Monday, September 20, 2010

Argentina: Ex-strongman Videla justifies “cruelty”

Ex-Argentine leader Jorge Videla defended the Dirty War regime during his time in power as he took to the stand in the human rights trial against him.

Videla is accused along with twenty other former military officers of the deaths of 31 political prisoners in the central Argentine city of Cordoba. Last Thursday he testified that while the dictatorship was “cruel” it did not take pleasure in repressing political opponents. “We were not sadists or involved in any illicit activity,” said the 84-year-old who also defended the role of the military during his time in office from 1976 to 1981. “There is no good or bad military,” said Videla and added that army personnel did not take part in the torture against prisoners of Cordoba’s Penitentiary Unit #1.

Earlier in the week Videla tried to paint himself as a victim of a conspiracy against him as well as the Army itself. He reportedly felt “intimidated” and “threatened” by the testimony of former members of the Montoneros guerillas. Yet they are only a handful of the minimum 120 witnesses who have or will testify to the malice under Videla’s watch. Their testimony seriously undermines Videla’s claims and brings to light some of the repression during the Dirty War:
David Andenmatten, a survivor who lives in Switzerland, told how the guards raped detained women and didn’t even have “doubts about torturing the disabled”.

Another witness, Daniel Eduardo Bozano, confirmed that torture did take place in (Penitentiary Unit #1).
Tens of thousands of Argentines were killed or "disappeared" during Videla’s reign, which came after a military coup deposed of President Isabela Peron. He has been in prison since 2008 after the Supreme Court nullified a 1990 presidential pardon granted by then-leader Carlos Menem.

Image- EPA
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, TeleSur, Diario Los Andes, Terra Argentina, EPA, Los Angeles Times, BBC News

1 comment:

escalante blogger said...

That's a worst nightmare for him. If really proven what he did before, he must admit and must be punished.