Carmel Country Club crime fascinates Argentina again


“The Crime of Carmel Country Club” on Netflix.

Who killed Maria Marta? The question has come back on everyone’s lips since the release, in early November, of the documentary The Crime of Carmel (directed by Alejandro Hartmann, available in France on Netflix). The four-part series looks at the death of 50-year-old Maria Marta Garcia Belsunce. In 2002, this sociologist and philanthropist from Argentinian high society was killed in her house in the Carmel Country Club. This is a barrio cerrado, a “closed neighborhood” and secure, as there are so many in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. In recent decades, wealthy families have settled there to get away from it all and protect themselves – in theory – from the insecurity of the capital.

On the evening of October 27, 2002, Maria Marta was found by her husband lying head first in a full bathtub. The family say they believed in a domestic accident, a bad slip, and immediately organized a funeral vigil – as is still the custom to do in Argentina – and a burial with great pomp in the cemetery of Recoleta, in Buenos Aires, where The members of the patrician families of the country traditionally rest.

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Faced with a series of inconsistencies (falsified death certificate, contradicting testimonies), the courts take the decision – too late? – autopsy the body, one month after death.

The end of the first episode leaves the viewer in suspense, unable not to continue on the second: the medical examination determines that Maria Marta did not die of a bad fall, but of five bullets in the head. Such violence, which occurs in a place seen as usually preserved from the evils of society, shocks and fascinates public opinion. The media frenzy is launched.

“A wealthy class that seems cold, deceptive, privileged”

The documentary, at a breathtaking pace, traces a meticulous sequence of events, plunges us into subtle reconstructions of the facts (real or supposed), and gives the floor to a large number of protagonists of the affair: Carlos Carrascosa, Maria’s widower Marta, earthy character who boasts of having had such a successful career on the stock market that he was able to retire at the age of 50, whose legal fate will not be revealed; Diego Molina Pico, the quiet prosecutor who sees himself as a vigilante à la Zorro and quickly targets the family; the elegant friends of Maria Marta; his brothers and his sister, with an equally bourgeois tone and style, who proclaim their innocence throughout; or journalists who have covered the affair closely for almost two decades.

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