Former Argentinian dictator says he told Catholic Church of disappeared


Jorge Videla said the hierarchy advised him on ‘managing’ the dirty war, writes TOM HENNIGAN in São Paulo

ARGENTINA’S FORMER military dictator said he kept the country’s Catholic hierarchy informed about his regime’s policy of “disappearing” political opponents, and that Catholic leaders offered advice on how to “manage” the policy.

Jorge Videla said he had “many conversations” with Argentina’s primate, Cardinal Raúl Francisco Primatesta, about his regime’s dirty war against left-wing activists. He said there were also conversations with other leading bishops from Argentina’s episcopal conference as well as with the country’s papal nuncio at the time, Pio Laghi.

“They advised us about the manner in which to deal with the situation,” said Videla in a series of interviews conducted by the magazine El Sur in 2010 but published only on Sunday.

He said that in certain cases church authorities offered their “good offices” and undertook to inform families looking for “disappeared” relatives to desist from their searches, but only if they were certain the families would not use the information to denounce the junta.

“In the case of families that it was certain would not make political use of the information, they told them not to look any more for their child because he was dead,” said Videla. He said the church “understood well . . . and also assumed the risks” of such involvement.

The confession confirms long-held suspicions that Argentina’s Catholic hierarchy collaborated with the military’s so-called process of national reorganisation, which sought to root out communism. In the years following the 1976 coup led by Videla, thousands of left-wing activists were swept up into secret detention centres where they were tortured and murdered. Military chaplains were assigned as spiritual advisers to the junior officers who staffed the centres.

Written By: Tom Hennigan
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  1. Rewind 1930’s conversations between Adolf Hitler and Eugenio Capelli (Hitler’s Pope) on national reorganisation. 
    You have to be a total arch-shit to get through as much dirty work as the catholic church manages to do

  2.  Pleased to note this was in the Irish Times.

    Will we now see a ‘Protect the Cardinals’ website organised by intellectual flatliners?

  3. It was the Falklands War that eventually caused the collapse of this filthy military dictatorship (Galtieri came after Videla) you’d think the Argentines would be a bit more grateful to the UK and not keep flogging such a fascist dead horse.

  4. I’ve always believed that the Roman Catholic Church is a criminal organization practically since the very first day of its founding, 2000 years ago, up to the very present day. With the childish tale that they are God’s representatives on earth, they have committed all the outrages that a writer of horror movies can imagine. If ever there is access to the Vatican archives, the film industry will have material for many years to come. The sexual frustration of the Roman Catholic clergy is the cause of their twisted minds. I always say that this won’t be the last horror story from the RCC. Unfortunately.

  5. We were just playing along to protect ourselves, like we did with the Nazis in World War II. Fucking evil Catholics.

  6. And fortunately people like Christopher Hitchens backed the intervention in the Falklands to help bring the junta down. The standard line of the left was of course different. 

  7. When will the governments of this world delcare war on Vatican City, capture their leaders, sieze their records and hold them all to trial? Until this day there will be no end to what these people will do or get away with.

  8. The “governments of this world” – what, do you think that the UN  is some kind of democratic institution? When you have member countries like China and the Russia baulking at removing that murderous dictator Bashar al-Assad from power, that there could be agreement on removing “statehood” from that den of iniquity called the Vatican? 

  9. Michael Foot, who was the leader of a Labour Party way left of New Labour, supported the war from the outset.
    I remember a minority of Labour M.P s defied the party whip to vote against. Were they ‘the standard line of the left’ to which you refer? Or did you mean China?

  10. What a ridiculous statement. The demand that the Falklands (Las Malvinas) be returned to Argentina was unanimous and crossed all political divides in the country. It wasn’t just a call to arms by the military junta. 

  11. The usual deal then!  The dictators get the country to abuse and exploit as they see fit, and the RCC gets the minds of the people and 10% , – while both conspire to suppress those who would think or care about the welfare of the ordinary citizens!

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