December 9, 2013
Ecuadorean president killed in plane crash in 1981Monday, August 26, 2013
Film links Roldós’ death with Argentine dictatorship
QUITO — A documentary recently released in Ecuador questions the causes of the plane crash that killed former president Jaime Roldós and speculates that the last Argentine dictatorship was behind the crash.
The death of Jaime Roldós was seen by Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa during a Documentary Film Festival in May.
Almost immediately after the screening, the Attorney General decided to reopen the investigation into the causes that led to the plane crash that killed Roldós and his wife in May,1981.
“The film shows that a part of Ecuadorean history was silenced, not studied in depth”, said Manolo Sarmiento, who co-directed the film with Lisandra Rivera.
The assassination theory is based, mainly, on the testimony of Richelieu Levoyer, who was Commander-in-Chief of the Ecuadorean Army at the time of the crash.
In the film, Levoyer says he believes the Argentine dictatorship played a central role in causing the crash. According to him, the “accident” was part of a broader plan to stop the advance of Communism and leftist governments in Latin America.
“In Panama, president Omar Torrijos died in a plane crash (July 1981); in Peru, the commander-in-chief the Army, Omar Hoyos (June 1981) died in a plane crash; and here in Ecuador, Roldós dies in a plane crash (May 1981)”, Levoyer is quoted as saying.
The documentary points out that the plan by Argentine dictator Roberto Viola was part of the so-called “Operation Cóndor”, which coordinated — sponsored by the United States — the repression of the opposition of the various dictatorships that ruled Latin America in the 70s and 80s.
Sarmiento is close to the Roldós family and believes the documentary “gives voice to the (couple’s) children who were forced to leave Ecuador for a decade”.
“(US) president (Ronald) Reagan takes office in January 1981 and, six months later, the two people (Torrijo and Roldós) who could have countered his political leadership on the continent no longer existed. It may have been a coincidence, but it had dire consequence for Latin America,” Sarmiento said.
The documentary cost just over US$ 200,000 and was released on Friday in 11 theatres in Quito, Guayaquil, Ambato and Cuenca, in Ecuador.