Members of Argentina’s brutal military junta request permission to vote in Sunday elections

By November 18, 2023

Buenos Aires, Argentina — Members of Argentina’s former military junta who are currently on trial or are serving sentences for their crimes have asked the courts for permission to vote in the presidential runoff elections on Sunday, November 19, according to Pagina 12.

The country’s current Finance Minister Sergio Massa and far-right Libertarian candidate Javier Milei forced a runoff after the first round of elections on October 22. 

Some of the convicted military members have publicly supported Milei and his running mate, Victoria Villarruel, who has been accused of denying or minimizing the atrocities of Argentina’s military dictatorship which ruled between 1976 and 1983 and killed or disappeared over 30,000 people. 

Alberto Jorge Crinigan, a former infantry commander who is currently on trial for crimes allegedly committed in clandestine torture sites in the city of La Plata, has requested the right to vote, after requesting to vote in the primaries as well as the October general elections. 

Crinigan co-authored a book with vice presidential candidate Villarruel titled: The nation divided: Argentina after the violence of the ‘70s (La nación dividida: Argentina después de la violencia de los ‘70). In the book, the authors argue that the military was fighting a “revolutionary war” and that the victims were not “young idealists,” but rather leftist terrorists. 

Another former junta official, Jorge Eduardo “Tigre” Acosta, who led an intelligence unit that tortured, raped and murdered people at the Mechanical School of the Army (ESMA) — one of the most infamous detention sites in Buenos Aires — also showed support for the Milei-Villarruel ticket.

“The time of knowledge of the truth is approaching, but not the truth that has emerged from the trials handled by the ‘socialist nation,’” Acosta wrote in an op-ed published after the general elections. 

Libertarian candidate Victoria Villarruel. Image courtesy of DataClave.

Other officials including Alejandro D’Agostino and Eduardo Lance — who were convicted of dropping people out of airplanes over the sea in an effort to disappear them — and Rufino Batalla, a former intelligence agent who was convicted in 2014 for atrocities committed in the La Cacha detention center, also asked for special permission to vote.

Argentine law allows those who do not have a final conviction the right to vote, as well as those in preventative detention.