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Argentina, late 1985 explained – how did Julio César Strassera prove his case?

October 22, 2022

October 2022 saw the release of Prime Video Argentina, 1985 – we explain the ending, and it will contain spoilers.

The Trial of juntas was the first civil tribunal and the first judicial trial of members of the de facto military government that ran the Argentine dictatorship. Known as the Process of National Reorganization, the reign lasted seven years. From 1976 to 1983, military leaders were responsible for the torture, enforced disappearance and murder of nearly 30,000 Argentine citizens. All were primarily political dissidents who disagreed with their government regime.

It was the first such trial since World War II, when members of the Nazi Party were tried in Nuremberg. The dictatorship was actually made up of four military juntas (a government led by military leaders). The last “junta” was responsible for returning power to the people and to a democratic government. However, they conveniently wrote in the Self-Amnesty Act of 1983. Why is this important? Because they were now conveniently excluded from past crimes.

Prior to trial and prosecution, the group also began destroying evidence and records of its crimes against humanity. There’s a scene where a mother, during the trial, asks where her daughter is, and her response is that they don’t know. This raises the question of whether the evidence destroyed was also of people being held against their will. The military leaders tried were: Orlando Ramón Agosti, Jorge Anaya, Basilio Lami Dozo, Omar Graffigna, Leopoldo Galtieri, Armando Lambruschini, Emilio Eduardo Massera, Roberto Eduardo Viola, and Jorge Rafael Videla.

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The story follows chief prosecutor César Strassera (Ricardo Darin) and his promising young second president, Luis Moreno Ocampo (Pedro Lanzani), who pursue the culprits. They are watched closely, receive daily death threats, and their lives are filled with paranoia.

Argentina, late 1985 explained

After a moving speech by Julio Cesar Strassera asking the judges to find humanity and justice by condemning these military leaders because this may be their last chance. The crowd erupts in joy, applause, cheers and hugs. The director also incorporates, at this point, actual archival footage of the celebration, emphasizing the authenticity of the scene. Strassera is now considered a national hero in the press. However, days later, the sentencing did not reflect Strassera’s hopes. The sentences handed down are as follows (and according to the film):

  • Orlando Ramón Agosti — 4 years and 6 months
  • Jorge Anaya – acquitted (later Spain requested extradition for his role in the “dirty war” for crimes against humanity, but died under house arrest in 2008).
  • Basilio Lami Dozo – acquitted (later convicted for his role in the Falklands War but pardoned by the President in 1990)
  • Omar Graffigna — acquitted (2016 was retried and sentenced to 25 years for the “imprisonment for the abduction, torture and murder of the married couple.”)
  • Leopoldo Galtieri – acquitted (later convicted of mishandling the Falklands War)
  • Armando Lambruschini — 8 years old
  • Emilio Eduardo Masser — Lifetime
  • Roberto Eduardo Viola — 17 years old
  • Jorge Rafael Videla — life sentence
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Those acquitted were then rounded up to face time for their role in the Falklands War. Strassera realizes there is still work to be done after talking to her son. His mantra, which is not a cinematic conjuration, is “Never again”. Strassera and his team of young associates convicted more than 1,000 more people for crimes against humanity, and according to the film, they are still searching for and trying people today.

What did you think of the ending of Amazon Prime Video Argentina, 1985? Comments below.

Additional items for Argentina, 1985

  • Argentina, review of 1985

Post-Argentina, the end of 1985 explained – how did Julio César Strassera prove his case? first appeared on Ready Steady Cut.