Officials Announce Crackdown on Rightist Terrorism
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ A series of police raids has turned up proof that rightist terrorist groups linked to the former military dictatorship still exist in Argentina, federal and police officials said Wednesday.
Raul Galvan, an Interior Ministry subsecretary, said at a news conference that the terrorists were suspected in recent kidnappings for ransom of wealthy businessmen and in political attacks, including the takeover and bombing of a leftist radio station’s transmission plant.
″From my point of view, there is a plan to destabilize the government,″ Galvan said. ″There are security agents of the former military government involved in these subversive cells.″
Walter Stefanini, chief of the Buenos Aires provincial police force, said three people had been arrested in the terrorist investigation, and that at least seven others were being sought.
He said an international arrest plea had been issued for one fugitive suspect, Raul Guglielminetti. The fugitivie allegedly served in the bodyguard squad for two military ex-presidents, Gens. Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone.
Both Videla and Bignone presided during a period of rightist military rule from March 1976 until December 1983, when an elected civilian government headed by President Raul Alfonsin assumed power.
At the news conference, the Alfonsin administration refuted domestic human rights groups and leftists who contend he has failed to get tough with rightist extremists who acted with impunity during military rule.
In the past 10 days, federal and provincial police have staged raids on houses, offices and a yacht in the capital, the southern suburb of Llavallol and the city of Mercedes, 60 miles to the west.
Police said they seized large quantities of explosives, high-powered and automatic weapons, grenades, army and police uniforms, false documents military-style radio transmittors, receivers and other paramilitary gear.
Galvan said there were indications the groups were responsible for recent kidnappings, including that of Enrique Menotti Pescarmona, a leading industrialist freed on May 21 after 41 days in captivity. Menotti’s family denied local reports that a $4 million ransom was paid.
Galvan said the terrorists may also be linked to the bombing in April of the transmission plant of Radio Belgrano, a state-run station with several leftist programs. The plant was taken over by several armed men, including some in uniform, who set off bombs destroying equipment and then fled.
Galvan and provincial Gov. Juan Portesi said they felt the terrorist activity did not pose a major threat to social order and that authorities had the problem under control.
″Acting with the law in hand, we are not going to permit terrorist activity in Argentina,″ Portesi said.