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Jorge Rafael Videla

Videla, Jorge Rafael (hôrˈhā räfäĕlˈ vēdāˈlä) [key], 1925–2013, Argentine general and president. Born to a military family, he graduated (1944) from the National Military College and rose through the officer ranks to become army chief of staff in 1973, head of the joint chiefs of staff in 1975, and general commander of the army in 1975. In 1976 he headed the military junta that deposed President Isabel Perón (see under Perón, Juan Domingo) and served (1976–81) as president. His government began the military's infamous "Dirty War" (1976–83), in which some 30,000 citizens were tortured and murdered in the name of political stability. After the return to civilian rule in 1983, he and other military officials were charged with human-rights abuses. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1985, but was pardoned in 1990 under an amnesty. In 1998 he was arrested and charged with human-rights crimes not covered by the amnesty; he was under house arrest from 1998, in prison from 2008. In 2007 his life sentence reinstated; he was convicted of additional charges in 2010 and 2012.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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