Argentine Dictator Videla Dies in Prison
Ran one of the bloodiest military governments in South America
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2013 4:13 PM CDT
In this June 1978 file photo, Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla talks to journalists at the Buenos Aires Government Palace, in Argentina.   (EDUARDO DI BAIA)

(Newser) – Former dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, who took power over Argentina in a 1976 coup and led a military junta that killed thousands of his fellow citizens in a dirty war to eliminate so-called "subversives," died quietly in his sleep today while serving life in prison for crimes against humanity. He was 87. Videla ran one of the bloodiest military governments during South America's era of dictatorships, and later sought to take full responsibility for kidnappings, tortures, deaths and disappearances when he was tried again and again for these crimes in recent years. He said he knew about everything that happened under his rule because "I was above everyone."

Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who spent 28 months in prison during the dictatorship and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work documenting Videla's crimes, said his death is no cause for celebration, and urged Argentina's justice system to keep investigating the dirty war era. "The death of Videla should not bring joy to anyone. We need to keep working for a better society, more just, more humane, so that all this horror doesn't ever happen, never again," Esquivel said.

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May 18, 2013 12:36 PM CDT
At school, his career counselor advised Videla that his options were brutal dictator or Inspector Clouseau.
May 18, 2013 9:19 AM CDT
Hello: Last time I looked it took two to TANGO !! In 1976 Argentina was a basket case (And still is) The so called "DICTATOR" Gen. Videla had to take this basket case and bring a semblance of order. For starters, how do YOU handle daily cases of terrorism/meyhem like: 1. Bombs in movie houses. 2. Letter bombs. 3. News stands blown up. 4. Terror in the streets 5. Secuestering of people for ransom. All thanks to the Ejercito Revolucionario del Pueblo (ERP) and the Montoneros. By the way, the current Pres. of Argentina is one of them Todays news media acuses the Argentine Armed Forces of reprecion. But they never acuse the terrorists of SUBVERTION !!!! DUERMA TRANQUILO; MI GENERAL.
May 17, 2013 7:49 PM CDT
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Dormir tranquilo, en general.