Dirty War Argentina (1976-1983). List of Genocides of the 20th Century
List of Genocides of the 20th Century
- Namibia Genocide The First Genocide (1904 -1907)
- Armenian Genocide (1915 -1918)
- Ukrainian Genocide (Holodomor) (1932-1933)
- The Holocaust, Nazi Genocide (1933-1945)
- The Rape of Nanking (1937-1938)
- Cambodian Genocide (1975-1979)
- Guatamalan Genocide (1981-1983)
- Bosnian Genocide (1992-1995)
- Rwandan Genocide (1994)
Pre Genocide: Troubled Political years
In 1951, the popular Argentine president Juan Peron and his government were re elected. Juan had shown to be a charismatic president and was considered an icon to many of his followers.
Soon after his re election he began to lose his backing from the Church, the military and other political parties.
This occurred as Peron seemed to have a slight fascist ideology, his mistreatment of intellectuals, artist and writers, his anti clericalism and so on.
He still had followers among a large proportion of the people and mass demonstrations broke out, with pro Peronist and anti Peronist fighting amongst each other. Even the military took part and were responsible for the Plaza de Mayo bombings where several hundred civilians supporting Juan Peron were killed while in the Plaza de Mayo adjacent to the Casa Rosada government buildings.
Much retaliation and warring occurred and it seemed as if a civil war was brewing.
In 1953, Peron was overthrown during a military uprising termed the Revolución Libertadora, the Liberating Revolution which was led by General Eduardo Lonardi.
Pre Genocide: Peron Overthrown
Peron barely escaped with his life after the coup and quickly fled the country to Paraguay for his own safety.
Eduardo Lonardi was a Catholic nationalist and was greatly apposed to Peronism. He served as de facto president of Argentina from September 1955 to November 1955, only lasting a mere two months. His proposed gradual approach to de Peronisation was the cause of this as his superiors wanted the Peronist government swiftly removed.
General Pedro Eugenio Aramburu took his place in the presidency after an internal coup and remained in the de facto presidency until 1958.
Juan and Eva Peron’s images, credibility and names were routinely degraded by the new government and even speaking their names became illegal.
Peronists planned a counter coup against Aramburu but their plan was foiled and the leader of the Peronist movement, Jose Valle, and his followers were executed.
In 1958, General Aramburu’s de facto presidency was coming to end and among the candidates for the presidential election, Arturo Frondizi of the Radical Civic Union was one.
The Radical Civil Union, in the past, was Peron’s biggest opposition, but a proportion of the party became to ally with the now banned Peronists. This led Juan Peron, who was in exile at the time, to persuade his Peronist followers to vote for Frondizi.
Frondizi won the presidential election in 1958 and remained there until 1962 having been removed by a military coup. This occurred as the military were threatened by the allegiance between Frondizi and the Peronists, the military’s major opposition.
Due the present military control, Peron was inevitably banned from the elections and a new president, Arturo IIIia, came into power. 20 percent of the votes that year were blank, this showed that Peron had control over 20 percent of the people.
Arturo IIIia remained in power until 1966, were he was deposed of this title in a military coup due to his relaxed and peaceful style of governing. Military intervention seemed to be a regular occurrence in Argentina during the 20th century and the next 7 years the country would be governed by the military.
Pre Genocide: Peron’s Return to Argentina
In 1973, a new presidential election occurred with Hector Campora, a Peronist member, gaining the position. This gave Peron ample opportunity to return to his home country having been in exile for 18 years with the possibility of regaining his presidential title.
Peron did just that and returned home to an overwhelming welcome by his followers with his 3rd wife, a previous nightclub singer and dancer María Estela Martínez, more commonly known as Isabel.
Peron regained the presidential seat, his 3rd term, when Hector Campora and his vice president resigned. Peron appointed his wife Isabel as his vice president.
After only 9 months in power, Juan Peron died of a heart attack. This left his wife, the former nightclub dancer with very few political skills, Isabel Peron, in the presidential seat. Peron, before his death, advised Isabel to seek guidance from Ricardo Balbín, a member of the Radical Civic Union which was the group Peron helped get into power in 1958.
Isabel was foolish and didn’t carry out her late husband’s advice; she instead, sought guidance from Peron’s most fascist and right wing advisor José López Rega.
José López Rega, before Peron’s death, was appointed Minister of Social Welfare, and had control of up to 30 percent of the federal budget. He began using increasing funds not for Social Welfare purposes but to create a death squad called the Triple A. This squad was used to exterminate the troublesome left wing Peronists and also any opposition to the right wing.
It was obvious that Lopez Rega was a foolish choice for advisor to Isabel and would prove to be detrimental.
Genocide Begins: The Dirty War
The fascist right wing, Lopez Rega, was a Freemason and he and Isabel had an interest in the Occult.
Isabel, under Rega’s advice, sanctioned the creation of Death Squads to eliminate the growing left wing insurgency and also suspected communists. The Dirty War had begun.
Left Wing Gorillas revolted and murdered torturers and assassins who were members of the death squads. Among these gorillas was the People’s Revolutionary Army, ERP, who were the armed branch of the Workers Revolutionary Party, the PRT.
The main trouble began in 1976 when Isabel Peron was overthrown by a military junta, a committee of military leaders including the soon to be de facto president Jorge Rafael Videla who was the chief of the Army.
The military government continued where Isabel’s death squads left off but intensified the repression of the suspected communists, Peronists, members of the left wing ERP and PRT, anyone who posed trouble in Argentinaor in opposition to the new military government. Trade-unionists and Students were also civilians abducted and murdered by the dictator style military government.
Thousands of civilians were forcefully removed form the houses, offices, work places and where driven off to certain locations in unmarked cars, never to be seen again.
The civilians had essentially disappeared and not even the president knew what had happened to them or where they were.
This dictatorship was responsible for the disappearance on over 30,000 Argentine civilians who have thought to have been murdered in over 400 clandestine detention centres located throughout Argentina, with the centre at Campa de Mayo in theBuenos Airesarea being one of the largest, covering an area of 8,000 hectares. Over 5000 civilians passed through Campa de Mayo and met their death.
Campa de Mayo
A grim example of the atrocities that occurred in Camp de Mayo, occurred at Hospital Militar, located in the base. Pregnant women were taken here to be give birth, usually a C section at 8 months pregnant. The newborns were then taken from their mothers and given up for adoption, never to know who their mothers actually were or where they came from. Mothers met their fate soon after giving birth. The fathers and other men more than likely had already been murdered at this point.
These were examples of extreme measurements taken by the government to control the Argentine population and to secure the governments power.
Post Dirty War Genocide
The military dictatorship lost their power in 1982 having lost the Falklands war to the United Kingdom along with their mounting public oppression.
In 1983 a new president, Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín, was elected and the period that followed was a very tough but was a new beginning for Argentina.
Many members of the military government were brought to trial in this period and paid their price for their actions during the genocide. Unfortunately though, even to this day many members of the PRT and ERP and other left wing groups have not been convicted of any crimes against humanity or paid for their part in the atrocities. This unbalance of justice has left a lasting wound and divide in the Argentine population even till this day.
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