Brigadier Basilio Lami Dozo, commander of the Argentine Air Force during the South Atlantic conflict died this week at the age of 88. In 1981 he was appointed to the military Junta next to General Leopoldo Galtieri and Admiral Jorge Anaya, and the three were responsible for launching the invasion of the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982.
The military adventure ended in complete disaster 74 days later with the surrender of the Argentine forces to the British Task Force sent to recover the Islands on 14 June. The military defeat forced the return of democracy in Argentina and on 10 December 1983 an elected democratic government took office in Buenos Aires.
In 1985 in a historic event Argentine members of military Juntas, including Lami Dozo faced trial for crimes, killings and disappearances, committed during their rule. The Air Force brigadier was accused by prosecutor Strassera of the kidnapping of 239 people.
However Lami Dozo together with Galtieri and Anaya ended in jail following a trial by the Argentine Armed Forces Supreme Council for their performance during the 1982 conflict. The Rattenbach Report published in 1983 was a scathing testimony of military ineptitude and Lami Dozo in 1986 was sentenced to eight years in prison. But in 1989, then president Carlos Menem pardoned him.
In 2003, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón requested the extradition of forty Argentine military officers including Lami Dozo for their alleged responsibility in crimes against humanity. He managed to avoid extradition but had to spend time in jail waiting for the long judicial process.
In 2009/10 Lami Dozo first talked publicly about the Falklands/Malvinas conflict and revealed that victory in the Islands would have been followed by conflict with Chile over disputed islands in the extreme south. He also blamed Admiral Anaya and the navy for having abandoned the Army and Air Force to fight the conflict.
The former head of the Air Force also said that on becoming a member of the military Junta in 1981, with Galtieri and Anaya, he was unaware of the existence of plans to militarily recover the Falkland Islands, which had been prepared by the navy.