Thursday, November 30, 2023

Who was Victoria Villarruel’s father: a soldier who boasted of his role in the repression | The career of Eduardo Marcelo Villarruel

Victoria Villarruel attacked her opponents in the vice presidential debate, telling them that they had lived off the government for a total of 76 years. The Iron Lady of La Libertad Avanza (LLA) was disturbed when the chief of staff and candidate of the Unión por la Patria, Agustín Rossi, reminded her that her father, a soldier, had also received a salary from the cash register throughout his life. Country. “At no time can a Malvinas hero be compared to a politician like yours,” replied Javier Milei’s number two. The representative’s story – who usually claims a “complete memory” – about her father is incomplete: not only was he in the war against the United Kingdom, he also boasted of having “fought subversion” in the urban and rural areas and led, in full democracy, a movement that does not swear by the national constitution.

Villaruel’s military career

Eduardo Marcelo Villarruel joined the army at the age of 18. He was born in June 1947 in Santa Fe, the son of a public employee who worked as an administrator at a tuberculosis clinic. In order to participate, Villarruel had to provide references that could prove his good behavior. One of the names he mentioned was that of Mario Jaime Sánchez, who over the years would become private secretary to the dictator Jorge Rafael Videla.

Victoria was born in April 1975. At this time her father was stationed at Villa Martelli. Then he went to Campo de Mayo. In April 1976 he was sent on assignment to the Tucumán operational area, from where he returned injured in the thigh. According to a publication at the time, he took part in the “Operations of the III. Army Corps against Subversive Crime” and was injured during a briefing. He has an honorary diploma from his time in Tucumán, which was signed in May 1976 by the genocider Antonio Domingo Bussi, then head of the 5th Infantry Brigade.

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After his stay in Tucumán, Villarruel returned to Campo de Mayo, the country’s largest military garrison, where at least four secret centers operated. In 1976, Villarruel was qualified, among others, by the head of the infantry school, Osvaldo Jorge García, and by César Amadeo Fragni, a captain who served in that department. García and Fragni are two well-known names in the human rights movement: both were convicted of the kidnapping and unspeakable torture suffered by Floreal Avellaneda. “Negrito” Avellaneda was kidnapped with his mother when he was fifteen years old. They tortured him to death and threw him into the Río de La Plata. His body appeared in Uruguay. His family was never able to recover the remains.

Villarruel specialized as a paratrooper and completed the command course at the La Argentina ranch in Entre Ríos. At this point, the infantry school set up the Vicente López Tactical Operations Center (COT) behind Gaspar Campos’ house, where Juan Domingo Perón had lived after his return to the country.

The name in Conadep

Villarruel’s name appears, misspelled, in a statement made by a former conscript before the National Commission on Enforced Disappearances (Conadep) on April 4, 1984. This man, who had completed his compulsory military service (SMO) between 1977 and 1978, spontaneously appeared to testify and reported that requests for a “free area” had been received at this location – the COT of Vicente López. This meant that the different working groups communicated to inform where they would carry out an abduction in order to avoid conflicts, for example with the local police station.

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Página/12 contacted the plaintiff – whose name is not disclosed as the statement was reserved at Conadep – and confirmed what he had explained before the commission chaired by Ernesto Sábato. The man recalled that it was Graciela Fernández Meijide herself who took his statement, with interest because her son Pablo had been kidnapped in that area. As for Villarruel, he recalled that he had completed the commando course in Misiones – in fact, his file shows that he was in the town of Apóstoles in 1977 – and that he returned changed.

From Malvinas to not wanting to swear by the Constitution

During the Malvinas War he was the second chief of the 602nd Command Company after Aldo Rico. He was a prisoner of the English. Democracy found him in the General Secretariat of the Army in the Department of Social Communications.

In May 1987, Villarruel was the second chief of the 37th Infantry Regiment based in Río Mayo, Chubut. Then came the order that the military had to swear by the constitution. There was a meeting in the unit in which the regimental commander expressed his agreement with the provision; Villarruel protested this and encouraged others to fight back. There are those who said that he even read them a few paragraphs from a book by the fundamentalist philosopher Jordán Bruno Genta, who was murdered in 1974, to lift the troops’ spirits. In military justice proceedings – which can be viewed in the interim archives – Villarruel appears to have told his subordinates that the swearing-in was a provocation to the armed forces and that it had “disheartened” him. He was sentenced to 40 days in prison for insubordination.

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In an administrative complaint before the army, Villarruel did not hide his past. “I intervened in the fight against subversion in both urban and rural environments by taking an active part in ‘Operation Independence’, an occasion on which I was awarded the corresponding honorary diploma,” he wrote.

Villarruel died in 2021. He was never investigated for what he called “interference in the fight against subversion.” His daughter is not responsible for her father’s actions. However, the collective Desobedientes Historias, made up of relatives of genociders for memory, truth and justice, calls her “an obedient daughter of genocide” because “she obeys the filial commandments of family loyalty that maintain the silence and justify the crimes.” .” “.

Nation World News Desk
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