Sunday, 19 May 2013

Argentina: More on aftermath/reactions

I was struck by a piece in Pagina12 relating that there were only 18 death announcements published in (newspaper of record) La Nacion yesterday in response to the death of Jorge Videla.

By contrast, the paper writes, in May 1987, 5,400 people signed a request for "recognition and solidarity" for Videla and his work in "defending the Nation from aggressive subversion". Two months ago, after the death of former economy minister and high-ranking civilian member of the military regime, José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz, there were 91 notices in the conservative paper. Of the 18 notices now, only two of them referred to the "injustice" of the sentences he had received, with the most vociferous coming from retired lieutenant colonel and lawyer, Rubén Brandariz, who wrote that Videla "commanded the internal, revolutionary war against subversive terrorism".

I would be wary of concluding that this is a reflection of Videla's waning popularity. I think there is a certain class of Argentines which still backs the principles behind the "dirty war" (ultraconservative, catholic, nationalist). They just do not live in an environment where they feel comfortable expressing their views openly any more. The larger reaction to Martínez de Hoz's death could be explained by the fact that, as a civilian, he was less connected to specific violent crimes. This is probably the most we can hope for, to be honest, as you cannot force people to change their views... something the "dirty war" perpetrators found out too.

El pésame de sólo dieciocho avisos (Pagina/12)

Over at La Nacion itself, they're not beating about the bush and are referring to Videla as "dictator". They provide further information on his funeral:

Videla is expected to be buried in Mercedes, Buenos Aires province (his birthplace), in the coming hours. An autopsy has been carried out and the remains will not be released to his family until they have agreed with its results, to avoid future exhumations. The cause of death is said to be multiple fractures and internal bleeding resulting from a fall he suffered last Sunday, in addition to an underlying heart condition. The family could decide to pay for their own medical examination as well, if they wish.

Sepultarán a Videla en el cementerio de Mercedes (La Nacion)

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