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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Former Argentine police officer accused of killing journalist in Buenos Aires 38 years ago finally captured in Brazil



The Brazilian Federal Police and Interpol captured one of the people accused of the murder of journalist and writer Rodolfo Walsh, who was killed in March 1977 during the last dictatorship in Argentina, according to newspaper Zero Hora. Walsh was also a militant of the Montoneros, an extreme left-wing Peronist guerrilla group.

Former police officer Roberto Oscar González, 64, was a member of the task force of the School of Mechanics of the of the Argentina Navy (ESMA for its acronym in Spanish) and is accused of various crimes against humanity committed during the last Argentine dictatorship, among them, being part of the operation that ended Walsh’s life, reported newspaper La Nación.

González was captured in the town of Viamão near Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, where he lived for more than 10 years. Interpol had issued a warrant for his arrest, according to O Globo. After his arrest, González was detained pending authorization of his extradition to Argentina.

The journalist’s murder occurred a year after the military coup that overthrew Isabel Perón, O Globo said. According to records, on that afternoon in 1977, Walsh was intercepted by a group of members of different armed and security forces, according to La Nación. The journalist was shot by a group consisting of 25 to 30 people when he tried to pull a gun. His lifeless body was taken to ESMA, but it was never found, Telam reported.

Some informants claimed that the group’s intention was to capture him alive to torture and obtain information since Walsh was designated to be the “chief of intelligence of the Montoneros organization,” La Nación reported.

Walsh was known for his journalistic work fused with is militancy.  His book of investigative journalism, Operation Slaughter (Operación Masacre), has been one of the most recognized but he is also remembered for his participation in the founding of the Cuban agency Prensa Latina, the newspaper of the CGT of the Argentines, the newspaper Noticias, and the clandestine agency Ancla from which he resisted the last dictatorship,” according to Telam.

On the day of his murder, he had sent a famous open letter to the military junta publicly denouncing “the plan of extermination of the dictatorship,” Infobae reported.

Living with González was Pedro Osvaldo Salvia, another former police officer accused of participating in the assassination of Walsh who also had an arrest warrant from Interpol.  However, Salvia died on June 17 due to heart failure, O Globo reported.  His body is pending transfer to Argentina.

In addition to González and Salvia, eight other police officers have been accused of Walsh’s murder, none of whom have been captured, Telam reported.



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