A couple of years ago, on May 17, 2013, an 87-year-old man was found dead in his bed. While he appeared to have passed in his sleep of natural causes, an autopsy later revealed that he died as the result of untreated fractures to his skull and internal hemorrhaging caused by his slipping in the shower fives days earlier. Had he been taken to a hospital or even properly treated, he likely would have survived his injuries. Yet, his keepers seemed indifferent with regard to seeing that the old man received proper medical attention.
All of this transpired at the Marcos Paz Prison in Argentina. The 87-year-old deceased man was a devout Catholic as well as a loving husband and father to his five children. He was also his nation’s former President, who was once beloved by his people and who waged a successful war against Leftist terrorists in Argentina during the 1970s. Had he lost that war, Argentine society might now resemble something akin to Venezuela, North Korea or the former Soviet Union.
His name was Jorge Rafael Videla, a fearless and once popular patriot who save Argentina from the brink of oblivion. His thanks for this Herculean achievement was to be imprisoned by the very progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorists he once successfully fought. Videla, like most who have stood up to the Progressive-Socialist-Marxist Left, had his character destroyed – in addition to being imprisoned and, ultimately, left to die. Yet, to understand this miscarriage of justice, one must know some of the relevant history.
In the mid-20th Century, economists generally concurred that Argentina had the potential to become a world economic power. Rich in resources with a rapidly advancing socioeconomic infrastructure, Argentina enjoyed a population whose culture favored a strong work ethic. Politically stable, Argentina also boasted a well developed agricultural industry. It’s capital city, Buenos Aires had all the trappings of a large, metropolitan city in Western Europe.
Yet, this national promise, like that of so many other nations, was destroyed by Progressive Marxism. One need only listen to the Communist polemics of the current Pope, himself from Argentina, to understand how Argentina was deprived of her destiny and turned into a listless, socialistic welfare state. While it avoided the totalitarian form of Communism that might have been forced upon it had the terrorists won their guerrilla war, nobody today anticipates Argentina becoming a world power and, despite massive wealth redistribution, it’s large population of poor people are now further worse off, economically, than ever before. Not that this will dissuade Argentina’s Progressive leaders from their current economic policies. In the end, the Left engages in wealth redistribution not to help the poor as much as to limit the challenge to their monopoly on power that the wealthy pose.
Jorge Rafael Videla came from a long line of public officials and elites. It was therefor surprising to those who knew him that, although unquestionably patriotic, he had no interest in politics, political parties or ever holding public office. He had different plans for his life. Videla’s dream of serving as an officer in the Argentine Army was fulfilled in 1944 when he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in that Army upon his graduation from the prestigious National Military College (Colegio Militar de la Nacion).
Concerning himself with mastering the technical and tactical skills needed to become a proficient Army leader, the young Lieutenant Videla also established himself as a talented athlete and devout practitioner of Catholicism who was known for his hard work and seemingly limitless potential. He excelled in all of his assignments as a Army Lieutenant and then, a few years later, as a Captain. He was soon identified as a young man who was destined to go places in the Argentine Army. Unlike many of his peers in the officer corps, Videla distanced himself from political matters and ideological discussions.
In the 1960s, still young but now, an Army Colonel, Jorge Rafael Videla, like most other Argentines, became concerned with the growing actsvof terrorism being committed by a well organized Progressive-Socialist-Marxist guerrilla front operating throughout Argentina. These terrorists were being well funded, equipped and supplied by the communist dictatorships in Cuba, The former Soviet Union and their Warsaw Pact allies. The terrorists were particularly brutal and had no qualms with shedding innocence the blood.
In the 1970s, this well funded terrorist insurgency would become so prevalent and prolific in committing mass murder and destruction, the entire Argentine society looked as if it would succumb to this bloody red tide and collapse as a free society. Later, the very Progressive-Socialist-Marxist front itself would be successful in relabeling this conflict as a “Dirty War” against them and a war of “government genocide,” but, in the end, the Argentines faced, in the 1970s, a terrorist campaign which, comparatively speaking, was just a bloody and just as perilous as the current war on terrorism involving the United States and Europe. The primary difference is that the Argentine War Against Terrorism took place primarily within it’s own borders and, as stated above, it was a war that they almost lost.
Perhaps a few things should be established up front. The guerrilla war in 1970s Argentina was a terrorist campaign by a Progressive-Socialist-Marxist movement which espoused unpopular, discredited ideas and were hence fighting to win on the battlefield that which they were, at the time, incapable of winning at the ballot box through open and fair democratic elections. The Argentine government and its society, on the other hand, were fighting for their very survival. So, yes, insurgents were tortured – just like the US and it allies have terrorist suspects tortured (now the US lets some of it’s Eastern European allies do the torturing). The reason western countries torture their terrorist enemies is because this torture reveals important information about other terrorists and their plans and hence, saves lives. Lots of lives! Nations and societies have a right to survive and defend themselves.
So, to be clear, usually, often the only way to successfully fight well organized terrorists and survive is to commit torture. People of the Left need to come to terms with this reality and deal with it. We are are not going to enter into a suicide pact with you just because you are mentally ill and believe than an entire society should be killed off before a single hair on a darling terrorist’s head is harmed.
Now, during the terrorist attacks in Argentina, the Argentines were only able to prevail and hence, survive as a society, by committing acts of torture. However, let’s be clear, only terrorists who were captured on the battlefield or who were exposed by other admitted terrorists were tortured. Let’s also be clear that contrary to the prevalent Progressive-Socialist-Marxist propaganda, the Argentine government did not go out and kidnap, arrest and torture college students, dissenters or other critics who were not terrorists. Therein is the truth regarding the big lie propagated about the so called “Dirty War.”
In the end, through the use of torture, the Argentines were able to prevail on the battlefield and win the military war against progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorism. However, the political war against the Liberal-Progressive-Socialist-Marxist coalition was lost over the ensuing three decades due to that coalition maintaining an iron clad grip on the culture through films, television and radio as well as the news and publishing industries in addition to the educational system. With complete control over the national system of academia and the flow of information, they have been able to rewrite history and shape the cultural norms and attitudes of the post war generations (sound familiar?). In the process of reshaping the Argentine society into a watered down, albeit democratic, version of what they were seeking during the Terrorist Wars, they took special care to seek revenge against those in the old Argentine government who defeated them on the battlefield three decades ago. First on their list to be paid back was the former Argentine President, Jorge Rafael Videla.
Most are familiar with Juan Peron, himself a former Army General, and still more know of his wife Evita. Juan Peron, and his wife, governed Argentina from 1946 until 1955 (Evita died in in 1952). As a First Lady, Evitia Peron was immensely popular with the peasant class and had an unprecedented role in making policy. The Perons were a strange political force from an ideological standpoint. While appearing, nationalistic and outwardly conservative (some labeled them as Fascists) the also supported social(ist) justice and wealth redistribution all while being aggressively anti-communist. A few years after his wife’s death, Peron was deposed in a military coup and forced into exile.
From 1953 to 1973 Peron lived in exile – mostly in Panama. Always the ladies man, Peron met a night club dancer some 35 years his junior by the name of Isabel Martínez. Isabel, while possessing stunning beauty, had come from a lower middle class family and dropped out of school in the 5th grade. This did not deter Juan Peron from taking this simple night club dancer as his wife making her Isabel Martínez de Perón. Unfortunately and unbeknownst to anyone at the time, this act would place Isabel on a collision course with the people of Argentina.
Peron, like many other great men throughout history, had an impressive second act. Peron’s encore came after a coup in Buenos Aires brought him out of exile and back as President of Argentina – he was sworn in in 1973 and, as with Evita, he made his 5th grade educated wife, Isabel, his Vice-Present. Early upon his return, he was happy to approve the recommendation of General Rafael Videla to the post of Army Chief of Staff. By this time, Peron, the old Army General was a competent war time leader at a point when the Progressive-Socialust-Marxist guerrilla terrorists were stepping up their nation-wide campaign of terror. As popular as ever, Peron was successful in containing the terrorist threat. Had his regime continued he might have made short shrift of the terrorist and things might have turned out much differently for Argentina. Unfortunately, on July 1, 1974, President Juan Peron died, after suffering a series of heart attacks days before, leaving, by law, his 5th grade educated wife
Isabel Martínez de Perón, the former nightclub dancer, to succeed him as President and she did just that.
Isabel was not remotely qualified to lead Argentina, much less during their war on terror. Lacking any meaningful knowledge of the governmental departments, economics or military operations, Isabel was forced to rely on the advice of underlings. Still, things might have fared much better for Argentina had she chosen the right underlings to seek advice from. She did not and the Argentine government and economy dove into a sudden and precipitously downward spiral. Inflation jumped to 35%, the economy was close to collapse and the now emboldened terrorist seemed on the verge of winning. Some among the upper classes began to flee the country. Argentina, as most everyone knew it then, seem to be on the verge of being no more. One particularly notorious terrorist group, The ERP, (People’s Revolutionary Army) had gained particular infamy by engaging in the widespread murder and kidnapping for ransom of prominent Argentine citizens as well as an attack in force on the Azulejo Army Barracks. With the shocking and swift collapse of Batista’s Cuba still in their memory, senior government officials and military leaders began discussing options to save Argentina from a similar fate.
Early in the morning hours of March 21, 1976, Alicia Videla awoke to find her husband, General Jorge Videla, pacing anxiously throughout their tastefully decorated home. Videla, now the commander of the entire Argentine Army, bore the signs of a man under considerable stress.
It was only after she attempted to consul her beloved husband that she understood the weight of the dilemma her husband faced. A
large group of his fellow military officers as well as many Argentine government and industrial elites had been made a decision to act. They were not going to see their beloved Argentina destroyed without a fight. All the plans were complete. For the very survival of Argentina and Argentine society, the ineptly perilous administration of Isabel Peron had to end – preferably without incident or harm to her or her supporters. With this proposition, General Videla very reluctantly agreed. After all, he had eschewed politics throughout his entire adult life. He believed strongly in the rule of law and the virtues of a democratic society. For the survival of his country, he could hold his nose and agree with Peron’s removal – that was not what was weighing on his conscious – causing him to frantically pace throughout his home, as his family slept, in the wee hours of that March morning.
That which had floored Videla was set in motion the previous day when the political and military leaders of the coup d’etat, that would take down the Isabel Peron’s disastrous reign, informed him that he, for the sake of his country and his people, must assume Presidency after Peron’s removal. He was “most qualified” they told him. His unequalled “military leadership was required” to turn the tide against the Progressive-Socialist-Communist terrorists they pleaded. They reminded him of his “popularity with the public” and that someone of his gravitas was needed for the new government to succeed.
Still sensing Videla’s reluctance to take on a political leadership role, they reassured him that the job would be “temporary” and that his would be a “caretaker’s government” and that he was leading a governmental “reorganization.” Their pleas and the pressure they exerted on Videla were compelling – for sure. Yet he resisted.
Telling them he needed more time to consider their proposition, Videla left the meeting uncommitted. General Videla found the whole matter to be well outside his comfort zone. He was, above all, a soldier and a man of honor. The thought of his taking on a political role, under such circumstances, much less the Presidency of Argentina, was personally distasteful to him.
Were this all General Jorge Rafael Videla had to consider his decision would have been so easy, so effortlessly to make and would have been a resounding no. Yet, there was more he to factor into his deliberations. So much more he couldn’t sleep.
The very fabric of Argentine society was unraveling under the emboldened Progressive-Socialist-Marxist terrorist front. There seemed to be no safe place. Half of all of the people they murdered were innocent bystanders caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Recently, the popular Buenos Aires Police Chief, Alberto Villar and his wife had been murdered in broad daylight by the leftists. Videla knew that his beloved Argentina was perilously close to collapse. He knew that no society could withstand the duel threats of a well armed and supplied fifth column of leftist terrorist coupled with the ravages visited upon the economy by the terrorists themselves to say nothing of the damage caused by Isabel Peron’s ill-advised fiscal polices.
Videla knew the survival of the nation required bold military leadership and a new tactical approach. Despite his trying to rationalize a justification for his refusing the Presidency, in the end, he knew he alone was the best qualified to save his country from the deadly terrorism practiced by the ad hoc progressive-socialist-Marxist front.
The next day, he made contact with the others and reluctantly accepted their offer of leadership under two important conditions. First, they should strive to ensure the coup would be a bloodless one. Second, his role as the new President would be a transitional one and he would represent a temporary caretaker government that would allow for elections after the leftist terrorist threat had been placed in check. His coconspirators agreed and the next day, as the dangerously incompetent Isabel Peron boarded an Air Force helicopter, her flight was diverted to a military base where she was temporarily detained.
When the new government, that replaced Isabel Peron, was announced, the people of Argentina breathed a long, collective sigh of relief. When it was announced that General Jorge Videla would be the interim, caretaker President, the people began to again express hope that disaster could be averted.
With the support of his people, General Videla, knew that the first priority would be to take the offensive against the coalition of progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorist. This was required to save the country. The economy would take longer to fix and, in the end, would require that the terrorists be defeated.
Right from the start, Videla recognized the overarching challenge in effectively fighting the leftist terrorist network in his country. Although they espoused ideology and leanings different than their conservative Catholic countrymen, they could effectively blend in with society. Like all terrorists, whether they be the very cowardly progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorists who threatened Argentina’s survival then or today’s Islamo-Fascist Jihadist, they wore no uniform and, after committing their cowardly acts of bloodshed, would slip back into their homes, schools or workplaces and pass themselves off a decent, lawful citizens.
As Argentina’s new President, Videla’s plan of attack against the leftist terrorist was enacted swiftly and boldly. Significant manpower was committed to securing Argentina’s borders to prevent the resupply and reinforcement of the terrorists with leftist volunteers from other countries within Latin America. This included a new treaty with Argentina’s neighbor Chile to jointly patrol their shared border to intradict the flow of terrorists moving between both countries. Deals were struck with other neighboring countries to share intelligence on terrorist networks and captured leftist terrorists working within their borders. This significantly reduced the ability of terrorists within the progressive-socialist-Marxist coalition to easily seek sanctuary or to base their operations or seek refuge in neighboring countries. Further, Videla’s plan also called for other partner countries within Latin America to screen criminals for terrorist involvement upon arrest. This program in particular provided the law enforcement and intelligence agencies of partner countries a treasure trove of information on terrorists operations and organization and caused the detainment of criminals, who might otherwise have been released, due to their terrorist ties. This program was most effective due to the high rate of non-terrorist related criminal contact and moral depravity within the progressive-leftist-Marxist terrorist front. Many of these leftists were active homosexuals or otherwise depraved sexual predators who engaged in rape and child molestation. Most had significant drug habits or addictions and would engage in theft and other crimes to sustain their habits (many progressive-socialist-Marxist can be thus described even today). The arrest of these people, initially, for non-terrorist offenses lead to the identification and removal of many progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorists. In fact, in Argentina as well as in Uruguay and Bolivia, nearly one third of all pederasts (child molesters) arrested turned out to have a direct connection to the progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorist front. In Chile, the number was close to one in two.
Yet, General Videla knew that this would not be enough to root out the leftist terrorist scum. He revamped Argentina’s capabilities in gathering both human and electronic intelligences. Soon, terrorist radio and telephone communications were being intercepted and, were applicable coded messages were being cracked. Agents became successful in infiltrating ostensibly non-terrorist organizations that were, in actuality, used as recruiting ground for the terrorists such as University student and faculty organizations, labor unions, nominally non-violent liberal groups and underground homosexual cells. These efforts began to break the back of the leftist terrorist groups which had grown large, unwieldy and overconfident.
Yet, the most effective method to quickly gain the information necessary to thwart planned terrorist attacks and save innocent lives was torture which was administered in a similar way as it is in the western world’s war against terrorism today. Interestingly enough, those progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorists who chose to candidly confess their complicity in terror and fully share the necessary information needed to stop the loss of innocent life were spared any type of torture.
In fact, the Argentine military, intelligence network as well as Videla himself were amazed at how quickly many of the leftist terrorist would turn (by talking) on their own comrades to avoid torture. Videla famously made note that many of the progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorists “lacked the courage of their convictions -” unlike today’s Islamic terrorists.
Few and far in between are those who were tortured who did not have ties to terrorist organizations. Yes, some rare mistakes were made and yes, some of the braver terrorists died under interrogation or, fearing their inability to hold up under torture, committed suicide. Yes, some were, in extreme circumstances executed for their terrorist acts and murder after receiving trial, with full due process of the law, by military tribunals.
Further, one can’t help but take notice of the facts that there are so many still alive today who were arrested and claimed to have been tortured. First, unless there was a rare case of mistaken identity, all of these people were working with or for the terrorists at some level and are today still all members of the far left wing. Second, and most important, they are alive today because, they were eventually released by the Videla government and not “disappeared” as today’s progressive-socialist-Marxists in Argentina would have us believe.
The myth of the “disappeared” in Argentina, both during the war against terror and today, should be addressed here and now. For decades, members of the progressive-socialist-Marxist front have used their control over the flow of information to perpetrate a myth that, under Videla, good law abiding Argentine citizens, who were merely minding their own business and had nothing to do with terrorism were all abducted, tortured, murdered and then had there bodies buried or otherwise hidden so as to never be found again.
First, as has been fairly well established in subsequent court proceedings against President Videla and others in his administration, the vast majority of the so called “disappeared” were progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorists who were lawfully killed in open combat with government troops or security forces. Even some of the more honest among the former terrorists in Argentina today readily admit this. The progressive-socialist-Marxist have been able to gain much traction out of the “disappeared” fabrication through the governments policy, at the time, of not returning the bodies of terrorists to their families after the were a) killed in battle b) executed after a confession to or guilty finding by a military tribunal or c) committed suicide while in custody. The governments policy of not returning the bodies of the progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorists was to avoid making martyrs out of them through the leftists practice of making a huge media production out of their funerals fully supported by their leftist accomplices in the Argentine and international media would propagate false claims that they were innocents who were “murdered merely for criticizing the government.” Finally, the practice of not returning the bodies of killed guerrilla or terrorist combatants was anything but new. Even in the then recently concluded conflict in Vietnam, the United States forces and those of their allies would routinely burry killed enemy NVA or Viet Cong in mass, unmarked graves. Seldom was any effort made to identify the dead. Perhaps, most of all, the Argentine government simply didn’t believe that terrorist traitors deserved a proper burial.
The Argentine government, by their own admission did go to lengths in order to destroy or otherwise conceal terrorist bodies. Sometimes buried in mass graves, sometimes burned and sometimes, the terrorist dead were placed in Argentine Air Force transport planes and dumped over the Atlantic Ocean. In the later case, the progressive-socialist-Marxist terrorists propagated wild tales of the Argentine military throwing live prisoners out of planes over the ocean. Yet, like most of the leftist propaganda, there was never any credible evidence to support the charges. That didn’t stop their ideological allies in the American and international media from disseminating these lies as though they were fact.
In the end, all freedom loving Argentines owe their late President, Jorge Videla, a debt of gratitude. His aggressive measures saved Argentina from a total collapse and Communist take over. While aggressive and controversial, Presidents Videla’s actions won the fight against the terrorists and he showed, that by doing what the US lacked the stomach to do in Viet Nam in his own country, any progressive-socialist-Marxist guerrilla-terrorist movement could be defeated by infiltration and interdiction through aggressive human and electronic intelligence. In fact, the techniques utilized by President Videla have been studied, refined and are in full use today by the western world in the ongoing global war against terrorism. In short, we all owe this late great President a debt of gratitude.
Yet what if President Videla had lacked the courage and fortitude to do what was necessary to save his country from the progressive-socialist-Marxist campaign of terror? Few objective observers would disagree that the people of Argentina would have faced a similar fate to those of the people who endured the communist takeovers in Cuba, South Vietnam, Cambodia or the eastern block. Undoubtedly hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Argentinians would have been really “disappeared” or worked to death in gulag style concentration camps or “reeducation centers.” Private property would have been seized and the due process of law would have been destroyed along most other freedoms just as it has been in virtually every other country which has been forcibly taken over by Communists.
Thank you President Jorge Videla! For those who still care about the truth, you are our hero.