Jorge Zorreguieta

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Jorge Zorreguieta
Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries
In office
March 1979 – March 1981
President Jorge Rafael Videla (Military dictatorship)
Personal details
Born Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta Stefanini
(1928-01-18) 18 January 1928 (age 89)
Larroque, Argentina
Nationality Argentine
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 18 January 1928) is a former 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.

Early life[edit]

Jorge Zorreguieta was born in 1928 in Buenos Aires, the son of Cesina María Stefanini Borella and Juan Antonio Zorreguieta Bonorino.[1] He is of Spanish-Basque and Italian ancestry. His paternal grandfather, Amadeo Zorreguieta Hernández, 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[edit]

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.

The INTA, a research institute associated with Zorreguieta's Ministry was put under control of the Argentine Navy after the Videla-Coup. Employees from this institute disappeared during Zorreguieta's tenure.[2]

Advisor Director[edit]

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), married to Adrián Vilov, with issue
  • Ángeles Zorreguieta López (born 1958)
  • Dolores Zorreguieta López (born 1965), married to Harmond Grad Lewis, with issue

He married again, to María del Carmen Cerruti Carricart (born 8 September 1944), daughter of Jorge Horacio Cerruti and Maria del Carmen Carricart, on 27 May 1970 in Paraguay.

They had two daughters and two sons:

From his two marriages, Zorreguieta has seven children and twelve grandchildren in total.

Scandal in the Netherlands[edit]

Coat of arms of the Zorreguita family sui generis.

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.[3] 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.

Visiting the Netherlands[edit]

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 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[edit]

  1. ^ Hernán Carlos Lux-Wurm, Instituto Argentino de Ciencias Genealógicas: Ascendencia de Da. Máxima Zorreguieta)
  2. ^ New complaint against Máxima's father for Argentine junta role
  3. ^ Human rights: Zorreguieta vs. Human Rights, March 2001 (in Dutch)