The arrival of La Libertad Avanza presidential candidate Javier Milei and vice-presidential hopeful Victoria Villarruel to Argentina's run-off next month has put human rights on the agenda – and one dictatorship-era killer is hoping that the libertarian makes it to the Casa Rosada.
Jorge ‘Tigre’ Acosta, one of Argentina’s most notorious human rights violators, sparked controversy this week after it emerged that he is backing the libertarian's bid for office.
The jailed 82-year-old was the leader of the feared task group that tortured, raped and murdered detainees at the ESMA Navy Mechanics School during Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Human rights groups estimate that as many as 30,000 people were disappeared by the military junta during the era of state terrorism.
Acosta, who is serving multiple life terms for crimes against humanity, penned a letter on a website that predicted the "moment of truth is coming" – a reference to Milei's potential victory in the November 19 presidential run-off and the libertarian's angry criticism of human rights organisations.
The killer said in an article published on prisioneroenargentina.com – a website known for disseminating the views of those standing trial for crimes against humanity – that "the moment of truth is near, but not the alleged truth from trials managed by the ‘socialist homeland.'"
That sentence closed the text, published on October 24, two days after Milei got a spot in the run-off against Economy Minister Sergio Massa.
Defending his behaviour during the era of state terrorism, Acosta said that his involvement in the last dictatorship was “with all the zeal and determination the Institution expected of me.”
He wrote: “Orders are there to be observed and I have done so strictly, and to the best of my knowledge, anyone to whom I gave orders as fighters abided by them efficiently and of course I am responsible."
The former military man was convicted in court of playing a part in crimes including kidnappings, torture, sexual abuse, theft of babies and appropriation of identity, murder and disappearances.
Acosta held in the letter that even if his “intention is not to interfere with the electoral process,” he is “convinced that the moment of truth is coming”.
The repressor’s text starts with his confirmation of a position he previously testified before courts. “Terrorist MONTONEROS violated human rights, by starting and developing the Terrorist Revolutionary Trotskyist Civil War of the 1970s which devastated Argentina."