First we will kill the subversives,
then we will kill their collaborators;
then their sympathizers;
later those who remain indifferent.
And finally we will kill the timid.

General Ibérico Saint Jean, governor of the province of Buenos Aires (1976-81)

General Ibérico Saint Jean governor of the province of Buenos Aires
General Ibérico Saint Jean governor of the province of Buenos Aires

Jorge Rafael Videla a senior commander in the Argentine Army and dictator of Argentina from 1976 to 1981
Jorge Rafael Videla a senior commander in the Argentine Army and dictator of Argentina from 1976 to 1981. He said “Many people must die in Argentina so that the country will again be secure”

Argentina’s dictator, Jorge Rafael Videla, dies in prison in 2013
Argentina’s dictator, Jorge Rafael Videla, dies in prison in 2013

The 1976 Argentine coup d’état was a coup that overthrew Isabel Perón as President of Argentina on 24 March 1976. A military junta was installed to replace her; this was headed by General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera and Brigadier-General Orlando Ramón Agosti.

Infamous campaign was waged from 1976 by Argentina’s military dictatorship. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 30,000 citizens were killed; many of them were “disappeared”—seized by the authorities and never heard from again.

The junta closed the National Congress, imposed censorship, banned trade unions, and brought state and municipal government under military control. Meanwhile, Videla initiated a campaign against suspected dissidents. Throughout the country the regime set up hundreds of clandestine detention camps, where thousands of people were jailed and persecuted.

Series of “kidnappings and forced disappearances followed by the torture, rape, and murder of a number of young students”. The students were held for months in several illegal detention centers.

Rodolfo Walsh, march 24, 1977, writer and journalist
Rodolfo Walsh, march 24, 1977, writer and journalist

Rodolfo J. Walsh sent an open letter, dated March 24, 1977, by post to the editorial departments of local newspapers and to foreign press correspondents. On March 25, 1977, Walsh was kidnapped by a “Work Group” and has been missing ever since. Once the dictatorship of 1976 began, Work Groups were formed to carry out the extermination of any individuals considered enemies of the state. These groups, composed mainly of men with experience in the military, state security, or the police department, were notorious for kidnapping victims, torturing them, killing them, and leaving no trace of their bodies.

The letter was not published by any local media, but it gradually came to be distributed abroad.

“Censorship of the press, the persecution of intellectuals, the raid on my home in Tigre, the murder of dear friends, and the loss of a daughter are some of the events that compel me to express myself in this clandestine way after having shared my opinion freely as a writer and journalist for nearly thirty years.

Fifteen thousand missing, ten thousand prisoners, four thousand dead, tens of thousands in exile: these are the raw numbers of this terror.

Since the ordinary jails were filled to the brim, the junta created virtual concentration camps in the main garrisons of the country which judges, lawyers, journalists, and international observers, are all forbidden to enter.

More than seven thousand habeas corpus petitions have been denied in the past year. Since the prisoner does not exist, there is no way to present him before the judge within ten days.

The refusal of this Junta to publish the names of the prisoners is, moreover, a cover for the systematic execution of hostages in vacant lots in the early morning, all under the pretext of fabricated combat and imaginary escape attempts.

Over the course of one year, the junta has decreased the real wages of workers by 40 percent, reduced their contribution to the national income by 30 percent, and raised the number of working hours per day to eighteen.

The results of these policies have been devastating. During this first year of the junta’s government, consumption of food has decreased by 40 percent, consumption of clothing by more than 50 percent, and the consumption of medicine is practically at zero among the lower class. There are already regions in Greater Buenos Aires where the infant mortality rate is above 30 percent, a figure which places us on par with Rhodesia, Dahomey, or the Guayanas. The incidence of diseases like Summer Diarrhea, parasitosis, and even rabies has climbed to meet world records and has even surpassed them. As if these were desirable and sought-after goals, junta has reduced the public health budget to less than a third of military spending, shutting down even the free hospitals.

A 722 percent increase in the prices of animal products in 1976 illustrates the scale of a return to oligarchy.”

Argentine writer and journalist Rodolfo Walsh, was kidnapped and has been missing ever since March, 1977
Argentine writer and journalist Rodolfo Walsh, was kidnapped and has been missing ever since March, 1977