Héctor Marcos Timerman (born December 16, 1953) (Ukrainian: Ектор Маркос Тімерман) is an Argentine journalist, politician, human rights activist and diplomat of Ukrainian and Lithuanian descent. He served as Argentine Minister of Foreign Relations from 2010 to 2015, during the presidency of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.[1]

Life and times

Early life and career

Héctor Timerman was born in Buenos Aires to Risha (née Mindlin) and Jacobo Timerman. He is of Lithuanian Jewish descent.[2]

He was named editor-in-chief of La Tarde, one of a number of periodicals owned by his father, in 1976, and steered the daily in support of the newly installed dictatorship.[3] His father's April 15, 1977, kidnapping prompted Timerman to become active in the defense of human rights, however, and in 1978 he was exiled in New York, where, in 1981, he co-founded Americas Watch, the Western Hemisphere counterpart to Helsinki Watch that proceeded the creation of the unified Human Rights Watch. He later served in the board of directors of the Fund for Free Expression, a press freedom advocacy group based in London.[4]

Journalist and activist

Timerman earned a master's degree in international relations at Columbia University in 1981, and wrote several op-ed columns for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and The Nation. Returning to Argentina in 1989, he founded two news magazines, Tres Puntos and Debate, and became a regular contributor to Noticias and Ámbito Financiero.[4] He also hosted a television news interview program, Diálogos con Opinión. Timerman was an early adherent to Congresswoman Elisa Carrió's center-left ARI. Following elections in 2003, however, he became a close supporter of President Néstor Kirchner.[5]

Timerman remained active in human rights advocacy. He served as a director of the Buenos Aires office of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights from 2002 to 2004, and was President of the International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience. Timerman was the first witness to give testimony in the trial of Christian von Wernich, a former Buenos Aires Province Police chaplain convicted of complicity in numerous dictatorship-era murders and tortures (including that of his father).[5] He published his observations on this issue in a 2005 book, Torture.[4]

Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Timerman and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

President Kirchner appointed Timerman Consul General in New York in July 2004, and in December 2007, he was named Argentine Ambassador to the United States. Differences between President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, and an incident in which she called his loyalty into question reportedly led to Taiana's June 18, 2010, resignation;[6] his replacement by Héctor Timerman was announced the same day.[7]

Timerman's tenure was marked by intensified diplomatic foreign controversies. Bringing perpetrators of the 1994 AMIA bombing to justice was prioritized, pursuant to which he persuaded the neighboring government of Bolivia to cut short a state visit to that country in 2011 by Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi (whose arrest Argentine authorities had sought since 2007 in connection with the attack),[8] while also working to establish a Truth Commission jointly with Iran in 2013 to investigate the 1994 bombing.[9] He likewise advanced ongoing efforts against vulture funds seeking payment at face value on bonds bought from resellers for pennies on the dollar, and whose attempts to block payments to all other bondholders continued to threaten Argentina's successful earlier debt restructuring.[10][11]

The longstanding Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute figured prominently during Timerman's tenure as well. Timerman claimed "We have been trying to find a peaceful solution for 180 years. I think the fanatics are not in Buenos Aires" despite Argentina invading the Falkland Islands in 1982.[12] His policy regarding the dispute remained assertive, refusing to accept a letter from a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands who ambushed Timerman following talks in February 2013 with U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague,[13] obtaining declarations in support of Argentine sovereignty from African and Latin American nations,[14] and later declaring that the Falklands "will be under our control within 20 years."[15] He nevertheless described the dispute in January 2014 as a "peaceful struggle."[14]


  1. ^ "Argentina names envoy to US as foreign minister". The Guardian. 2010-06-19. 
  2. ^ Bryan Ryan (1991). Hispanic writers: a selection of sketches from Contemporary authors. Gale Group. 
  3. ^ "Timerman dirigió un diario que defendía la dictadura". Perfil. November 3, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c "Curriculum vitae" (PDF). Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. 
  5. ^ a b "Un kirchnerista fiel, al palacio San Martín". La Nación. July 18, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Una frase de Cristina molestó a Taiana y lo llevó a presentar la renuncia". Clarín. 2010-06-18. 
  7. ^ "Argentine Foreign Minister Taiana in shock resignation". BBC News. 2010-06-18. 
  8. ^ "Bolivia apologises to Argentina for Iran minister visit". BBC News. June 1, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Argentina says Iran committed to probing 1994 bombing". Reuters. September 28, 2013. 
  10. ^ Arthur Phillips and Jake Johnston (April 2, 2013). "Argentina vs. the Vultures: What You Need to Know". CEPR. 
  11. ^ "Africa and Latin America Still Fight Vulture Funds". Huffington Post. November 14, 2012. 
  12. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21341578
  13. ^ Dominiczak, Peter (2013-02-05). "Argentina's foreign minister refuses to speak to Falkland Islander". The Daily Telegraph. 
  14. ^ a b "A Peaceful Struggle". Embassy of Argentina in the United States. January 3, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Falklands will be under our control within 20 years, says Argentina". The Guardian. February 5, 2013. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jorge Taiana
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Susana Malcorra