Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Argentine “Dirty War” dictator defends regime

One of the worst Latin American dictators of all time took to the stand on Monday to defend his brutal regime.

Ex-Argentine president Jorge Videla has been accused of the murders of 32 political prisoners during his time in office from 1976 to 1981. He admitted to taking “full responsibility” for the actions of the military during the “Dirty War” period, which he deemed as an “internal war against subversive forces.” Nonetheless, he said that he could not be tried twice for human rights abuses and that a military tribunal should hear his case. Despite his claims, prosecutors in the Cordoba court accused Videla of directing a “clandestine plan to exterminate political dissidents”.

Videla was originally sentence to life in jail after Argentina returned to civilian rule in 1985 but that was later overturned on a pardon from then-president Carlos Menem. That action was declared unconstitutional in 2007 and the Supreme Court confirmed that decision in April.

Much like the Mexican government during the 1968 Olympics, Videla and his cohorts tried to use sport to cover up state crimes. In Argentina’s case, it was one of the world’s most famous sporting tournaments:
During his five-year administration, Videla organized the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

Argentina's victory was used to try to clean the international reputation of the military government at a time when reports of massive human rights violations had been seeping out, our correspondent says.

Videla also faces charges in Italy, Spain France and Germany for the murder of some of their citizens in Argentina.
Image- BBC Mundo
Online Sources- EPA, Clarin, ABC.net.au, The Latin Americanist, BBC News

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