Argentine dictator Videla convicted for baby-stealing

This video is called Argentine Torture Survivor Patricia Isasa Tells of Her Struggle to Bring Her Torturers to Justice.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Joy in Argentina as justice catches Videla

Friday 06 July 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

Former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison on Thursday for a systematic programme of stealing babies.

The children were taken from prisoners who were kidnapped, tortured and killed during the military junta’s war on left-wingers three decades ago.

Argentina’s last dictator, Reynaldo Bignone, also was convicted and will serve 15 years.

Both are already in prison for other human rights abuses.

“This is a historic day. Today legal justice has been made real – never again the justice of one’s own hands, which the repressors were known for,” prominent rights activist Tati Almeida said outside the courthouse, where a jubilant crowd watched on a big screen and cheered each sentence.

During the period military and police officials unleashed a campaign of terror to remove any trace of the armed leftist guerilla movement they said threatened the country’s future.

The “dirty war” eventually claimed 13,000 victims according to official records.

Bignone ordered the military to destroy evidence of dirty war activities, and the junta denied any knowledge of baby thefts, let alone responsibility for the disappearances of political prisoners.

Many were pregnant women who were disappeared shortly after giving birth in clandestine maternity wards.

Videla denied in his testimony that there had been any systematic plan to remove the babies, and claimed that prisoners had used their unborn children as “human shields” in their fight against the state.

Nine others, mostly former military and police officials, were also accused in the trial, which focused on 34 baby thefts. Seven were convicted and two were found not guilty.

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group has since used DNA evidence to help 106 people who were stolen from prisoners as babies recover their true identities and 26 of these cases were raised as part of this trial.

The group estimates that as many as 500 babies could have been stolen during the period.

Chinese police arrested 802 people on suspicion of child trafficking and rescued 181 children in an operation spanning 15 provinces, the Ministry of Public Security said today: here.

21 thoughts on “Argentine dictator Videla convicted for baby-stealing

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  3. School For Patriots by Martin Kohen (Serpents Tail) is set in 1982 Buenos Aires, when the politically moribund military junta invades the Malvinas in a desperate attempt to keep itself in power. It was the last throw of the dice, a cynical gamble on the people’s patriotism to prolong its murderous rule.

    The novel tells the tale of teaching assistant Maria Teresa in the elite National School, who goes about her business of exacting an iron discipline. Servile and perverse, she lurks in a state of quasi-sexual excitement in the boys’ toilets to catch out smokers. It is a claustrophobic read – at times unbearably so – with its raw and painfully scrupulous study of the moral denigration fascism visits on its subjects.

    The metaphor for Argentinian society of the period is implicit, an oblique comment on the complicity of the silent majority in the dirty war in which the flower of a uniquely progressive generation was cut down. Kohen is not too sure the dangers have passed. Only time will tell.


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