|11 Latin American Dictators|
|Monday, 16 August 2004 00:00|
Bloody Legacy of the SOA: At least 11 dictators have been trained at the School of the Americas since it opened in 1948.
GEN Leopoldo Galtieri,
(Argentina) 1949, Engineer Course
Military dictator, 1981-82: Achieved power by means of a violent coup, ousting Roberto Viola, below. (WP, 5/19/94) Galtieri was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison for leading Argentina into the disastrous war with Britain for control of the Falkland Islands. He was pardoned, along with 280 other human rights abusers by President Carlos Menem in October 1989. (The New York Times, 10/12/89)
GEN Juan Melgar Castro,
(Honduras) 1962, "SOPM" Course
Military dictator, 1975-78, installed to replace former, more liberal military dictator. (The Washington Post, 5/19/94).
GEN Efrain R?os Montt,
(Guatemala) 1950, Special Course
President for 18 months, between 1982-1983. Took power through a coup and governed Guatemala during the height of the counter-insurgency ?scorched earth? campaign, 1981 to 1984, that wiped hundreds of Mayan villages off the map, left thousands dead and forced hundreds of thousands into refuge or exile.
GEN Manuel Noriega,
(Panama) 1967, Infantry Officer Course;1967, Combat
Intelligence Officer Course; Military Intelligence, Phase 11(Counter-Intelligence Officer Course);1967, Jungle Operations Drug trafficking, racketeering.
De facto leader of Panama who, in 1988, became the most powerful foreign official ever indicted by the United States. He was captured by U.S. invading forces in December 1989. (The Washington Post, 6/19/94) Noriega's instructor at the 1967 counter intelligence course commented that Noriega was outstanding. (Our Man in Panama) Murder, 1989: Believed to have killed one or more of the soldiers involved in a failed coup attempt in October 1989. On June 5, 1995, a Panamanian court began trying Noriega in absentia, along with 7 others implicated in the killings. (La Prensa, Panama)
GEN Policarpo Paz Garc?a,
(Honduras) 1988, SOA "Hall of Fame"; 1959, General Supply Officer Course
Military dictator, 1980-82: Achieved power through military appointment. Tenure noted for corruption, and the high level of military repression, including the startling leap of
activity attributable to Battalion 3-16. (Americas Watch Report: The Facts Speak for Themselves, 1994).
GEN Guillermo Rodriguez,
(Ecuador) 1961 C&R&Bn Staff; 1966 Irregular Warfare Orientation; 1967 Maintenance Management
Dictator 1972-76: Achieved power by overthrowing an elected civilian government.
GEN Hugo Banzer Su?rez,
(Bolivia) 1956, Motor Officer Course; 1988, SOA ?Hall of Fame?; 1989, Guest Speaker.
Military dictator, 1971-78: Achieved power by means of a violent coup. Developed the "Banzer Plan" to silence outspoken members of the Church; the plan became a blueprint for repression throughout Latin America. Also known for sheltering Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, "The Butcher of Lyons," and for supporting and collaborating with Garcia Meza's regime. (Americas Watch Report, Bolivia: The Trial of Responsibilities: The Garcia Meza Tejada Trial, 1993; The Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/30/88)
GEN Omar Torrijos,
(Panama) 1967, COPECODECA; 1966, Command and General Staff College; 1964, "SOPM"; 1963, Counterinsurgency Operations
Dictator, 1968-1981: Led a bloodless coup against civilian President Arnulfo Arias in 1968, emerging as Panama's de facto leader until his death years later. (The Washington Post, 5/19/94; Our Man in Panama.
GEN Juan Velasco Alvarado,
(Peru) 1945, GS Functions
Dictator, 1968-75: Achieved power by overthrowing elected civilian government. (The Washington Post, 5/19/94).
GEN Roberto Viola,
(Argentina) 1971, Tactical Officer, Arg. Cadet Course
Military dictator, 1981: Achieved power via scheduled change of military rulers. (WP, 5/19/94) In December 1985, Viola was convicted of murder, kidnapping and torture during the "dirty war."(The New York Times, 10/8/89)
GEN Guido Vildoso Calder?n,
(Bolivia) 1962, Infantry Weapons and Tactics
Military dictator, 1982: Achieved power by military appointment. (The Washington Post, 5/19/94)
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