Author: Aaron

The brutality of the dictatorship

The brutality of the dictatorship

A brutal military dictatorship goes on trial in Oscar contender ‘Argentina, 1985’

Published in partnership with the Pulitzer Center

In 1985, the people of Argentina went to the polls to elect a dictator, military-installed, to the highest office in the nation’s government. It was a historic moment — the first time many had ever seen a Latin American leader elected directly by popular vote. After decades of military rule, the country had finally shaken off the tyranny of the generals and was ready to be ruled by the people of Argentina.

But in the months following the election, the dictatorship began to crack. With economic growth stalled, a coup attempt followed, and a popular struggle was underway. The new government, backed by the military, responded with brutality — and they didn’t stop there. After being accused of crimes, they set up a brutal military tribunal that put thousands of people in prison — some convicted after being tortured, others simply accused. Thousands more were simply put on the wanted list for disappearing, never to be found. After months of political protests and violence, a peaceful solution was finally reached: They took out the president and his top generals, installed a new regime, and moved to democratize Argentina.

After decades of government by a dictatorship, Argentina had finally shaken off the tyranny of the generals and was ready to be ruled by the people.

The film “Argentina, 1985” is a fictional account that tells the stories of these people in prison. But, from the beginning, it’s a film that challenges viewers about how we might respond to the way we’ve been living for the last 40 years. It’s about the brutality of the dictatorship, and how it created a country where people could be killed by the thousands for protesting, and where torture, arbitrary arrest, disappearances, and repression were commonplace. When people who had nothing to do with the dictatorship were finally brought to trial, and those who had a hand in the brutal torture regime were brought to justice, we see what democracy can accomplish when it is practiced with a sense of justice.

The film’s director, J.C. Chandor,

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