Former Argentine Military Dictator, Jorge Videla, Dies At 87

Argentina’s first military dictator, Jorge Rafael Videla, has died today at the age of 87.

The Argentine military dictator, who according to report killed thousands of dissidents from 1976 to 1983 died of natural causes while serving a sentence for human rights crimes.

Unrepentant till death concerning the kidnappings and murders ordered by the state, Videla accompanied by Emilio Massera and Orlando Agosti, led a military coup on March 24, 1976 that brought down the presidency of Isabel Peron, the widow of the renowned Argentine leader Juan Domingo Peron.

He became the first president of the dictatorship, a period marked by the disappearance of thousands of people, torture and the kidnapping of babies from people that had been illegally detained by the army.

Known as the Dirty War, the crackdown on leftist opponents left 30,000 kidnapped and murdered, according to human rights groups. Current government figures put the count closer to 11,000.

At the time, many Argentines tacitly supported the military regime.

Dozens of women began marching in Buenos Aires’ famous Plaza de Mayo public square, located right in front of government house, to demand information about their children that had disappeared. They would become known as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a renowned human rights organisation.

Argentina came close to war with neighbouring Chile during Videla’s presidency over the sovereignty of a group of icy Patagonian islands in a border area.

But the countries also cooperated on a secret pact with other Latin American military regimes to hunt down opponents. Known as the “Operation Condor”, the accord came into effect in 1975.

When democracy returned to the South American country in 1983, Videla was sentenced to life imprisonment for the human rights crimes committed during his five years at the helm of the military junta.

But he spent just five years behind bars following a pardon granted in 1990 by then president, Carlos Menem.

Eight years later, a judge scrapped Videla’s pardon, ruling that the stealing of babies constituted a human rights crime.

Videla was jailed for life in 2010 for murder, torture and kidnapping and received an additional sentence in 2012 after being convicted of devising a plan to steal infants from the “disappeared”.

Former Rivers Commissioner Calls Amaechi A Dictator

A lawyer and former Rivers State Commissioner of Information, Emmanuel Okah has described the leadership style of Governor Chibuike Amaechi as suppressive and dictatorial.

Mr Okah, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said Mr Amaechi runs the affairs of Rivers state as though it was a one man business.

He said the governor determines “who becomes Chairman; he determines who becomes the Secretary; he determines who becomes a Councillor; he determines who goes to the House; he determines who goes to the Senate.”

The former Commissioner accused Governor Amaechi of using his office to persecute anyone who challenges the decisions of his administration.

He said for merely going to court to challenge the election of Godspowe Akeh, who is loyal to Governor Amaechi , as the chairman of the Rivers state executive organ of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the governor revoked the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of the petitioner, Felix Obuah’s hotel in Omoku.

Governor Amaechi suffered a great political setback last month as the Rivers state chapter of the PDP executive led by Mr Akeh was sacked by an Abuja High court presided over by Justice Ishaq Bello.

Justice Bello approved the election of the faction loyal to the Minister of State for Education, Nyson Wike led by Mr Obuah and the entire members of the factional executive.