Last week argentine justice came back on the court case regarding Enrique Angelelli, bishop of La Rioja. His death in a car crash on 4th August 1976 has been identified as a murder ordered by the military dictatorship than as an accidental event.
After the return of democracy in Argentina in 1983, a judge in La Rioja had already connected the death of Angelelli to an intended murder basing his assumptions on the witness of a priest survived to the car crash. But it has not been possible to arrest the responsible for the murder because of the amnesty laws introduced by the government of Raùl Alfonsìn (1983-1989) and the following pardons granted by Menem to the military pillars of dictatorship.
Now the re-opening of the case allows the order of arrest for general Jorge Videla, head of the argentine military from 1976 to 1981. He already was imprisoned after other previous condemnations for violation of human rights. In the murder there would have been involved other 5 former soldiers as well.
According to figures coming from “Movimiento Ecuménico por los Derechos Humanos”, beyond the death of La Rioja's bishop the last argentine dictatorship would also be responsible for the death of 19 people, as well as for the kidnapping of 65 among fathers, religious figures and committed lay catholics.
Angelelli has been murdered because of his prophetic force. As a prelate he was sensitive to the problem of social justice and to the renewing guide lines of Vatican II Council. His pastoral path, first as auxiliary bishop of Cordoba and then (from 1968) at the head of the neighboring diocese of La Rioja, had as common guide line the commitment «towards those who suffer from hunger, misery and injustice»
Son of italian immigrants, he opposed the military authorities (and the national oligarchy) by suggesting rural workers and miners to organize themselves in unions, and by promoting the creation of land trusts or cooperatives able to produce textiles, bricks, food.
Military, landowners and the most conservative catholics regarded him as a communist infiltrator. In 1972 he also was stoned by a group of people lead by a landowner, brother of Carlos Menem that in 1989 would have then become president of Argentina.