretary of La Sociedad Rural Argentina, a conservative interest group of landowners and ranchers. He was also president of the association Juan de Garay, a cultural institution of the Basque community.
Secretary of Agriculture
After the 1976 Argentine coup d'état of General Videla, Zorreguieta became Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. From March 1979 until March 1981 he was Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock.
During the term of Zorreguieta, the following remarkable issues played, amongst others, at his department:
- Argentina surprisingly won the semi-final of the 1978 FIFA World Cup against Peru by 6-0. There is wide suspicion that Argentina, the host of the controversial World Cup, bribed Peru with, amongst others, a large shipment of grain, one of the main Argentinian export products.
- In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The United States responded by announcing an embargo of, amongst others, grain. Subsequently, Zorreguieta negotiated in Moscow a profitable grain contract, rendering the US-led boycott harmless.
- The INTA, a research institute associated with Zorreguieta's Ministry was put under control of the Argientinan Navy after the Videla-Coup. Employees from this institute disappeared during Zorreguieta's tenure.
In 1981 Zorreguieta stepped down as minister. He became president of the Centro Argentino Azucarero (CAA), an advisory body for sugar producers in Argentina. In April 1982 Argentina went to war with the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands. Argentina was defeated, and the military government, now headed by Leopoldo Galtieri, collapsed. People who had been ministers under the military government were prosecuted for violations of human rights; Zorreguieta, who had left political office before the end, was not affected.
He also became chairman of the supervisory organization for food Coordinadora de la Industria de Productos Alimenticios (Copal).
Zorreguieta married in 1956 to Marta López Gil (born 1935). They later divorced.
They had three daughters:
- María Zorreguieta López (born 1956)
- Ángeles Zorreguieta López (born 1958)
- Dolores Zorreguieta López (born 1965)
He married, secondly, María del Carmen Cerruti Carricart born (born 8 September 1944), daughter of Jorge Horacio Cerruti and his wife Maria del Carmen Carricart, on 27 May 1970 at Paraguay.
They had two daughters and two sons:
- Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti (born 17 May 1971), married in 2002 to Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
- Martín Zorreguieta Cerruti (born 1972)
- Juan Zorreguieta Cerruti (born 1982)
- Inés Zorreguieta Cerruti (born 1984)
Scandal in the Netherlands
The news of the crown prince Willem-Alexander's relationship and eventual marriage plans to Máxima Zorreguieta caused controversy in the Netherlands. Máxima's father had been the Minister of Agriculture during the regime of former Argentine President Videla, a military dictator who ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1981 and who was responsible for many atrocities against civilians (An estimated 10,000–30,000 people were kidnapped and murdered during this and subsequent military regimes before democracy was restored to Argentina in 1983). However Jorge Zorreguieta had resigned one year before the end of the Videla regime and claimed that, as a civilian, he was unaware of the Dirty War while he was a cabinet minister. Professor Baud, who on request of the Dutch Parliament carried out an inquiry on the involvement of Zorreguieta, concluded that it would have been unlikely for a person in such a powerful position in the government to be unaware of the Dirty War. Despite finding Zorreguieta to be at fault, the marriage between his daughter Máxima and crown prince Willem-Alexander was approved by parliament because Máxima herself had not done anything wrong; however Jorge Zorreguieta was not allowed to attend the 2002 wedding. Parliament's approval was necessary for Willem-Alexander to stay in line to the Dutch throne. During this time, the Dutch newspapers published an article called "Ich habe es nicht gewusst" ("I did not know about it" in German), the excuse made by Germans who had been complicit with the criminal Nazi regime following its defeat in World War II.
Visiting the Netherlands
Because of his past, Zorreguieta was not allowed to attend Máxima's wedding. However, he and his wife were invited to attend the christening of their granddaughters, the princesses Catharina-Amalia, Alexia and Ariane. The difference was that the marriage of the heir apparent was seen as a state matter, and a baptism is considered as a private matter. During the baptism ceremony (in The Hague and Wassenaar), opponents of the former Argentine military regime protested. Zorreguieta was not present at the investiture of his son-in-law Willem-Alexander as King of the Netherlands on 30 April 2013 in Amsterdam.
Notes and sources
- Hernán Carlos Lux-Wurm, Instituto Argentino de Ciencias Genealógicas: Ascendencia de Da. Máxima Zorreguieta)
- The Independent: Bungs and bribes football can't kick this habit
- Toledo Blade: Argentina Refuses to Back Bocyott, Jan 15, 1980
- Discreet Partners: Argentina and the USSR Since 1917, Aldo Cesar Vacs, p. 48-49
- New complaint against Máxima's father for Argentine junta role
- Human rights: Zorreguieta vs. Human Rights, March 2001 (Dutch)
- Genealogics - Leo van de Pas - Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta Stefanini
- Baud, Michiel (2001). The father of the bride. Jorge Zorreguieta, Argentine society and the military regime. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica. ISBN 950-557-493-2.