General Jorge Videla and members of Argentina's ruling military Junta celebrated Independence day in Buenos Aires on Friday (9 July) with a service in the Metropolitan Cathedral.
General Jorge Videla and members of Argentina's ruling military Junta celebrated Independence day in Buenos Aires on Friday (9 July) with a service in the Metropolitan Cathedral. It was a day of colour and ceremony for Argentines increasingly living in fear as political murders continue.
SYNOPSIS: The grenadiers of San Martin ride past as President Videla arrives with Junta members Admiral Emilio Massera and Brigadier Ramon Agosti. They were marking the 1816 declaration of Argentine independence from Spain. But for many of today's ordinary Argentines life is increasingly dominated by "la violencia" - the wave of killings that has intensified since Videla ousted President Isabel Peron three months ago. The death toll now stands at nearly 500 - guerrillas, police and military and innocent civilians.
Videla has promised the extermination of left wing guerrillas as the number one condition for a return to constitutional government. Most of those killed are alleged to have been guerrillas. But observers believe not all the forces involved in the anti-left drive have been under Vedela's direct control and many innocent people have apparently been killed. Some frightened families are spending nights away from their homes and returning only at daylight.
More than 70 members of the armed forces and police have been killed since Videla took over. On Saturday the body of a senior air force officer kidnapped more than two months ago was found after a gun battle with guerrillas - another statistic in a vicious left-right wing battles. Now hardly a day goes past without someone finding of a bullet-ridden and unidentified body.
And although President Videla's regime has succeeded in cutting monthly inflation from 37 per cent in March to just over two per cent in June, a serious recession may now be setting in.