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April 3, 2019
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April 12, 2019
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May 19, 1980
PDF icon JORGE RAFAEL VIDELA - ARG[15499968].pdf172.94 KB
Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C06627145 3.5(b) Jorge Rafael VIDELA (Phonetic: veeDEHla)., President (since March 1976) Addressed as: Mr. President On 24 March 1976 then Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jorge Videla led a bloodless coup against the government of Presi- dent Marfa de Peron. Five days later he was installed as Argentina's 39th president. Videla, who retired from the Army in July 1978, shares su- preme governing authority with the members of a three-man military junta, which represento the three services. 3.5(c) Before the coup, while many officers lobbied vociferously to end the inept Peronist government, Videla was the voice of patience. Ironically, he sincerely tried to keep the Army out of politics. Eventually, however, a nonfunctioning government, rampant terrorism, a 300 percent yearly inflation rate, and an economy near collapse compelled him to act. The coup was well managed and methodical, showing careful attention to detail and a well- disciplined command structure. Since then, under Videla's guidance, inflation has been significantly reduced and terrorism nearly eliminated from Argen- tine life. Today, because Argentina is an important world food producer and exporter and is nearly self- sufficient in energy, it is able to negotiate with other nations from a position of strength. Despite Videla's successes, however, hardline members of the armed forces are unhappy with his moderate, cautious approach to government, his backing for the auster- ity policies of Economy Minister Jose Martinez de Hoz, and what they view as an overly moderate stance on the Beagle Channel sovereignty dispute with Chile. To date the malcontents pose no threat to Videla's government. 3.5(c) ARGENTINA Argentine Nationalist Videla has a strong sense of nationalism and pride in Argentina's independence and potential. 18`.,,.11133 (cont.) CR n 80-12590 EO 13526 3.3(b)(1)>25Yrs EO 13526 3.5(c) Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C06627145 3.5(c) 3.3(b)(1) Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C06627145 Although pro-United States, he is ready to assert Argentina's independence and to enhance its prestige and influence in the world, even if this means transcending traditional alliances. He is also intent on reestablishing the democratic process in Argentine politics, though not before he is con- vinced it can be done without economic disruption. The President travels extensively in Argentina, and he has met privately with representatives of the religious, scientific, business and rural communi- ties, as well as with members of the press. He has also made several trips to other South American countries to strengthen relations. Videla came to the United States several times before becoming President. In 1977 he visited this country for the signing of the Panama Canal treaties. In 1979 he visited Japan in a bid to strengthen economic and commercial ties. 3.5(c) Career Videla was born into an Army family in Mercedes, Buenos Aires Province. He entered the Argentine Military Academy in 1942 and began his career as an infantry officer in 1944. Significant military assignments he has held include those of director, Military Academy (1971-72); chief, Army General Staff (1973-75); chief, Armed Forces Joint Staff (1975); and Commander in Chief, Army (1975- 78). 3.5(c) Personal Data Videla, 54, is a professional soldier of un- questioned integrity, .a_strict. moralist of the old school, and a devout Roman Catholic. His hatred of corruption ands eli lolls devotion are le endar in Argentina. Married to the former Alicia Raquel Hartridge, Videlailas_sev_en children. He speaks some Eng- lish. 3.5(c) 19 May 1980 Approved for Release: 2018/09/17 C06627145