Mayor apologizes for Bariloche remarks
Mayor Helen Klanderud has offered an apology for her remarks regarding Aspen’s Sister City relationship with Bariloche, Argentina, reportedly a former Nazi haven.
Klanderud also hopes to see the issues that have touched a nerve in Aspen aired out at a community forum; she has contacted The Aspen Institute about hosting such a gathering.
In a letter to the editor, appearing on page 11, Klanderud writes: “I apologize to all who have been offended, hurt or outraged by my comments as reported in The Aspen Times on March 18 and repeated in two subsequent stories. I am sensitive to the issues raised by this article, and I understand the seriousness of this matter. If my comments conveyed otherwise, for that I am deeply sorry.”
The Aspen Times initially reported on Bariloche’s past after The Daily Telegraph in Britain reported that the town had been a stronghold for former high-ranking Nazis and that Bariloche had refused to condemn them for their actions. Questioned by the Times, Klanderud called it a “non-story” and questioned the wisdom in resurrecting the past.
“In retrospect, I certainly did not mean what, in looking at it, it sounded like I meant,” she said yesterday.
In her letter, Klanderud said she would like to see a forum at which the community can discuss the Bariloche matter and broader issues that might arise, “in order for all of us to develop deeper understanding and sensitivity to each other’s beliefs, feelings, differences and points of view.”
She also said she has requested a “letter of explanation” from the mayor of Bariloche.
“People are wanting to know, what did citizens of Bariloche know, when did they know it, what is their position today,” she said.
Aspen and Bariloche formalized their Sister City ties last year.
Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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