Jorge Videla, Argentina's Ex-Military Leader, Dies in Jail

Jorge Rafael Videla, Argentina's former president, died on May 17, 2013, at the age of 87 in a jail cell where he was imprisoned.

Videla ruled between 1976 and 1981, during Argentina's military dictatorship, a period marked by death that left thousands of people missing [es].

In 1983 the former dictator was judged and condemned to life-prison for crimes against humanity. In 2010 Videla was sentenced [es] to life in prison for the torture and shooting of 31 political prisoners, and in 2012 he was sentenced to another 50 years in jail for the kidnapping [es] of newborns during the dictatorship.

An obituary [es] by BBC World says: “He was one of the most controversial and hated men in Argentina, under his regime close to 30,000 people died or disappeared according to human rights organizations.”

Jose Alejandro Godoy of website Desde el Tercer Piso (From the Third Floor) wrote [es] about the events that took place during the years Videla ruled Argentina:

Secuestro sistemático de menores de edad, torturas, uso del mundial de fútbol para fines de propaganda (a pocas cuadras de los estadios donde se jugaba, había centros de tortura), un ajuste económico mal aplicado, exilio de cientos de argentinos, cierre de sindicatos. El penoso legado de una dictadura que se inició con él y que se liquidó el día que algún alucinado militar argentino pretendió que hacer una guerra en las Malvinas sería la mejor forma de prolongar la estancia castrense en el poder.

Systematic kidnapping of underage kids, tortures, use of the football world cup for propaganda (a few blocks away from the stadiums, there were torture centers), a badly executed economic adjustment, hundreds of Argentineans in exile, closing of unions. The shameful legacy of a dictatorship that started with him and ended the day that some hallucinated Argentinean officer thought that starting a war in the Falklands was the best way to extend military rule.

And regarding Videla's death, he concluded:

Hoy Videla murió en una cárcel común sin privilegios. Condenado a cadena perpetua. Será enterrado en una tumba, a diferencia de muchas de sus víctimas, arrojadas al mar desde un avión. Repudiado por la sociedad argentina. Con un juicio histórico que lo remite a las páginas más infames de América Latina.

Today, Videla died in a common jail without benefits. Convicted to life-sentece. He will be buried in a tomb unlike many of his victims who were thrown to the sea from an airplane. Disowned by the Argentinean society. He was judged in a historic trial that puts him in the darkest pages of Latin America.

On the other hand, LSO wrote a small entry in his blog [es] where he refers to Videla as a “dignified official and soldier who […] fulfilled a mission that granted him honor.”

Centro de tortura militar, hoy convertido en Museo de la Memoria - Ciudad de Rosario foto: Laura Schneider

Military torture center, today turned into the Memory Museum – City of Rosario. Picture by: Laura Schneider

Under the hashtag #MurioVidela [Videla Died] thousands of Argentineans have reacted to the news, like user @Cami-cotarelo [es]:

@Cami_Cotarelo: No se festeja que #MurioVidela, pero hoy despues de casi 40 años descansan en paz mas de 30.000 personas

@Cami_Cotarelo: There's no celebration for #MurioVidela, but today after almost 40 years more than 30,000 people rest in peace

Cecilia Saia (@Cecisaia) [es] also expressed the feelings shared by many Argentineans:

@Cecisaia: Hoy hay un monstruo menos en el mundo. Si hay algo después de la muerte, que le vuelva por mil todo lo que hizo #muriovidela

@Cecisaia:: Today there's one less monster in the world. If there's something after death, may it give him back all he did a thousand times #muriovidela

Nobel Peace laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel (@PrensaPEsquivel) [es] wrote on his Twitter account:

@PrensaPEsquivel: #MurióVidela, un hombre que ha hecho mucho daño al país y a la humanidad. No se ha cerrado un ciclo, hay [que] buscar más #verdad y #justicia.

@PrensaPEsquivel: #MurióVidela, a man that has hurt the country and humanity deeply. A cycle hasn't closed; we need to find more #verdad (truth) and #justicia (justicia).

Infobae published a Storify post [es] with more reaction on Twitter.

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