Posts Tagged 'Jorge Rafael Videla'

A note on the death of Videla

He was a very bad bastard: ultra-Catholic, anti-Semite, murderer and torturer of thousands. So good riddance. However, he was never, in the normal meaning of the term, a dictator. In 1976 the three armed forces rebelled jointly ( a first for them) and formed a “junta”, a committee, to run the country, he was primus inter pares, and that until March 1981, not 1983. It wasn’t a one man show like Pinochet in Chile, or a family affair like the Castros in Cuba.

Also, and this may come as a shock to some, he was tried and jailed for his crimes as long ago as 1985. Menem, the then leader of the movement that currently runs the country, let him go in 1990. On the return of democracy in 1983 the same movement’s presidential candidate – Luder- had endorsed the auto-amnesty the armed forces had awarded themselves before leaving power. So if it was up to them Videla would never even have been tried in 1985.

“But, but, but, it was the same movement –under the heroic leadership of Dr. Néstor Carlos Kirchner – that in 2007 annulled the 1990 amnesty and this allowed him to be tried again. You know that times change, historical learning processes etc.”

Yes, it’s nice that they changed their minds on the dictatorship, decades later, when it was completely safe to do so and without ever giving the slightest explanation of or making any declaration of contrition for their previous support for impunity for some of the worst criminals in the history of the country.

So “historical learning processes” my arse. The Kirchners’ decision to turn on the aging tyrants and torturers was a brilliant political stroke, an exercise in real politik which bought them a stock of political capital that has kept the female half of the combo in power to this day. They’d have raised a statue to Videla and declared him the successor of San Martín and Rosas if they’d thought there was more political mileage in it.


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