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Jorge Rafael Videla

Jorge Rafael Videla Redondo was the 43rd President of Argentina from 1976 to 1981. He came to power in a coup d'etat that deposed Isabel Martinez de Peron. After the return to democracy, he was prosecuted for large-scale human rights abuses and crimes against humanity that took place under his rule, including kidnappings or forced disappearance, widespread torture and extrajudicial murder of activists, political opponents , as well as their families, at secret concentration camps. The accusations also included the theft of many babies born during the captivity of their mothers at the illegal detention centres. He was under house arrest until October 10, 2008 when he was sent to a military prison.

After serving as Director of the National Military College (Colegio Militar de la Nacion) and after almost two months as Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Estado Mayor Conjunto) of the Argentine Armed Forces, Brigade General Jorge Videla was named Commander-in-Chief by President Isabel Peron in 1975. Peron, former Vice-President to her husband Juan Peron, had come to the presidency following his death. Her authoritarian administration was unpopular and ineffectual. Videla headed a military coup which deposed her on March 24, 1976. A military junta was formed, made up of himself, representing the Army, Admiral Emilio Massera representing the Navy, and Brigadier General Orlando Ramon Agosti representing the Air Force. Two days after the coup, Videla formally assumed the post of President of Argentina.

Politically, all legislative power was concentrated in the hands of Videla's nine-man junta, and every single important position in the national government was filled with loyal military officers. The junta banned labor unions and strikes, abolished the judiciary, and effectively suspended most civil liberties. Despite the abuses, Videla's regime received support from the Argentine Roman Catholic Church and local media.

Related websites

Argentina: Videla a la carcel

Report and decision of the Court of Arbitration

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