Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 4, No 7 (2015)

Epideictic genre and the public memory of Argentina’s last military dictatorship.

María Alejandra Vitale


This article analyzes some epideictic discourses published to mark the death of Jorge R. Videla, the first President of Argentina’s last military dictatorship. These discourses include declarations by politicians as well as various funeral notices, all published in La Nación newspaper. The death notices are highly controversial, taking up certain topics that once characterized the discourse of South American coups. This is in sharp contrast with Argentine society’s hegemonic public memory of state terrorism. The politicians’ statements, however, are consistent with that memory and condemn the former dictator while displaying certain inconsistencies among themselves, depending on whether the politicians concerned support the Kirchners’ political project. The article concludes that the funeral notices and politicians’ speeches refer to two distinct political cultures: one, majority and democratic, rejects the illegal methods used by Videla to fight guerrilla movements in the 1970s; the other, residual and authoritarian, still believes his actions saved the country.