Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Argentina's Last Dictator Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison

The last leader of Argentina's military dictatorship, Reynaldo Benito Bignone, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping, murder, and disappearances of Argentines between 1976 and 1978, while he was an officer in the military. Bignone was president of Argentina from Argentina's loss in the Malvinas/Falklands War in 1982 to the end of the dictatorship in 1983, during which time he oversaw the destruction of thousands of documents and the amnesty of war criminals in Argentina. The conviction means that Bignone, who is 82, will die a disgraced man, rightly punished for what he did. In this, he joins Jorge Videla, the first (and longest-lasting) of the Argentine military dictators of the Dirty War period. The third major dictator of the dictatorship, Leopoldo Galtieri (1981-1982), died in 2003, but even he died a disgraced man, after a civil suit had resulted in his house arrest.