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A passage on the Dirty War in Argentina



94 ,-..-' (lhittct


Salazar, ar-rd Sepilvecla, Historia oculta,

3a942 For mote cletail on thc c(nr\rittr(I()l)

(' ll n l''l' I



and institutions, see chapter 6, 181-85. Salazar' 113. Drake and Jaksii, e<ls., The Struggle /or Democrac5, 1-304; Cavallo' I-a exGarc6s' Mario Maza and and Sepilveda, Hist oria c-tculm,37 6-98: Gonzalo de la 1 98 5 ) ' ( ECO' Editorial Santiago: plosi6n le las mayria,: protesta r.l.ionol, 1983-1984 mmado del conflicto eI abti iguez: 1 14. Hernrin Vid aL, Frente Patri6tico Manuel RodT Party adopred the inen Chile (Santiago: E.litorial Mosquito, 1995) The Communist surrectionary line in 1980. 115. Corporaci6n Nacional de Reparaci6n y Reconciliaci6n,Infome' 577: Pattr' cia Verdugo, Quemados c'ivos (Santiagor Aconcagua, i986); Cathy Lisa Schneider' Press' 1995)' Sho,rryron.i P"ot"sr i,., Pinochet's Chile (Philadelphia: Temple University 153-90.

The Dirty \Var in Argentina

116. Orellana and Hutchison, Derechos hwnutos,51 52; Lowder.r, Moral Opp"rition, 93 -116 .
exte117. Sigrnund, The IJnited States and Democru:-"t ' 132-78; Munoz' Relaciones

riorcs, 1J3-34.

Enemies' 118. Arriagacla, Pinoclrct,6'1 78. Constabie and Valenzuela' Narion o/ oculrcL, 499-508' 2?1 95; Cavallo, Salazar, and Sepdlve da, Historia 119. Arriagada, Pinocher, 64-66; Vright and Oflate, Fllght from Chile' 171-97' Histona 120. Aniagacla, Pctr la raz6n,217 64; Cavallo, Salazar, and Sepflveda' 320 o/ Enemies,296 ocr.ilra, 565-88; Constable and Valenzuela' Narion


Videla governs, I



(leneral Luciano Men6ndez, con-rmalrdet, Thircl Arrny ()'r1s

il trr' The Arrned Forces responded to the crimes of the terrorists witlr becaLrsc frtrr:r tlrc fcrught' they the terrorisn worse than infir-ritely rorism 24th of March, 19?6' they used the power and impunity of thc lbs"|rt'
hciugs' State, abducting, torturir-lg and murdering thousands ofhumal pr15; Iniorme de la Comisi6n Nacitrncl srrlm la DesaPct:rici(tn dc Pcnotrttsr

' -\f2n64

witlt llctween 1860 ancl 1930, Argentina went flom a backwatcr stttrgglirrg irr l-;ttitr Atttt t tl.re l"gacies-of Spanish colonialism to the wealthiest country .'l tlrt lcltlctship ft'r States United i.l.r, oie with asiirations to challenge the l:r rl ruilli'rrr fivc arcl ' Wcstern Hemisphere. New technology, foreign capital, wt"l ncw into thc integrate to Argentina allowed "t't'tt"ttty lrcan immigrants of grrrills Tlr(' ri'(' i,r.r.l b".o-"" its greatest beef exporter and a major sqlplicr (('rr\lrlrr ,rf the expott e;;iiomi inderpinhed the developn-rent of rr slrrblc' grrit t"l rt' clrtsscs to which thc middlc t i,rr.ral, elite-controllecl political system,
I ( il i( s lr

ccs f.,ll,wirtg electoral reform in 1912' ln the contest ruDong cill)ilir t lrt t r', 1,1 ry. ' I,cci,rre thc Paris of Latin America, Buenos Aires clcarly clititrrc,l ()r'trrl l)clrls Tlrt histoly Tlrc yctr 1930 was a wittcrshcd in Argcntinc l't. tt tltl I )tlry lt ec()ll( 'tttl *i,,rr e',.i"l.I l)(rtlt t hc tltt'trt rt ie t isc itf thc Argclltinc "l-ltc l{)lrN'lt.llll c(tl rrl rttlittlt rrtrIttcl civililtll rtrlc


tly's sixty-r'iglrt ycitts ,t,.



Chapter Four

The Dirty War in Argentina



nomic decline that began in 1930 featured periodic crises that contributed to undermining governmental stability and continuity. Between 1930 and 1976, Argentina experienced nine successful milirary coups and twentyorre different presidential adminiStrdtiohs; only two elected governments completed their constitutional terms, none after 1952. The 1930 tuming pirint began what is often called the Argentine "ri.ldle';, how and whf a fiosperous, dynanic country lost its way and never recovered,4
Juan D. Per6n, an army colonel, was elected president in 1946 and was reeleiiedln i95t. en admirer of Mussolini and an Axis sympathizer in World War Ii, Per6n birilt his regime on the sometimes grudging support of hi's"fel,\

an eventual return to power. The military itself was divided between moderaGr;-wtio lavored iivilian govemment, without the Peronists, and hard-lincrs

who had little tolerance for civilians of any stripe. The two factions altcr. nated in power and occasionally took up weapons to settle their conflicts.? In 1966, General luan Carlos Onganfa overthrew an elected govemment and eiii6-lis-hed a repressive regime based bn the national security state concept, sirnilar in broad outlines to the military government established in Bbzil iwolears earlier. Upon seizing power, he pledged to combat "ideologieetinfittiaiion, subversion and chaos."s Unlike his post-Perdn predecessors, Ongania moved decisively to consolidate control hy banning political partics
and activity, repressing the labor movement, purging the universities, and silencing the independent press. His economic policies, a radical brand of nco. liberalisrn, also foreshadowed the model that the military would try to imp.rsr.:

low officers and, with the astute collaboration of his wife Evita, the enthusiastic sr-rppot of Argentina's workers. By promoting unionization and aligning the state with workers in labor disputes, Per6n managed to redistribute income sharply in labor's direction, solidifuing his base but alienating the economic and social elites. The regime nationalized foreign-owned railroads and utilities and promoted industrialization, creating a large state economic sector. After Evitat death in 1952, the Per6n regime lost much of its magic. Declining-fliicJs ioi Argentina's exports reduced i$ ability to deliver economic and social benefits to its base, and a conflict with the Catholic Church and growing opposition within the armed forces led to Per6n's overthrow in 1955.s Per6n's legacies profoundly influenced Argentina for decades and still reverb-erate today. Although an elected president, his authoritarianism and selective repression o{ opponents helped to ingrain both traits in the country's political culture. His prolabor policies left in place Latin America's strongest labor movernent, a militantly Peronist force. His populism and antielite rhetoric fostered intrinsigent anti-Petonism among the socioeconomic elites, much of the middle class, and most of the officer corps. Thus Per6n's ultimate legacy, a countrv so deeply and bitterly divided thar ir was essentially un-

in the 1970s.e The "Cordobazo," a irassive but shortlived uprising of workers and str.r' dents, octrrrred in May 1969 in the industrial clty of C6rdoba in reaction to Ongania and his policies. The Cordobazo catalyzed a rapid radicalizatiorr ol large sectors of Argentine society. Already under the influence of the Cubln Revolution, labor unions and university students moved rapidly to rhc lcft,
and secondary students became increasingly radicalized and mobilized. Al, though constituting a small minority of Argentina's clergy, the Movitrrictrto cle Sacerdotes para ell Tercer Mundo (Movement of Priests for thc 'l'hilrl World), inspired by liberation theology, exerted an influence disproportion,

govemible except by force.6


Between 1955 and Per6n's return to the presidency in 1973, Argentina alternated between civilian and military governments that averaged less than twenty-two months in duration. The concomitant lack of continuity in economic policy exacerbated the post-1930 decline, while antilabor policies eroded workers' living standards. This made the memory as well as the myth of the Peronist halcyon days all the more appealing and consequently hardened the Peronist resistance. Meanwhile, the influence of the C-Lrban RevoltIution was manifested in the growth ofradical groups ancl thc 'rppcar,ltrcc, ginning in 1959, of three rrrral guerrilll novcurcnts blscrl on ()lrc ( ittcvrtntl.i {irltrrrlrr, rll ,11:which wcrc .luickly srtpprcsscrl, Tlrt irgirrg Pq'tritt lt'ttriritu'rI it<tivc, rlitectittg ltis trrtsses of liril,trvcrs lrottt r.'xilt irr Mrrrltitl ittt(l I'trl'irtiltg li't'

rte to its numbers.io The most dramatic outcome of the C.ordobazo was the rise of a powctltrl turban gr.i€riilli inovement. Inspired by the example of the Tupamaro utbltr gucnillas in neighboring Uruguay, six guerrilla groups began operating in Ar" gcntine cities in 19?0. After attrition and consolidation, two majt,r gucrrillrr organizations ernerged: the Tiotskyist/Cuevarist Ejdrcito Revolucictuari.t ,'lcl ' l\rcblo (People's Revolutionary Army, ERP), led by Morio Robe lto Santtrt lro, and the larger pro-Per6n Montoneros, headed by Mario Firmenich, lrr ' 1 ,rrlcr to cultivate public support, the guerrillas carried out Robin l-ltuxl .styl,,l
rrctior.rs such as dispensing sti.rlen food in slums and forcitrg tirreign cornpittricr

ro lchirc dismissed workers. They raised ftmds througl.r bank robltries rut.l liirlrrqrpings for ransom; lttackccl policc, military post$, antl l<tcirlct itst,,,t l. rrerl widr thc clitcs; ancl assassinatetl imp()rlr;rot ligtrrt:s, inclrtrlirtg tltc srrrnrgly rr.lti-Pcr()nirl (it'ncral Pedro Ertgcnio Anmbunt, wlr,r lrrr,l h.'a.lt',.|
)vcftltn('nt.1 l Irr rcsporst' to this Lttrprcccclctrtcd chlllcngc, which lul to ( ictrcrnl l{rrlrcrto l-evingstorr',s ovcrllrrrrrv ,r{ ()trHrtnfir itr Jrtnc 1970, thc trrlllrrtty nrtcl tlrr.st'corrcl lx rsl' Pct 6t r


t :

(l,ri .



lrrrl,rr.r l,,rrr

lrcsitkrcy, tlrc

llrrry W:rr




e).ecul,on\. ,nd ,I,.,pp.".,n.. r." -"",., ,i. ,",r,"* i:f,ll:J;l jil:X(.

policc.Ii)ught hack with both Icgrl rrnel extlirleg.rl rrcllr(\h. t Jp,rrr jris :rso[ power in F,,hrurr,, lo7l. Lcvingrlen.,,,...*j,,.. t;1.,,.r' I Al.:^rl1pl,yrl Janqro LanLrs\e. inirjcreJ a .rale,,f \irge rhrl ulloweJ rhc lnrlitrrlv r,, jupplc. ment thepolice in fighting,.r.orrr*h;il; ;ri,'Jo ro**, ",,i ncu court to expeJir< rrrals o[gucrrilla,. The " courr or"u.l ..rnvicting some six hundred accuse,J terrorists "fi.L"", in two yea;. Simultaneously, the
The urban guerrillas
aclded a rrewe lement to the complcxrty trf

ttt,'ttIlr trtilititty irttclligcttcc rttlits wcLc Llsc(l sl)rlrirrfly' rrt lcrrst itr corttPiu-ison witlr Lhcil lirtcr lcvcls tlf lctivity. Nittlcllltlcss, tll, itr grc.licnts wcrc in placc fcrr tl-re enclgence of the ftrll-sctlc tlirly wrtt ll
rrrr,.l. r11,lirlg. ly,,1 tnilitr,ty,rr,,| 1,,,litt.I)ttlirrgl'ttt'rtr'sciglrt-Itttt|-it-ItItII


rrtt..l tlr,.

Beginnings o{ the Dirty War
Tl.rc dirty u,ar began ln earnest following Pet(tn's death in July 1974, LlLrrirtg thc twenty-one-month administration of his vice president al.rcl wiclow, Isrrl'L I


"rt-'s,r.1r"a, n,r. ,,,.. ',lr*",,,,,,,, nafficking in the occult. He created the ""rvl, Alianza a,-rr,.,,",,,,,,.i, ,rln (Argentine Anricomnunist Alliance

min-istel Jos6 L6pez Rega, a sinister cl"raractc, t

Argentine politics..While the ERp wanted nothing to d. ,irh t;;:;, ;;:'nrn.,,o,_,"ro, were fighting to force the military to permit per6n,s **r". rrr*ir",rlg ,l-rl aging lerder's amazingll broal appeal as well as hi, .*".,r, f., ,"*0rf","", I'ertin encouraged rhe guerrr[as, whom he called nt llrp.Ji"ii.rr*,"r"r,,, nv promising to create a sociirlist Argentina upon his return. This lyrri."l ploy triggerecl the r.apid expansion ancl radi.ntir",io,, uirtr. p"r."o, Vi]rr}r _.*_ menr that supported rhe Montoneros bur did not economic crisis and hcightcned labor "r.;;;.;;j;j.. " ""* milita.cy, ,h. ru...rro o-f',h.,rbo., guerrillas and the growth of thc peronist youth mad. it .1."r thot A.g"rrt,,r" rngovernable wi,r,ou, 1".0,L,no\'-g,; 3:11Lanussc Ti. called for elections in 197i sures, in which per;,rir;;;il";..; to participate, although a residency requirement prohibited per6n from run_ ning. After a brief peronist carctaker ,-,"r,r,rr"rr,, _h,lhl_rr*i.i ,f ,f.r. hundreds of jailed guerr.illas and.,th"r "ff leftists J;;i,^rh.d;; o'irir".r.,rir, court, Per(in retumed in ".i Junc 1 973. He was .1..,.,1;;;;;;;;^;"'i.1r,.,r,b", with 62 percent of the vote and inauguraterl in Octoter.rr Per6n's return ended eighteen years of -y,h Cvervrh tng I. , CVerVOnC.rmon, h, \ "..r"iin., "nd his ability to bc farri5Jns. Ir al.o en,le.l ^ rjrc leroni.t lclL j i'..^:Lxusr('rls f om-r.r [y LLnrted by th.ir goal of per6n,.s return, the factions within rne nr'terug(.ncou\ m,,vetnent .l,lil F.,llowing hi. a1.a,,on ai tlrey L,,rnprtrLl l,,r inllucnce in rlre nr,u go\snrm(nr. I_on".l ,,,.fl.,,.. 1,. *.ii hi" uni.,,, core and the left fi.inge, percin reneged o" t l, p.,r,,'ir., ,n ;ir;;;nn''"^r. and the Perorrist Youth and sidetl firmly with thi ma,rrr"."- irfr_ tions. The ERP's continued rero.sr acriors ,".r";;;.1;;;iun, ".*alr,r,,_ n",, .,.^i.lll: lerJcr.pr,ui,l.ilor.,..,,'f",.,,r-.f. ""iunrc,n:rJrrghrisrpoliricrl uowl] on the lelt in RcncrJl. irrclrrding tjle MonrL,ncros, who lr:r.l ,rr.l,,.rr,h,l their almed struggle upon per6n,,s rerurn. Repression of the left was crirccted by percin confidant ancr

I'citln. \yeak willed, politically inexperiencecl, and facing motrntrnti r( ' non.ric and political crises, she allowed herself to be controllctl by l-i,1'tr: ILcga, who ran the AAA from his ministry. ln responsc to the Mont()llcr()s' rcsumption of arrned insurrection in September 1974, the AAA hciglltcrrc,l


;;";"; ;;;:

its nctivity, and the government euacted increasingly tough antitcrt ror l;rws rrncl a state of siege that emporvered the military i'rncl silencecl thc prcss l\y lltc l9?4, dozens of "subversivcs" were bcing murclcrcd tronthLy' rtttt,'trg rlrcrn intellcctuals, journalists, union leirclers, and studcnts idcutificcl rvitlr r lrc left. Exilcs who hacl flecl repression in Chile and Uruguary lirlkrwirrg tlrt' torrps in theil countries becan-re favorite targets. Leftist terrol irtrtl tiglttist ( ()Ll)terterr()r grew exponcntially in late 1974, to becon.re much w,,t"e itt

TJre army became formally irvolvod in the rvar irgainst t[.rc lcft irr l"t'l'rrr'

rrry l9?5 lvhen lsabel Pertin authorizcd

it to launch "C)lcration ]trtlcl'ttt-

,l. ncc" against a rural guerrilla catnpaign tl-rat tl-re ERP had beguu tlr. 1'r.r'i , rrrs year in the ptxrr sugar-grou,ing prilvincc of TLLcundn. Tucttmiit-r ltcrttltt' tlrr' proving ground for the military's nationwidc cJirty war th:rt rvotrltl lirll,rs' rt\ coup in March 19?6. Military reports fron the renotc plovincc tl,.lil'.r'' rtcly inflatcd the numbcls,rf ERP fighters trntl casrtalties on both sidcs irr rrr' r 1o create ir false sensc of grave rrntional clar-rgcr; a.cr'vs blilck.ttt rtssrtr"l


of competing accounts. Rirther than attenpting to wil)c ()(ll ll)r ,rrr,rll uumbet ofrcbels in thc cottntrysidc, atny units in civiLirrlr tlrcss strrll<.,1 rrrrl lh,rlr-rctecl peoplc identificcl as leftists in the tor,vtts. ltl rtn onlin,'rrs lttcl rr,lt to tlrc clirty war, the atmy set llf its ftr't."ct.t.lcretrit"tt cettttl rvllt r't' it l{)rlrrrc(l in(l killccl not only guetrillns but also mcmbcrs trf grorrl's it l;rl't lt,l
,,rr 'rhscnce
rr rlrr ct


social scrvit t,s

, AAA),

cxtlrroljir irrl ,1,,,,,1,


approach, Gcncral Acclcl Vilrts, c,rtnnrrttr..lct ,'l tlrc lir , rrrrrir opr.trrtiort, .lcscrihccl thc rtrtionale Ltr,.lirty w,lr, "Tllc ollcrrsirt 'rllrrirrsl srrl,r'trsiotl Ircstl|l)()scs itr thc lirst ltlrrcc 1r'ccrl.'rrr trl rrttiorr irr rrll rrt t;rs lt scrits,'l s|r.'lirrl Itt.,,,,l,t'.t, rltt itt\t.lrtl rllL!,rl\ l(\ltrrtr\(, I l)(lrt(ll rr,,trr,)rlr( LI(:rtlr."A lit..rrttritr l'ti,rirtt irtl trrtrttrrissirrtl tlr:rt lrrt,.t irlvtstiglrtr',1

lirpllinirg this




tl)i,tnt'r linrf


irr n





monrhs after the ERp guerrilla force deployed there hacl been essentially de_ feated, setting another precedent for the concltLct of the dirty war at the national level. With the army's exercise in Tircumdn, in the words of a historian, "the genocide was under way.,,r8 murdel in 19i5. On October 3, Isabel per6n was hospitalized for a reported gall bladcier ailment. Three ilays later, peronist Itrlo Lu.ler, who as president of the Senate became acting president of Argentina, issued decree 2772, whrch ordered the armed forces ,,to caffv out the milildrv and securiry uperation. rhar m,ry bc necc{jiiry to annihrlar. rhe activities of subversive elements in all the countryt territory.,,lq This tLnpub_ lished presidential decree officially gave rhe mili;ary carte blanche

at opposition."lT The military prolonged its war in T[cum6n into 1926, six

army'.s opcrations concltldecl, ,,Ttre lepressivc systcr)l l\rl togt.llrer lracl a basic objective: the mass diffusion of terror in or,l", to pnrrlyr" ally attcmpt

toll beyond one hundred

While the army experimented ir.r Ti.rcum6n, the AAA and the guerrillas intensified their rerrorisr campaigns, pushing thc monthly political
sever.al rimes

turiott ilclivity; p(llg(\l ll]c I,r,rviDr.iltl lcgisllltrtrcs, rtlrtl e ity ct,urrcils; [Itntrccl liuritcel ptcss lretscvcrcly and r,rrrlts, rrnivcrsitics, attcl secotrtlirty schtxrls; nriry()rs' govctnors' ,l,,rrr. ()llicels replaced civilians as ministers, provincill rr,lrrrirristrators of state enterprises, and union officials-even irs tlitccttlr ol liruros Aires'fanous open house, the Teatro Colin Tl.re junta clivi(lcJ tl(' of high-rirlr li itrg ! (,Luttry irlto security zones and subzones under the control rrcgrrconpctiti(]l) and , ,ll i, t rs. Alth,rugh p"r.,,na[ and rnterbranch rivalry rercgitrt.. rivcly affectecl g,,r,.rr't,tt.r-rtul efficicncy, the Argentine military
nrrinccl a joint venture of the three branches in close cc;operatiou with Ar'personal dictatorsllin srrclr il(,rrrinil's l;ultiple police forces, never becoming a




, .,

whomever they deerned subversive. As the violence escalared and the economic crisis deepened, society became increasingly polarized, ancl support for the president virtually evapo_ rated. Thus. when it carne, as in Chile, the coup surprised no

war however they saw Iir, not only .rqainst rhc guerrrllas but

to wage

ri,,lly appearecl fairly modetate. Unlike Chile following the coup' in Ar',r'nrina ihere was no curfew and no black ink on newspaper pages rcvcrrlitrg r .",,r,,.'s l-r.ouy hand; there were few soldiers on the streets, ancl th.: hrlics ' was lhirl sense rlrirt turned up were identified as deacl guerrillas' The general
gt'vrlrc n.rilitary hacl swept irway an unpopuLar, incompetent, irnd ineffcctual i rnrnent in order to save the cQuntly from violence and decay Thc ap1'crrr':rrcc and tone of Videla and his colleagues were r-eassuring, not thrclrcrrlrrll ViLlclrr'* NorrctheLess, Argentines might have detected sonething sinister in ()l ,1,"".h ort,r*rr.i.g that "it is precisely to ensurc the just protecti(m llr(' ni )l I ( I irr n,rtLrral rights of man that we assume tlre fulL exercise of authority: il '"rr justice iurposc t() but l|ingc upon liberty but to reaffirm it; not to twist lr part of a sptec llrcir concern might have heightened i{ they lrad recalled rtrrtl lre harl given just five months earlier at a con{erence of Latin Antcric:rrr will necessary persons as "As many I ).S. rniiita.y officers in Montevideo: Thcy rliglrt security."Z4 lln,c to clie to achieve the country's [Argentina's] lilrt'r'' lrrrvc worried even more if they noticed the n.rany n-reclical refcrctrccs lly sprinkled through the discourse of military leaders: "diagnosis""'cir trc ct ''' 'r "r,,.inl pnthology," "surgery," "extiqration of diseased tissuCs "l5 l,,.,rrrtr"rt tu th"i, Chilean counterparts, who initially had rlifltrirrg L'hict rhe juntals agencll, thc Argcrrt it rt' r ivcs until the L)INA group and Pinochet sct

l)cspite its appropriation of sweeping powers, thc new governncllt itri

h\'r. '



to military intervention, and clearly

crne, Accus_



thei[ satisfaction turn to nightmare. When it scized power, the new junta, compdsing the army, navy, and air forcc commancler.s, proclaimed or-, pr.ogr"^, El pro..ro cle Reorga_ "mbitiou, nizaci6n Nacional (The process of National Reorganization). Shortly afier - the coup, the junta lcader ancl new president of .lrgentina, G".r.r"l J,,.g. Rafael Videla, announced, ,,The events which took plice on March 24, i972, represent more than the mere overthrow of a grvemment. On the contrnry, they signify the final closing of a l.ristorical cy.l" nr.r.l rhe opening of a nerv one."2l ln order to meet n challenge of this magnitr.r,.lc, thi ,,lli,r.r, rnovc,.l quickly to disnantle all institLrtions capirblc t,fojl,osirrg llrcrr :rrrrl t() ir\\11)(, clirect control of thc Argcntinc sfirrc lr irll l"r"ir. Tlr,ly r1,,. ,,,rr "rrr1u,rr,l,.,l stitrrtion rrrrrl politicirl Prrr.tics; cxlcrrtlcLl tlrc strrtt.ol ,,i.,1,,; ; 1,,,., ,l ( ,,rrtlr.\r,

majority ofArgentines welcomed rhe coup of March24, 1976, believing that a rnilitary govcmrnent was neccssary to restore order and reverse the economic decline. Thc Buenos Aires HeraLl expressed a common view: ,,The entire narion responcled wirh reliel . . . Thls was nor just another coup, but a rescue opemtion. These arc not mcn hungry for power, but men with a duty.":o 3,,, or 'rt ahile, many of those ,ho ,"i.o-.i th. golpe (coup) would

i., o time of crisis, a

,,lliccrs trrrk powcr with a clear p.,rpose' Evcn as Viclela sptlkc' rtnfrtcttlctttttl govcrnirlg jtttrlir' wlts ltt r'{ l)r'r'ssiolr, oldercd nnd ccrcrclinated from insicle the circlcrs tcrtliz'"1 it rrtt rnilitary irrg rrnlcnshccl. Although no c-rne outside the high lil lillcr, thc scizure lrf po\{cr was thc irlitial stclt towrtr'l inlltlct'lttrtrrr}: .' irr Stlr nretlr,,rl ol rc|rcssion corlcoctccl hy thc nrilitary c(tlrlr)rlllll hcginrlirrg
tr.rrrlrr.r l,)?5, wltcrr lsrrlrcl

r,itr lrtcl ilIp()intcrl Viclclrl lts lrltlry (1)rrrtrrirll(l{ t'

rrilitrrly's l,l'ttt,lt', lv lrtrrvily.tt ttltliotrrrl sttttrily(l{xlrillrirst"|lr'ttst'l r rr'"t llrr.rrr lr, tl.S., irtt,l n rlt(lrlilr( slr:rlrrir'l\ llrrtl':r tlrr' llrrrsr "l "tt lltt


Itl.l ,--.

( lir:rt'rr,r lirrrr

Ilr, lrirrv rnilitlry irficl Mruch

Wrrr rrr

Arlltrrllrrir -


nearly two months before thc coup, that the,,terrorist organizations,, wcre "absolutely impotent," that they had ,,little fighting capubility,, ,.rld *".. u,r. able to "reach a military levcl," although th"y *".. still capable of terrorist ircts such as kidnappings, bombings, ancl assassinatior.rs.l!

more fighters in a December 1925 attack on an anny ga[ison in Monte Chingolo in Buenos Aires Pr.ovince, leaving it with few combatants. Asscssing these devekrpmcnts, anny commander Videla wrote in January 1976,

their weakness as a fighting force in a failecl October 19?5 attack on lnfantly Regin.rent 29 in Formosa Proyitrce. After its ciefeat in Tucun6n, the ERp lost

gucrrillas, a pk)gram with broad support ilm(nlg ir |()fulircc tir.crl ol violcrcc, thc nilitait launcl.red its dirty war on subversion. As thcy woul.1 rcmintl rhc judges at their trial nine yearc later, Italo Luderi decree z77z har.l ordcrecl thcnr to eradicate subversion, a tern that the secret order dirl not clefine.26 By the time of the coup, the battle against thc guerrillas was acrually windir"rg down. The number of guerrillas in the field, according t(, an au_ thoritative source, is "a mrrrer ,rf g1g5sey,r1ft."z7 Esrimates vary'from forty thousand arned fighters to between two thous:rnd and three thousand. Dcspite these irreconcilable differences, the trajectory of the guerrilla struggle is clcar. TI.re larger Montoneros had suffered hea.,y lc,sses -and had revealed

gucr rillas atrtl t ltt it' I.,' ,-r,'rrr lcrrt of Lanusse's succcss in prosecuting captulecl

197(r l.rlcl irltctnirtivcs

'l-lrcrc to thc path if cltosc

: ;],il;.';";.'il;;"i;ti


nonc'rmbarants ir irlso rcinstated the death penalty; subjected basis for indefinlte dctcnlegal a .,,r,"",..."... a.r',aly coults, and provided

rlr(' ancl teTr' Moreorer' upon 'cizr'a f"wc! lirrc: i15 l"r*l of the ;u'liciarv to eliminate oppons115 suspcctcrl


power indetinitclv' thc .since the militarv expected to hold

,',',,ff,,r.,'Ia""f'"er'l\erwho\ouldbesentencedtoprt'rrncouldnot(\!\((I in 1e73 Yet the militarv did not trust thc l]il.;.#J;;;;.ulJ;""" a naval office1 if subversives were turned ovcr i.*,,iJi*""' t" .fte words of alkrwing a twenty ycar ,,i,ir"..""t *aft"r than being exterminated' "we'd be fifteen years t;^t alive and muybe r"ceive amnestv in ten to ,'i.i;;;; g"o'l militar1, o,r politicrl ,t'tirrv o' tt-ti"v-iiue' the.age of a

;;':il';;i; appeai of having been a mirrtvr in hts vouth'"rr i,' its. purelv nili"j";il'il;;eJ ii. j""r" ii."trt pn"i""tl po*t'-fJ tools to conplement .ht ltft' together' the militarv and;udict"t ii::":::: , ,,; ;J;;,;r;;t., remaining guenillas' rrt"rrg

lcxt the bulk of their rernaining fightir.rg force by micl_l97g. Monronercr lcader Finncnich fled in l9?2, and the rcnaining cadrc followed in 1979. lr
tcrritorl' or overthrorv thc govcrmncnt.2g Casualtics anong govcrnmcnt forces confirm the guenillas,eariy tlemise: Z9_mrlitar.y ard police reportcdly died fighting tl.re guerrillas in l9Zl, 54 in 1974, 137 in 1975, and the rrumber pcakecl at 156 in 1926. Fatalities then plummetcd to 43 in 1977, 6 in 19?8, and none thercafter.rc Despite this re_ ality, thc military would publicly clairn throughout their ncarly cight years in powcr, and thcreafter, that the grave tl.leat posed by the guerrill-as justitieii all their repressive actions, ancl that irn' nuncombatorrr co-"rualties were collateral damagc, the result of errors or isolatecl excesscs. 'Wly,.undcr thc guise of fighting guerrillas, dicl the military leaclcrship intensifi,' the dirty war to the poillt of abducting, torturiltg, disirppc,rrr.irrl, rrntl murcledr-rg th.usarncls of nonconbatantsl what .r.tiv.tctl rlr,i'r t,, rrrsrirrrtiollalizc statc tenorisrn ancl tLrriritsfulyontheirrrnirrnrcrl11r11l1,ll1ll,r15/ llllr is thc conrrnrlnrnr,rf tirc Llirty wirr.. With irll p,rliricrl ,,,,, .lr.rrr,i:, rlrt,

Following the coLrlt, thc military continuecl to clecit.rate the guer.rillas. ERP leader Santucho was arnbushed and killeal in July 19?6, and most of the grirup'.s 5111yiy1;15 flecl the countly by rl-re follou,ing year, Thc Montoneros hung-on longer, carrying out sporaclic terrorist actions, but they reportedly

the .t*,ut.l h^u" otlo\ved the regime to finish off Yet putting an end to Artime ,,,',; il;;il"bttators, in a relatively short was just the first step on the officets' ,,,1i]itili.';lJ:;"",ttt"t" "ta""* of strbvcra final solution to the problem rrr:cnc'la. Envisioning an exorclsln, cit ifellow conduct war on their ,iorr, they made the conscious decision to

,, r.-guorill^, collaborators,

suspected subversives' and others'

The Context o{ State Terrorism
t )rrLlcrlying

is clear that at no time after the coup wcre the guerrillas a threat ro caprure

the other Latin American wars rH tirr\l national scc:tt1,,;,;;i*hat, t"r. th" tl-"t"t t'f revolution and its antidotes: doctrinc hrt'l security National rity tkrctrine lrnd counterinsurgt'ltu *u'f"t"' even before the United Stltcs {orces armed l'"gr,,t ul irrflu"t." the Argentine in responst t. rhe Cuban-Revoluti'r. ,',lit.'.it, ,it "tf..ut the hemisphete the lerontsts' wlrt'm thcy cottn. ,, .,-'.,,1, uf,-tnay o{ficets' strong eversion to were qrtite rec''ptivc to ir'lco.i,l,. rcrl lr-r internal enemy, Argenrint offictrs From thr early |)50s' Argetrtitrt' lLrgicrrl inckrctrination in national security the clirty war,




h pctl ,.ltt' ir r11 t.,t.t imbibed French concepts of counterinsurgency.dcvc also h'rd ht'mtgrown llrt .'' ,,,i"tt',,i rv"*," Vietnam and Algeria Argenrinn a,nung th.ur Pr,.,{css,,r JorJrin l}r'Lrrrrr ;.:,',,. ,,;r, ..;i ;",."a1 security doctrin., intcl'nrl c'ncmy rtn'l 1rttl' ( it.rrtrt, rvlro trtcitchcd thc r.rcccssity of fighting the l9(l0s Throrrghtttrt lll( lr)(()s' lirltt,l ,,rr c,lttttt t rre* Jl(lli()llill y t"fn'" i" thc cxprltllctl tlrcil itrtt lligcttr t t rt ,i,, ,t,rf,' ,rn l,r,,,t.ltt t lr"..l p,lict rmits glcntly




lt't tlrt it t trlrrttrcttl 'r'lc irrLlc{irrtli.g Argttrtitt:r




Ohaptcr l'ixrr

Ilr, lrrrrt' Wrr rrr Arll


domestic enemies, for "the timely intervention of a surgeon t() c lirlicirtc thc evil before the body becomes too weak and is totally diseased."Jl

\Uhile Argentina in the 1960s was turbulent, from 19?0 on it was a textbook case for the establishment of a national security state and the application of counterinsurgency warfare. A govemment-commissioned i971 poll found that half the population of Argentina's three largest cities supported the guerrillas. In addition to a guerrilla wa! the powerfulj radicalized Peronist Youth movement; the leftward shift within the labor movement; rhe unprecedented mobilization of university and secondary sudents; and the impact of the Third World priest movernent had rindermined three military govemments and had defeated eighteen years of military policy with the successful push for Per6n's retum. The Montoneros' declarations that after their victory their fighters would replace the defeated regular army and the Peronist Youth's claims to be forming "popular militias" strengthened the resolve o{ many oficers to crush the left.3l To military men trained in national security, Argentina by 1976 appeared to require a large dose of very strong medicine. While the waning guerrilla movement was still something of a challenge, the root cause of the Argentine problem, in their eyes, was much larger: ideas that inspired the guerrillas and their supporters and threatened the capitalist system. The means to fight this enemy were not to be found in Argentinat laws and its courts-not even the draconian laws and purged courts of the Proceso. The solution was
state terrorism.

gtowllr ol lclt-wirrg itlc rj:rlv. ll)c tltrttitr (itvtrrr l(rllit'rl, irr lr)l(r irntl tltc irrtlirl..r)r()( :;i,';:' ,;i *,'.,,,;,' '",,',. r'l rlrt elitcs rrucl thcit irllics ct.brrtcctl itrtcgt..listrr .'l virtictics , ,,,.. ..,i,;1u,;r t,,.l.,l.nJi,,g Ihcir intercsts' ir.rcluding in{luence within thc ttlilitirry' tlrt rrrr,l litscisur. Thc far right extenclecl its govlrrr'rctrl the plofessions, and in politics' a'd cvcry ,i,,,r.fr,,fr" Thc |.rvt't 'reciia' ,.,nd.' i.flucnce degree of nationalist ;,,';;t t;iO:;."t;. 'ott instittttions wrts stt|,i,l .,*tr"ttt" right embediJed in Argentina's mainstream given the deglcc .'l tlrisrs ,',,,,,"" the miLirary's hard line orr the left, and, "' extreurc. righr bccrrttrc and i" tsl'dt. ,fr"-Jt.,t".tro" between moderate ''i. if,"ii the Proceso had large tlumbers of civilian collatrorrrtors irrrtl

i,i,",".f. ( \'!lt [lore sttPPorters']6 Tl''.,"1.,-'o.dn..b.thatnranywithinthearmedforces,aswellastllcsrrpthe 19?6 institutionalization of militirry ptrrvt't' ,",r,ur* .^tr-ti .tvilians, saw final solution to the threat of ir Marxist 1,,' ,r,r. lpfr,r**ti,y to implement a tlte

sinco ihot l-t"i hu"g outr Argentina and Latin America struggle wit h tlrc t lrban Revolution l? Argentines had see" their neighbors



.,,r,",ftr""r-Ctt"GuevarainBolivia'theTitpamarosinUruguay'andAl c()turtty's t).i,'il t" a-itf.-"nd hacl rvatchecl Gcneral Pinochet tecast his otrct
litical and econon-ric

The military was far from alone in embracing extreme measures agarnsr within its political system. However, reactionary elements in Argentina*often grouped under the label "nationalists"-were both stronger and more extreme than their Chilean counterparts. The far right emerged in the late nineteenth century as a backlash against the massive wave o{ immigration that transformed Argentina between the 18?0s and !(/orld War I; Chile, by contrast, received a much smaller influx of immigrants. Among the immigrants to Argentina were large numbers of Eastem European Jews, who created Latin America's largest Jewish community and gave rise to a strong strain of anti-Semitism in the extreme right. The resettlement of hundreds of German Nazi fugitives in Argentina following World War Il bolstered nationalism and anti-Semitism and strengthened the extrerne righr. Jews ancl the left became convenient scapegoats for Argentina's plohlcors, whiclr
the left. Like Chile, Argentina had a history of exffeme right currents

bid to rid Chile of the Marxist thteal movcmcnt' rurat or urhittr' hrt'l ,,,,,.i'i ,. ,.ii. n"*n" the fact tl-ran no guerrilla rect i' 'tr ' in the sevcnteen years since the Cuban insrrt , f,,',f,.","4 C"ti-'s feat v i' a Mrrxiit macle 1 976 t,Crgentina fiom the Cordobazo to , i.. l'"i,t-""" J{)(security r'r'v ;rDoear oossiblc. Clearly' to officers scl-toolecl in nationirl proviclecl the bcst means of eli'rinitring tlrt in

,l;1.:',.l."il;ir",1 'n"i'ot

tlrlcrrt. reduced the military mirrr.l-s.r tl ,.-". pot*1c"l prisoner Jacobo Tirnerman was left-wing t(rri)risrrr; ,, ;;';;t;, \X,"tli Wnt lti had begun; the enemv chos'n bythe enerny " Thc rtprx ' ,, ,i,nlr..,t"^ *", the initial batrlegrounJ r''I 'l ir,,ili.,,*rrr.'nrt LceJ rht di-c"ursc "t rankitrgoflicer'-rh'rn''li' ,,t lirrcs front the on was ,:,:i,...;,.;il i,i -.,.r""r",r belief that Argentina tt' cotnmtrni"rlr civilization ancl rru,,1.l war betwcen Western Christian ', craJicJti')n' untctr.Jr.."l by linritrr of {l( ( tcJ their r,vill to tnount a campeign atmetl force.. htld tlrc 'cirr' ; ,;,;."",il use .f force n' b"'b^i'q'' while the Ilris w,rts thc clriving force l:ehind the dirty war'r8 reasons ltor thc tlirty rvi't M,rrc tuu-rtlluc consiclerations also eh'rcidate the sit.tcc l9)l) ltrr'l rlrrlikc tlrcir c)hilcirn counterpalts, Afgcntine miLitary men r\ er-tt'r the go'r..l trf rhe nrrtion' itr tlrt it



,hifsr for political

mounted after 1930 and reached crisis proportions u-t r1.t" 1t)Jt)s.tf The Argentine elites lost control of nati(mul politics rrrrr. lr crrrlit l rlrrrr ;r rrriLl,llt .t l;rss did thcir Clrilean countcrparts. Aftcr thc risc l() p(rrv( r

:',';, ,,;,, ,'ti


ftlrccs had conte toconstiltttc rvltrrt l|r]rl( riiil illl( lcsls.lll(l strirtcgy' lhc almed ittnbitiotts 'rl st'tltr'"1 ,,,,, * f,,,f ,r. lrrtsc,rllr',1 rr "trrilitrtty |rrrty "l9 l)es|itc the


{.r i'lt"i' t""'-t gootl Alrhough tnt..'r n'rlly eli'itlul ,r'tt





( ll,,rtrrt r Ii'rLr







its lcaclcls, h,rwcvcr, the military hacl bccn uuirblc to c()ns()li(lirl( its lrtrliticrrl lrwer and form staLrle, lasting govcrnmcnts. lf they s.rugltt t,t hol.l porvct ovcr the long runJ getting ricl of thcir most implacablc cnenies, the gr.retrill.irs and other subvcrsives, would be thc first order of busincss, folkrwed by thc l, nir)g .ll thc y',,wct{ul Perottt.l uni, 'n'. The Argentine military ancl policc r,vcre notoriously corrupt institutr(Jns another markecl contrast to their Chilcan countelparts. For years, some tlf their leirders antl units had operatccl cxtensive extorticxl, kidnirpping, and dlug rackets. Dircct governance witl-rout irny olrtsi.le oversight allowed the cstablished corrupt practices to flourish ancl becoue more profitable. lncleed, in thc militil izecl statc, officers were placcd in charge of the numerous en' terpriscs in the large statc sector, giving thcm tnprececlentecl opportunities frrr graft and other f<rrtns of cnrichment. Military and ranking policc officers wcr-c also offerecl lucrativc seats on boards of dircctors in the plivate sector. Lou,cr down in the hierarchy, solclicrs who abclucted peopie to clisappear them loutincLy looted their victims' homes, making off t'ith what u'as callecl "war booty," which u'as shared with their sLpetiors. In irddition, r'ictims werc made to sign over titles to their hones, attt,rn-robilcs, and other assets. Somc indivicluals, in firct, wcre abclucted for financial rathcr than political motives.40

There w:rs also thc rcvenge motivc: lor every militaty or pctlicc victim of gucnilla tenorism, fiour the l-rumble patroluan to (leneriri AlamLrrLru, who n'as murdered by the Montoneros, there would be a score to scttlc. Oncc initiated, the clirty rvat tciok on a life of its orvn. The enemies of thc tatherland u'ere nunerous, an infinitely exp:rnclablc pool; the task wits tl.rclcforc potentially inteturinablc. Pou'er, frour Powcr over the countly to powcr over thc li{e or cleath ,rf irn inclividual, \vas a potcllt llilrcotic, irs reflected in
am the lord of life ancl cleath."4r As their human rights cLimes accumul:rtcd and the number of thcir victims grew, militirry rren hacl to consider the possibiLity, however r-emotc, of invesrigar,,,rl and prosecrrtion ur-rdcr a future civiltan govcrnment. MoteoveL, the financirtl a color.rel's self-descr iption: bonanza tl-rcy cnjoyed fiom cxcr-cising political1,ower coulcl not coufirr,,.


Thus there r,vere multiplc notives fol prolortging stntc tcrcivili:rn rofism under thc guisc of ir wirr on thc gucrlillas.



Htrving clecidecl on a broacl, one-sitlccl "wal" against nonconbatrlnts, llrt rnilitarl' hacl to cletcrminc u'ho the suhvcrsivcs were incl h()\\' t() irtttck ll)( ttr' Subvcrsivcs were clefinc,-l in varior.ts clehumrtr.rizing wirys. F()r Vi.lclrr, tlrty wcle those "rve c]o not citt-rsiiler Argcntit-tc" ltltl I'h,r hrrLl "i'l' rr' ( 'irl)lllrry l() ()ur\/cslcnlr(lhlistiirttcivili:irtiott."Foltlrclrolitt tlrill ol lir';rri,', r rtIrrltrl
s:tLlislic lotltttct, srlrvcrsivcs rvttr',rrrtsi,L "tlrc l:rrrrily,,l trr,rrr " ,\rr,l l,'r rt

rtrrl rttttl lrttct jrtntrr l,:r,l, r li,lrrrrl,kr l\igrt,'tre, thcy wrl( lt()t ()lrlv "irlrlilir tL,.r'Lrrr,I'' IrrrI wtrt rrls,r "rrilcrrts ol tlrcrrrrti-(llrr-isl."lrl)r'ccisetltlitriti,rtt'rt,r, rnr(((ssrlytrrl coLrtsc, hccrtr.tst lhc trlliccls wcre botlr jLrtlgc atrtl jrtryl ltt l'trrr r( ( , iury rlegrcc of rcal or itnpttted clissidcncc fron thc tttilitltty's tltissi,rtl rrrr,l r',rlrr,.s nlttlc ortc it 1)otet-rtial talget. Civcn the ladicalizatiotr ol AtgttrtrtrL ',r ( ri l\r in tlrc 1960s ancl 19?0s, the nunber ofpotentiai victittts u'its ittrtttt trsc li0 r\'lren gricving parents protested that thcir missing chiLd wirs n()l ir [rr( r rrll,r, rr co Llirborator- of the gucrrillas, or even a political uctivist, tlrlt ltt ot slri 1,,,1 ,l,rnc nothing illegal or wrong, they wcre missing thc rcirl poitrt ,,1 st,rtr tlt r rristtt. Irr ils rval ot-r subversion, thc r.lictatorship orgauizecl a systcur ol rclrrr\\rL,rr llrirr r( cognizcd no legal or mttlal brtundirrics oL constlaints ()n tllc lr)ililrrl'\'i, 1,,,rvcr. As LieLrtenirnt Coloncl Hugo Pascarelli assertecl, "Thc figlrt irr rllrir lr rr , ,r r .. eng:rged cloes not rccognizc tnor irl limits; it is collcluctctl bcy, rrr,l l, u '. l ,,r , r il."llCenelal lb6rico S:rint Jcan, governot ofBuenos Aitcs lrrrvitr,.t rl r, r tlrr coup, once articulirted itis strategic urclclstancling of thc rlirrl' rr'''r 'I r*t rvc rvill kill all tl're subversivcs, then we wiLL kill thcir collrrlr.r:rt,,rs, rlr, rr . . . thcir sympatl-rizets, then . . . those who ret.naitt ittrliflitcnt; rrrr..l, li r,rlly, rvc n'il1 kill the tirnid." (lenerirl Ranrcin Oanps, chicl'of prrlicc ,'l lirtn,rs Ailcs Province, like'"r'isc cnvisionell conccntfic lings ol rr,trlrr, "1;itst, rvt' 1,',,1u lly rrnclcrstoocl if "subversives" is suhstitutecl tirr "gucrrillirs": rll lill tlrc gucnillas. Thcn, rve will kill thc guerrillas'fltnilics. l-hcrr rvc rvill " rlltlr,. llicncis of their familics, anr.l the tricncls ofrheirflicnds, so llirrt tlr, r',' (icncrlr] " I l,c tro onc lcft t,r temeurbcr u'hrt the guclrillas wcte." (iit|rl'rr, I-rrt irrtr,r \1, rr,lnLlcz, c,rnru,tt-rtlct,rf the Thirtl Atmy Corps bascil irr 1,rrt lrr" ,l l,r, rrrr lr irr quuntitative terms; "\7c' irt e going to have to k iLl lQ,Qllll 11 ,|lt ' ,,t)t)l) srrh,,'crsivcs, 20,000 sympathizers, antl r,vc will nakc 5,000 trtislrrlit r.."lr ll,, .r' l)irltcstltte rings olthell ni.ry have overstatcJ tlic actttal totclr ol strrtr' rL r(,ri\nr in Argentinl, but they offcl a chilling insiglrt irltrr tlle tttitlrls rrrr,l ,r,rl,rt i,rrs ,rf tlrrcc of thc diry r.t'er's nrrst powerfttL rtud lcrtt,rtl rcl)rcss( )ts l ,,rr11 lrclorc thc corr1.r, thc bcc'led-trp militly lnLl plicc itrtcllitctt,, s, br.()lll( lirrlt{ l:. ' 1,, . lr rrl rornIilcLl lists ol leftist susFccts, rcaclying tltcltl l() I ,r,rrlt rrrcrrr|cts wclc oftctt tirkcn, as Carnps lttrtprtsctl, tvitlt tlrt ttsrrlt tlrtrt ,,ri( l'itl(nls l()sl t\,vo, thrcc, ttr ntorc clti],.1r,.:lt iln(l rt gliill(l(lliltl (,r lw, , rtlr, 1 \ i( ll)ls rlcrc iJertfifictl lront ltklrcss lrool<s, Irhotogrtlllrs, ()l s( ltrn)l irl l,,rrrr, t.rkr'rr llrrrrr viclitrts, ttirtnttl rttt.lcrt()tttlf(,()rsl)()ll('(l ()ll llr( sll((l\I'I ' ' I I I , t , r s . Ir'1rrny 1,t.,1rle wctc lrttgt'lcJ bccrrrrst llrt y I't l, rrrrlr I to trrtr ,'rrr' ,,1 1r'tsllrrs llrirl \\'(l( s(lslx('1,l() tl,lritll rvtt't illlrilrlll((l lrll(l(lr(l( 1,,
r ,
r ,




r,'lrrlr,,,r rrr..t,l1' r lrrrl. r'1 rl,rrrlrrrtlt,v iritlr tlrl trrilitrrrl'r, r,'r .r,,tr,,1 ,llrrrr,irrl,,\'lu lttr',, ll',," irr, lrr,l,,l rrrrir)lr rrr( irrlrr: ,'rr,l l, 'r,1, r ',










rr r


, li1,,


ll,. .-

r ilr.,t,rcr


llrc l)irry Wrr irr Argr,ntinrr , =
rt 's



students, teachers and professors, journzrlists, actors,.rtists, il.rl ()thcl l)r.ol.cssionals, particularly psychiatr.ists and defense lawycrs. lnterbrirnch rivalry, personal anbitions, incompetence, greed, and the opportunity to settle per_ sonal scores under cover of the antisubvenive crusade yielded still more vic-

tims, including some not even suspected ofsubversion. Some were victimizecl randomly, while others were collateral damage of murders or disappearances.45

The Disappeared

. : ' .,

When they seized power ers were keenly aware of

in March 19?6, the Argentine military conmand_ thc international outcry against human rights vio_ lations in Chile. They had observed the almost overnight strcngth;ning of the world's human rights lobb1,, the unprecedentcd steps that the UN had taken to condemn the Pinochet regime, and the response of the U.S. Con_
gress and the new, burgeoning U.S. human rights movement. yet rather than

as clcitil, its long its cvcl rrnJ ilicrt,.ls wctr' [rrnily ,r lry ,'l lrtlrc c()lltinr.rc(l lirr tlrc r', rrtrirlizcd, afraid that spcaking oLrt or aggravirting the authoritics woLrltl tc,,rrlr in lris or her death. Further, the regimet frequently repcatc(l cxl)lilnit. rirrrs ,f the whereabouts of the disappeared that they hncl g,,nc rttrrk't11r',rrrnd, were in voluntary exile, or had been killed in intemecinc figlrting rrrrr,'rg telrolist bands could not be disproved and thus providccl iruertns,,l ,l, rrirrl in which many Argentines took refuge. For these reasons, as wcll irs iur ( \ r re me perversity on the part of some who would deny families thc sollct ,,l rnorrrning and burying a body, the Argentine military dictatorship pcrlc'cte,l t lrt Llisappearance.4s

Irrrrily nrcrrrher




issilg lirl lrcr than ccrtificd
Lrvecl one'.s safcty,



being deterred from their mission of eradicating the left, the Argentines selected a method that they believccl would allow them to go undetected and thus avoid the internarional pressures directed at the Chilean rnilitary gov_

' ' ,-:'

. '

ncither publicly accessible anest records nor corpsesr thc govcrnrrcnr enjoyed plausible cleniability. Disappearance scrved to intcrrsily rrnr I pr ,lr rrrg I lrc gencrirl statc of tcrror by which thc trrilitirry rrrlcrl. It rvirs it tr[.ilr:, ol (lis.ollrlging Irrhlic outcrics ln,.l tlrc lirrnntiorr ()l ir (.()lr(,siv{.rrIrII,l,It!,,|| ,r,

The military rcgime detained, tortured, and exiled many thousands of people. Ir murderccl ovcr 3,800 inclividuals whose bodies wcre rccovered firr burial. But the Argentine dirty war became synonymous with disappearances; rh. Argr.ntirre rnilrrar'1 rt.gimc rnrde rhe r.rrn..Ji"app.ar. a siniqer tian.irire v.rb. Thr lnrer-Ancrican Comnissior.r on Huuran Rights callecl disappearance "a true {onn o{ torture for the victim's farnily and frienc{s, b..r.,r. o} th. uncertainty thcy experience as to the fate of the victim and because they feel powelless to provide legal, moral, and naterial assistancc." Nanca mas, the r-eport of the Comisicin Nackrnal sobre la Desaparici6n de personas (Na_ tional Commission on the Disappearance of persons, CONADEP), which was csrahlisheJ .rfrcr the encl of military rule, likened the eifect of disappearance5,,n loreJ on<. t,, "f<rrnan<nrl) leaning,,vqr ths 3[y.s,,J a horlor w thour limirs." The morher of a disappcared person explained the impact of rhrc method of state terror: "Disappearance is inexplicable. you are left wich a vbid that is lrever filled."aT The disappearance served ihe regille's purposes because, since thcre welc

Nunca mris, publications of human rights groups, tcstimonies oI sLrt \ iv( 'r r' Lletcntion centers and a few repressors, and the trials of the ftrrmcr r,tl, r's 'l .ril{)w us to establish the anatomy ofa clisappearance, from start to finislr. All l,r'rurctres of the miLitary and police were involved in tlisappearance., l,rrt lrirrrls-on pnctitioners wcrc relatively few. ln the military's arrrangcrrtettl li,r' tcrlirorial administration, Argentina was divided into security zoncs thirl (1)irrci.lcd with the jurisdictk)n of the four army corps, with snalLcr zoues lot tlx. nlvy and air force. These jurisdictions were further cliviclccl into s,'trr,. lorty suLrzones and hundreds clf areas. Under general orders frout tltt t,,;,, ',,rrc, subzonc, and area commanden set up gupos de tmeas, task grorrlts ,rl rrrilirnry and police personnel that o1-reratcd semjr utonomous[y in ct,nduetirg , lisr p|earances. Officers not connected to task forces were sometinr('s lrs signcd to participate in thenr or were given duties as executionels in orr.lct l,, sl)rcird rcsponsibility and establish a "bknd pact" of silence.4e The task group, which carried out abductions that initiatecl disa1,1'cr11,rnt:cs, cousisted normally of between half a dozen and a dozen mcn, ttsLltlly ,llcsscd in civilian clothes and using unmarked cars, pirrticulitrly F,rr',1 li,rl.. , The majority (62 percent) of abcluctions that wcrc witncssecl by rt sLtt 'ns. \'ir,,rr ar.rcl verified by CONADEP wele conducted at night; a majoliry (rrls,r 1r2 pcrccnt) of abductions occurred in the victim's clomicilc, whilc otlrt rs rrxrk;,lacc on public thoroughfares (24.6 percent), in wolkplirccs (7 |trcent), or in places of study (6 percent).50 In thc case of abductkrns at home, the task grougrs infcrrmccl Ltrtl 1r,,licc ,rl irrrpcr.rcling irctions so that they would stay clear; this was kttowrr irs llrt' "11r'ccn light." Thc kidnappers woulcl enter the victirn',s h,rnrc, r,rttglt lritrr ,'t lrlr r rl,, rr ttl bcilt ( )r lhrcll cr) lrtnr ily trrctnhcls or othcrs ftrtttrJ ot-t t lte |'tr t rtts. s ll tlr<.irrtIrrrlcrl victirll wrrs ll()l l)r'cscnt, thc irbduct()rs rrr,rlnlllly lv|itul, lr()l,l

in,l otlrtt' ttsirl,.trts ,,t rtttrvittin'l visilot-s cit|live rrlrlil IIl(' \'i(IirIr :rrli\'((L Ilrr.y rrrrrtintly srr, li,',1 tlr, lr,rrrrc lot rvrrtl,,x,ty. li, cttltrtrtc rrtt,l (rt(l)(l tll('




l() ,..-

(-l)irt)r(r Ir,'l|r'

llre l)irry Wrr irr Arrrrrrrr,



provilrce of l3uenos Aires; ancl La Pcrla, a militar.y basc in Ccircloba province. Arnong thcm, thcse fl'e facilities ar.e estil.n,te.l t. hirvc reccivecl s..re 14,500 pris.r.rcrs. Rcgarrllcss of si:e, all the tlcterti.' ce^ters housed to.turc facilities, prisoners' quartcrs, milit:u1 c.l.police personnel, antl, corlmonll,, living.ltrartcl.s f(n thc to.tLllers themsclvcs. The seclct cletcntion centcn u,cLc c,.rncei'ecl "mrre thirn lbr the sheer physical supplcssion of thc victirns, ftrf submittino thcm to a meticulous ancl planncd clespoihrcnt oI the atttibutcs of arry h.,_ rttan. Bccarrsc cntering thcm mcilltt [r evcr\ clrsc CLAstNLi Tu tXtSI [slcl.',ra Such u'as thc case of ESMA, kr.rown irs the Arscntine Auschwirz. the irosr vivicl synbol of statc terr()rism, loc.rrc.l ,,n Buen,,s Ares, hLrsy Avcnicla Lib_ crtadot San Martin, Occupying a prirnc sitc, the school rvas a well-kept, tr.an_ qrril-irppearing syml ol of navy pritic lvhere junta nrember Ac{niral Enili<r Mirsscr:r ran one of thc rnost fcarecl task groups, GT 3/32. Whilc ESMAIs rrormal functions as an cngineering school continuccl, tl-rc ofliccr.s, livi,,rj ,l,rrrr., tcrs wctc rctnodc'lctl to ltccont trtrxllr tc il t()ftul.c ccDl(,r. lt, rs|itr,l, r ,l 1,1r,rt,,11

of telroL that abductions causecl, thc, tilsk grorls si)mctimcs ll()Lrfc(l thcir inpunity, calling attenti(rt to rheir actions throughout tJrc neighbor_ hoocl J:y makilrg loud noiscs, firing weapons, or blocking traf{ic whilc exe_ cuting the abduction. A rcporr on a i976 case indicated that the perpema_ tors went "into the street u,ith rheir prisolers, in the middle of the m(rrning, in the sight of neighbors and passersby, pointing hand guns ancl r.ifles ancl w rrtrrrg ullrrrrrir.llr .rnJ u ith .,,rnpl.r.. irn1,rrrrl1."'l Abducted persons weLc not taken to regular police faciliries to be booked, where their ilctentkrn woulcl become a matter of public recorcl, but to secr.et r-ietention ccnters whosc eristcnce could Lre irnd was consistently cleniccl.sl The rcgine sct up appr.oximatcll' lgQ 1rf thcse facilities throughout the coun_ try, many located in sccured areas within nilitirry L.rirses irncl police staturns. Others wclc in such diverse settings as hitspitals, g.ru".rrrr.r"a, offices, auto_ mobile repair shops, sch<xtls, farLrs, ane] uvcn the hir\umct)t of rhe rrpsc:rle Galcrias Pacifico on Buenos Aires'downtown Fklida shopping street. Thus nar.ry people u'c-re hcld and torturcd within fect or evcn inchcs of nonnal life. As one prisorel lecallcd, "l cor,rld hurr pcople walking by, cars ancl buscs pirss_ ing, lifc going on as usual, with us ciisappealccl in a conccnrrntion camp. 1Wc rvere in the rvorlci but nor Fart of it, alive in the reilln of c{eath."5l The fivc largest sccret tlctention centers wcre thc EscLLcla c{e Mec6nica tlc la Arrnacla (Navy Mechanics School, ESMA) and the Cluh Atl6tico, a fcdcr-ai policr. facility, both in very visibleRuenos Aircs locations; the Campo rle Mayo alny base ancl VesLrbio, a former summer residencc, both in the

:tr)r( r('()nr lol rr'rrr llroly. O [ ]/]l lrcrrrLlLrlltcrs wirs r)r ll)( gr()lrrrl ll,r,rr, :rr,l ,,llitLls livtl olr thc scc(nrrl lloor irncl pirrt ofthc tlrirLl. I}rth lrrrl'itiorr: rrr,l rlrrlrl(ss, Mirsscril urgccl his rncn in GT 3/32 to tirkc on thc crrcrry "u,itlr tlrc rrrrxinrrrrrr r,i,rlcncc," ancl he reporteclly cngageci clilcctJy in thc toltrrlt.rrl,'rr11 rr it lr :r list , rl saclists ir-rciuding licutcr.rar-rts Antonio Pcrr.ria, Alf lcrl, r Ast i::, r, rr,l lrrrr (irulos llolirn. ESMA bccamc notorious also fol its "dcrrrh lliglirs" irr

r,lrielr 1.r'isoncrs wctc throu'n from aircrirft into the Atlantic Occrrn. ()r',,r Iivt tlrousand abductcd pcrsons passctl through ESMA; n.rost pctislrc,l."' I J1'on lrrrivir-rg at a cletention cer-rter, Frisonc$ werc ilssigncd nLrnrlt ls, lili, l, rrs in Nazi extermination caurps, and werc taken imne.liutely lo tlr( ror t, . cirrrnrltrs, which in sorre centem wele calleci quirlfcmos. ol ()l'(rirtI rlr(rrrcts, ls fornrd in hospitirls. Ore survivor clescribecl the qulrri/orro in tlr, l,'llorving terms: "This was a very sinjster place, the rvalls werc s,r t,rrcr,,l rr rtlr l,loocl ancl strins that you coLrld barely make out that it hir,.l ,,nr,. 1,,, rl l,rirttl vellou'. The smell of bLur-recl flesh, blcnd, sweat, :rncl cxcrcnrcnr rrr r,lr' llrc ilir hea\,-v, suffocating."56 Prisoners thced ir wicle rilngc oi |lrysir rrl ,r,,1 1,syi:hological tofturc, as in the Chilcan DINA's ccntcrs. As rclu,r't.,1 I'y l,rrr,'rrrrs dctirir-rcd in fivc diffclcnr ccntcrs, tl-rcrc was ir star-r,-lll.1 r'cgilntn ,,1 r, ,r { rrc that varied according to the victin's valuc to the replessol s, I hc (lr r]r rty ,rl infcrlnation cxtractcd, ancl his c,r hcl ability t() rcsist; it rrstnlly lrrst,,l l,( l\\'(crr ()ne and ten days. The most cominonly usecl instrtrmcnl rlrr" tlr,, , l{ .lric cattle proci, or /ric,rna, an earlier Argentine inventiorr tlrilt ser\'( (l rl , lli t t rvcly for torture as for herc]ing. Prisoners were strirppetl to a rlcl:rl l:rlrll tr(l l()rtur-ecl $'ith the picdna for hours on the rnost sersitivc hricly 1,1r1t5, ,1 , ,rrr'nlrlly lrcing wettc.1 down for glcatcr cffcct. Thcsc tolturc scssiors rlt rr' ,,,11,.,1 "l chat with Susan" in soure detcntion centcrs. McJicirl rl,tr,,r" "rr 1,, rvisr',.I t)rc torturc, calling off thc scssions rvhen victims irpnruclrcrl rl(irrlr, rlrt rr reviving thcrr wit]-r scrlillls and vitarnins t,l ircc lll()r'c t()mirrc.i'

trt|lrvlah.r-lt.r'yrnthcb.scrtcnl,irr(l(.rrlri(.1(,s(,,rtl*.tlrir,lll,",r .rrr,lrlrr l,rlr trlrcr. lrlisolrcl< u,r.r', Ii,1,t lirll,rrvirtl lorrrrr.t.. llr,. ,,,.,,,rr,i ll,, , 1,, l,l , 1.,,,,,

ltrr rrrtir.rg rvith thc picana wclc thc subrnirrinc, hanging hy t lrc li ct . r'rr1't 'rrrrring u'ith cigatcttcs, uock cxccutior-rs, bcrrtit-rgs r,r'ith cltrl.s,rl clrrrirrr, ,rrr,l ,l,.rltning rioiscs. Saclists inventcd toffLl-c instlumcnts ofthcir',riln, irrrlLr,l rnr' ;r tlricli broorn hun,:llc rvith 220 volt u'itcs rrttachcd clllcrl thc "( irrr',,lir',," lrr,l ir r(( lirl f()rtttrc LlevicL' clllecl the rccftjrc(4)o.5f l'sfclrolrrr:icll t(n-turc took vrll ious Ii)llrs. Somc rc1-r'css,,r's rrll,,rr'.,,1 I'ri",,rr i r, rr) sl.crli I it]r or $,rite to ttrcir'iunilics untl cr crr r isit th,..rrr; llris 1,r, rl, 'rrr',.1 tlr, l,rrrrilv'srntl rlrc vittit:rls rrtotrv hv liinrllitrg lrolxs,rl srrlvivrrl tlrrt \'( r( rl rrti.l r ( \ ( r r t l i . t l . l\1,1r,,1,11i..,r1 t,,r tLrtc rrls,r irrr lLrrlt,l r(ir,\(lrrll(( to {lr( rr , r Lr: t l r tlrct u,'rrl,l , r, rrtrr,ll1, lr, t,, rclrrrlrriitrrtr,'rr r rrrrl'r,'r lL |rrl ; "..nt r ll ,tr( llll, rr,, .'\rr,l llr( llnl {rl]rinll ,rl ,rrrr"r, lrrt, rrr,l llrl irrlrl l,lf,,in,


: r







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r1,r,1,,,1,'r r, rl l(jrll|r{ llrirl rlll'ri','rr,r'lr.r,lt,,,rr,lrrr,'




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Pcrhaps the cruelest psychol)gical tottrrre wus mlkilrg onc rvitness, visrnlly, aurally, or both, the physical torturc of a spouse, child, or parent.s') After the period of intense torture, prisoncfs were rnoved to a holcling arca called the capacha, or hoocl, for the hoods pLisonets wore. There, in the u'txds of a survivor, "Hell awaited them . . . , permanent teffo1, isolation and impotence in the face of constant humiliirtion."6c Typically, they were handcr,rffed and shackled in spaces so tiny they were called rubo.s, ()r tLrbes. They conlnuecl to receive physical ahuse in the firrn.r ofheatings, continuous hright light, and loud mrrsic; sorle \vere returned to thc (perating theater for firore torttire. Hygienic and dietary conclitions rvere miserable: all lost weigl-rt and many got sick, but if they were dcemecl worthy of keeping alive, doctors atter-rded them. Tbe isoJation, tenor, strbhurnan conditions, and the knowledge that there rvas litile chance of leaving alive drove sou-re prisoners insane.6l , Pregnant rvomen r eceived differc'nt treatment if they and their fetrrses sur'vivecl the initial torture. As their clelivery time approached, they were taken from the rubos to an infirmary, where they received improvecl nutlrtii,n, xnJ ultimately ro a facility that had bithing service, such as ESMA. After giving birth, thcy rvcre separatcd {rorn their chilcl antl rvere sometimcs killcd straight a\,vay or were rctuncd to tl-rc rrbos to i,rwi,rit thc cornrDon fi:tte. The infants bon"r in captivity, along u,ith snaJl children capturetl with thcir parcnts, were giver.r, aLong u'ith falsc tlocurncntation, to childlcss military couples or otlrers favorecl by thc'r'cgirne to raisc as the ir own. Tir thc miLitary mincl, being r:rise.l in e Christian ancl patriotic family woulcl be a blessing for chiirlren otherwise heade.l f,rr perfidy under- the influence of their srLbversive parents.6l
Jer.vs sufferec{ disproporturnatell', in part because of their oveneprcsentirtion in some of the "subversive" oL suspect cetegorie-\ irncl frofessions, and in

totLlittgs,rl lris slrrttlrts, rrrrtl l" slroLrl "l leil Ilitl' r'; ltrtl lrrrvittg srr':rslilirrr' oliclr't'trtctl lt"'tl"r. l'lt!ti'"1 1,,,i,'t,,1 ,,', tltcir ir,xlits. lrr It'.ItIitiott, tlrcy

rIirlnr( rrl Itccirtrsc rllttllcir lcr'vishtlcss' llr'- lirtc ,rl pristtttcrs hclcl in scclef dctenrion ccntcrs wlls cxclrtsir" ly itr ()r (()rrlls rllril rl,, lr,rn,-ls ,rf th" t..'pr"rr,rrr. Tlrere rvas no access to nttolllcys thc clilty wirt.' tlrc itttl lt' rt ity r,, , 1,,,ssil'ility of npp"al. In the overall scheme of srtl' rvas clecentralizecl, resicling in the hanils 'rl zonc 'rr*l , ,' ," liti' "t-ri.lcati-t tr" rcceivtrl casc prisonct's a r)n( c()rnmandets 01 their stlbordinates unless

tltt rrrr rr(( rt the top ofthe hierarchy. Thus, thc colonel's boast that hc rvrrs ()ptiotrs l()r Ilr(' . i,'t lifc ani deatb was far fiom hypetbille There werc thrce rrr''ltrttlr' l'.i',u.lisappcarecl: libctation, transfcr to the legai prisorr systcnt' b'rs"l .'rr ics catcgot threc in 1"1r,,,r".. *"a" gradeci on c,{ficial dc'cumcnts rtrs,'' rt trr l "r'r t "danget rl,.. ir ,.lcgLce of cl.rngerousness: 'tlotentially dangerous"' ,',,r'"lu'.1"rrg"r.r.,rl Sonl" of tht,s" lated "potentially chngcrotts" wt'r't lrtr''l ,ir s( nt to thc regular prison system; thoscintheothert['()clltcg()ri(\\(l' r,, rr,rlly slirted for de:rth.64 'r irr tlrt'Lk tt tr As it prisoncr explaincd, "Onc learnecl rapiclly: Onc is only "" is har cl to prcdict: Thctr' thc 'rrrrr rsli r' " r r,,r r ct'trter' {or a peti.,,-1 o{ ti-e that llr! lransfer was the represso$' tcrm firr excclttion' ltrisot-rcrs wcrc tt'ltl tl"rt prisons, which $',rrrl,l l'( rr Lrr,,sr o[thcnr u,ould be transferrctl eitlrer to legal ,r,rl()r stel toward frcedom, ol to rchabilitirtion catrrps' Tlris liction 1'r'r!i'k 'l Lrr rr tlrin hope ctf survival, irnothcr uncertninty thirt croclcrl thcit t orrtlitiorr I'tir' ,. lrrrtnans, be.o,,se they knew rh:rt ftir lnost, anslel tneltlt cxccrrti,rr'


part ou'ing til virulent anti-Senitism u'ithin the militarv antl police anc'l within the extreme right in general. The common notion that Atgentitra was fighting to protect its Western Christian heritage in itsel{ dcmonizccl Jcws ancl legitimized anti-Senitic irctions. With the largest Jewish comnLLrnit\ rn Latin Arnedca, Argentina l-rac1 seen sevcLal waves of anti-Scrnitisn-r sincc thc
era of nrass immigration in the late nineteenth centtrrl', sonre invoh' nrg rt'rr,

lrt iglrt 1,, rr rnsfcrrecl. A{ull rr sigrrrrlr''l , r',,1 |rcsence of intclligcnce officials who graclcd thc ptisoncrs batecl the lcvel of irnxict}. wl', ' rr, ', rl,l r , ,rrr{i,r. rvithin a we"k o, .c, ,rrrd e*ocer 1,, .t lcctcdl Flou'would thcy bc killcil/"(' llrc rtrrivirl of special units from ctutsicle thc cerrter Lltuncltc,l lllt lt-rrrrslt r' itt wrtys rlisilltr"l t" ,r lrir lr culuitrilted in mttrclcr irnd disposal of tl-rc L'ixlies c irrvt rt ig 't i' 't' , , ,rrt inr tc tlrc' lcgimc's plausible clcniability antl irnpr. lc flttrt {aciLity was clangerous-il prcl''tclc t'rr

,,.,. .li.l rrot know u,l-ren traDsfers worLl.l occur, nclt who irmltttg I lrcrrr


ttltrsfi't A


violcnce. Moreover, thc uilitary contained professccl aclrircrs of Hitlcl fil whom the clirty rvar provitlecl the opportturity to indulge thcir ploclivrtics.('l Jcr,r's accountcd f,ur lcss than 2 perccnt of Argcntina's populatron brrt I0 y-rclccr.rt of thc disappcarcd. According to rnuch cvidcncc, thcy srrfft rc.l cr,cn gl'catcl irbusc an,:l humiliatiot-t than non-Jcws. Jcws wcrc vcry r'.rrrrrr,nly srrlr' jccte(l to tr-cllrner)t srrch iis heingcrllcLl "Llirlylcu's"rrrr,l"tlr,,\rrti, lrri:t"; lr,-


, lrtrLli,stirrt,

iru lcr:trrnr.l or tlrc cvils,rl l,us:rtr,l tolLl tpt:rrctlly tlrrrt "tlr, ,'rrlt r',,,',1 1, ", i",r ..lc,r,l jcl"t lrLirrt lortc,l ro lnrtl lrtli,rc l,(,rttiril ,,1 llrrl, t, r', lr ti r t,r

c()Dlllt(r) grilvcs in Cr'ntclCliCS thtl)lrtlttrrrt {ht r.orrtrlry' rtlr' ()vcl lilll( , lrlilliitlJ' rl,,.rr rr,rrrtrrrrs, ,,ljerr u,itlt hltn,.ls crrl t,ll, r,voLrl,l r',rtlttttinglc irl irr'li!i'lrr'rl itl tclrtttclits L,lr rtrli(irli,)l] ,lilli,.rrlt t l,)r'l)s(s \velc llstr lllttictl rr't rt l""litt (tr" tlrrtrrt) S"rrrt 'l!tr" 1',r1ur.'r1t,r|ts, rrlr(l(r llr( r1'rrllu'l N/N . itrr irri trrtr,l lt'rrrl'rrrr rrrt:rr, lir(s \\1 r( s('ll1( lilrli s lnrl rr(11 rrl('lrll , , , , , t, , i t , ' (' rlrr lr*li, 1,r,lr l'rrr I rlr' rrlll "l l'rrrrrirrli l['lr lrr "'rr:'t;rl irr('rr' llrt
, ,

rv' r' l rrry rvet-c sl-rttl hy fi.ing rq,tacli; c't cirlsc rtrngc with listols Sottlr" ^t l-rr I\'r lrr tlrt (hl orrtsitlc Tirrito pr.p,lrc.1 trcnches, ils olr L()n1rl l-,,.,f,u , ',,,1i,,g " l"'t'' gtrtvcs t'tt ,,,,'1 1,,'r" in ( l,ir'&lba; tltheLs wcre latcr htrljetl in ntass "r rt'




llrllrrrrt Wrr rrr Ar1'rrtrrrr '

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lh,rt'tcr Ii'ttr

plrrcticc ol tlhlpiug ' metbods of killing and dislrosal wcre supplencntcd fry thc ptoccdttrc lilr .,ri.,,rrers into thc ocean fiotn oircraft' This was the plciirlecl ii"r. iJ.f at ESMA. Sorne had their bellies slit before being ejectt:tj to uin-

,rrlLrrllrtctl,l,llltlttr'tl'lrtrtlr'\((lll((lollg('v(llrlttelll t'l thc coLt| ,,, ,i','ti,,,tillir.,l lrotlt llrt rrtrrtrrtttt

ottlers S(lrtt l(rl()li\lll \\'rr

a""*"t rf-tat they rnight float; they were refered to as "fish pilots flew ,.|L.a,., *"i-r.a on both ihe Argentine ancl Uruguayan shores,



food " Af-

i,;"; .r,

"o prisinto the Atlantic before making the drops. Some transferred theil corpses were e*hibited as oners servecl govetnment propaganda purposes: while "trying to escape" so as or Jor-r*.roull gu"rrillas shot in "confrontations" to fight a maior guer,o llr.ntor""r" ,t't. toilitaq.'s claim that it was continuing 6?rilla war-the justification for the regime's existence -^^'Wh:; *"r" the .lisappeured? CONADEP established the clisappearance of have adc{ed somc four drou8,960 people; fttrther govermr-rent investigations
,"'-,d tn

th. li,t uf the documcnted clisappeared. Human riglrts organizations The ii*ua" ,t-rn, thirty thousancl *"" tli'opptu'"d uncler the rnilitaryregime ."o.i t"tu-b"'. of disappearecl persons will never be known' but CONADEP's that gives a i*r.. p..l-ta" o pr,r{ii" of th" 8,960 originally tlocumented cases of the per.-t:nt seventy *i".r"fn.,u- uf th" .1"*t'g'upl"'y of disappearancc about or the wonten' lir"p1,""r".l t"r" trren, 30 percent women; 10 percent o{ thirtv-five tio:;;t. pregnant. Thr"e-fottrths wcre between twenty-one a.d 6 percent' 10 fot accounted y.un nf ug"; yltuth between sixtcen ancl twenty (2'58 fifty-five over .r-''u'.. uncler sixteen (1.65 percent) and persons percent of 2 'r1,r. ;;r. from disappcarances By occ-ttpatior.r' 30 ;.;:"",) "xen.tpt ",r, 1? 9 percent white collar it-r" air"pp**a *"r" *o,k"", 21 pe"ent studcnts'

A State of Fear rr'rrrrr lqTo- lo77' ll)( irlltrr\L !'tr\""1 \lrl'.,rrr:lr 'li'.'l'1.'rr'rn(cs f(rk('l in rrl (li.lirr( ctcarc(l rr i,'"",]r:,i,:"i,f,;ntn*t it'" militarv hacl deliberatclv srri'l' it' t"'-"'"l As '' ulvll 'll ie L r 'n'-'l : i, ), i,,:^':";;" ;i"''t" ".u" ""t"'"1 therc'Il bc fc.r firr scvt r''rl r' : t ,;, :-;.;,;;;;" ih.,o "11 [th" subversives]' tlrt' o""i"itv t" th" {ntt "t vi"lcrrcc' rrs itt , rrrtirrtrs."?rrFqar explains p"tpf"t 'g;"tt'o' l ait"" htrs 1 2 8 ' rn hr" '' 'Lrylilllrr ' from rl',lr rt t i.n ,.rf Susani:r Barros tl t:' '.l:ll":l ]l'1,: li rtlr, t thrrn Protestillg o' '"'i'ti'-'g' fo""n*"::::1.'tt" rlrr'v ctttrrrtt pa:"rv':lv' awav r'' ESMAr huui'l tu' : ;l.,";J;t;;Jo" ,l , ,,, it rtl:ls' rr rr



un the hcha! i'rl r 'f her ft their clestinations. commenting ctf:tt":""i: . l rr.tu,ttt complillrentcd tl-'" ^iiit;;},i l,l :, lr li.::"Uti::]:;''t, Jr v rll-Ll\,rs .'l t, ,,1 t ,,,4h, ihc'n " ll' l-(rr rri' fear cach "tltcr' ' Fcar i' a j ril rritlr"ur hrr'":: ., ,. ' ,,,, rr1r.]l a chilJ. A'g"nrin" becluse tniri'rllv rt'' itrstitrt ,., ,,l" r.lr.rt,," was so e{fectiv' in

r,.,1 r, r

i-'"a Jcnr"l' rn'l !v(rr II^rrlr"l ,,.'',. ,1 1'^'.1 '" il. Jn'l 'ocrel\ o'i"*., hclpless and. isolatctl l'rr.tit rr i, ,r, ,* f, i ,t.l ildividuali ani families L1l\ irr thc first couple of years';":;;"*"" 'rntl "1"'L"t"didn'u'Lrrr(lorsrirrr'l
l1'llll)cg()vclnD.}entitseLfwas..-a'.u.*thcJisappearalrle:.Thcrlrt'tll.',1.. goveruucrrl cx1'l"tt" ,'l rl'Llrrction; thc:rbsencc t'f "tn'd' u"i-botli"" antl going into exile' or bcirrg kill"l rr,,r\ rrlx)trt subvcrsives guirrg t'"i"'g;"a' ft" tht'rr ttls"" their situltiort t rt '' l' rrt I \ , tlll( r tcrlorists *ua" i' Itrrpot'i-lt1-" ancl nadc thc l ttrtt t'ls "l lu' r''rr,. I-lrrrs tl-rey fil"d "pnn' tith the autholities and morgues scrttclritrll l('t lr,, {lirli()t]s, hospitals, milita'y bases' ministries' ttl their inqtl irics w' rs I llrr I gnt'"'-'-'-ent response I I r, ir l( )sl (nlcs. Th" *""t1""1 "Tl are not recorded as detaincd th" ;,;;:.,,.,; ;;; 'ip""ot-t'


"t"tf.t"'"i, *,u.q'Z.S

io.l p.rcent

."ligr.-, pr,,forn

parleast a dozen disabletl persons' some completely were *.t. att"noe.rred. Llrban areas, particularly greater Bttencx Aires' "i*?J, in every corner of.the country most heavily nff"it..l, b.,t p"t'plc disappearecl


pro{essionals,5 ? pcrcent teachers' 3 8 percent housejournalists' and 0 J percent oolice and nilitary, 1 6 petcent


Ahes Provincc' lost tl-rc La Plata. a university center and the cafital of Bt'ettos country'6r greatest propoltion of its youth of arry part of thc ' coNiopp also established the chronology o{ the disappearunces arr(ng



year to surpass one hundred wits coup y-ear of 1976 wls thc 1975, rvhen some 350 persons clisappeared The 1977 with over l'200 lrr peak, *ith neorlv 4,Z0Oclisappearances' followecl bv

urc,i^t it ialentified The first

lil, il;;.;;;""

,hou,"J di'"ppeared rhe Last vear to t.p .ne lrttntlrc'l with 225, b.,t di'oppto'"l""s .ccurecl iu small utturbcrs tlrt.rtglr itt ""rlsis, As in Chiic, thc gtci'ltcst numLle'r olrrlr()cilics 'rcctttt.c'l ,f-r" r"gt-.'.

""a.t st)trr( .'1 tlre lrrr ,tt" r.,"'rt*t ilnn-rccliately aftct thc cottl.t Unlikc Chilt ' wllrr( ( IIIIIIiIIII:II Itrrt.s 'l lrrrtrtrl tnan tigllts vilrllttiotts wcrc 'tttri[-ttrt'rltl" lo lliglr r',; itl Attl rltillll ll"rrr llrr' lu llrrrrrrrrl'lr' t' ,,,r..1 ,' I,,.r l,rr Ic vcrrgc, ,.lir,,lt|.ltt-,,,,,

tr''"t trt"v *"t" tornpletelv at p,r*", o.r", tlrcir lovc'l ''rt,. ' tlr'' ,lr,Irr,,r rnrlcrsrancl, t ", \'tri.t", t"r"iJnt r,,lut th"t'"lt'"t And thc rclrt'sst'rs 'li'l ,, ,i (,{ llrcir farnily, their ftit";'' ;i rttl'l itrl sense of theit Omniptltcnt:t , r, rltlritrg to ctrhancc tht pt'ia'iu'" I'r'lrr"' ir" very pn'rnincnr llcr-rrr\' .'r' l lI rrcI l\':rr' thc\.irttl"J urtr I r'l "''1. ', ,n,'r 3 n'v'''p'rpcr puhlrsl'cr' l"r rrrrrr'l\ "'rrlr\':'\rrr(ll ''l'1'l"tn''i'"J thrrt trotlrirrl' lL'" "l"*ral lr .r1,1n rrr';rttcc itr orr.ler to o""tt*" 1"i:::^t::Jiuq ' ol pre'lctermitttd c\cnl' ,,' 1 ,' ", "''rl'l "lr' r lhr rrrur'e I'trt rvc 'li'lrr't in dcnial: 'We

l\.v.,rltltlr.ltfiuitle,."*...',",,t,.n'ereparaly"ed,a'rdnerttralizc.ll.ytlr, the mcrcv of li'tcer tlr' v



Nl,,t'\' A'g.trlittcs ""tgl'tt ';;" \nei .'l Germans altout thc rclrrolirl 1r,,,\\,, r sclllinlent "*p."r.".1'btl.rrJrrruy


ll llr, lrrrrr W rr lrr ''\rt:' r'rrrr r ' '


16 .--'



route to extermination-cpitomize ]ews in their midst en by the di"'tppt.'rartcc" many rvho w're not Jirecrll 'rii"t'ta
of proof, reports of

d thc tcspr'rusc of

r, nrirlr,,rr:rl ttr'

' ln tlre 'rl"cnc'


b" ai"tott''t"'t as'rumor or attributccl

trrlrr'rr( lll tlrr tll.lrrr'rl 'l"rt t'l'r't tl" 1" 1"'l'll\l"tl \\illrlrrl lt llr\ M'lrlrtlr\'r'r:' ulr'tr'tt' t' 'lttv rl,:rt tu,, l:r'r'tll\ rrrrrr' \\r'rr' 'l'1"'re'l ' ,''';;',;1;;,;,j li,.:l ll:,.'i. ,,,- ,. i.i, : l::',]1, I lili,l:.lllllil:;,. lht 'lcgrtlres


.rl\,) l(|(lll(j(l 'rs f'rLl

totheexcesseso{afewroguebandsofmilitaryorpolicethatthegovernment Alternativeiy' one c"'tld believe the would surely b'i"e ""dt"; t;;;;l that someone had really disapresime's disinf ormutitlr't Wh"" convincerl nust be a reaalgo ser1" ftherc in"'0.'"a"1"'por were exrremcly frusrrated by their son)' Parents of ai'"pp""'"J "nilJr"n the government had friencls -that ability to convince er-" ]f-tti'' At"" i' i" tlt" words of a mother who lost a child' abductccl their son or a^"git"t were unable

"We tried to explai'-'

r.'t misht h':rre pr"vrJ'J J.'rcn" rl)t I'rln'r rrr"v( w'r\ 'n,, at lrasL tor rr\ uwn m'mhcr"' ion' ",-.,,., l',,, l','i":l:i',:';,.'iar p.,".iur r,. il,::1,,.,, :: ir:',:l, l;: l:i l: ll ;





lli;:Tll:ii"Y::::1:.'::J.il':ii:r:'Jn:'r'"J'13 W"nthcirl"wtt,t'r"'trttrl:rtr'l
,,,,rr.,1 r,'rrcurcrthetn.lorthrce*^'tr'"""'t' pararyze,n: , r, o srrcers and





't-titili"rf"tttt "ality' by it either directly or indito understand ,"t.* ,t "viJ u""r, ,nu.t-r"a or broken;.parents who spoke out rectly."?? Friendship' btl'u*"- '*ui'-'ed or reoftt'-' u*racized and labeled resenrido-s'

u'hich our comparriots

+l:::.::i:il::ljl l; Il-:[ o:'''tfilil":.,i,1il;l aspirations n,ilitarv's rl,c il':::;. ,,t tt'" l'",,u'i"'



about their children's fott'*"" unparclts deeper into retreat and despair sentful ones. This reactio; drove opaque'"78' t"of"t"ed' "the outside world hecamc ,ti^,




AccomPlices in the DirtY War
tuln fill succor' On the clzry of the coup' Afflictetl {anilies had nowhere to i'p*-" Coun' the state ptosecutot's of{ice' and militaty rulers p*g"a 'h; both continuirtg and new iuclges to the provincial Ltigh t"u;; ^;J rcquired p^* of tl''" j"diciary either supported the swear loyalty to the l'r.,c'e.Jo 'ilu'e; ser eretv limited the pow;;;;;;i ., i.)ttta tr* i'"itt' *nv''it" *utt or "r"ge im' prottt t intlrv idua ls' rights The large-scale ers of t1-rose jutlgcs i"ttit-t"ti'' human took u'ho disappearance or larvvets ;;;,;;;;;:;;1", -J;;;; legal assisirt-tprxsible for {amilies to secure tt rights cases "tot-t ^oat "t*t"t only one writ.of habeas corpus filed rance. As a rcsuk of ,h"r"':;;ilt;, there was r-ro

lnorc- collll)cl ll I vt make Argentitte-productitln sl ,,' ,,r',.lcr ttl control inflation' foreign ir-rvcstmc'nt and narkets' rcgitlt'' rr itrlcLnational "tt'"tt1"tt"^*ft 'i'-"1 f"'otiott' reprcssion Tlrc fhc unions thus su{Iered i-*tldintt u il( cotrt rr rl .I f"ltrati..'tr"!


,:Ht,::x;;":;.;'. of h"''" the

agencra rcc1'l':irc''




'hut l,rrrr,.hc.ls o{ locals, and

. ' , -t'

f"f"t ""tt"""fs of shop 51'1vx1''1'' rtrtl 'rttlitt'rty ao"t""itft"""""'f T"'olpi "ltupi"J ""t" l":::'::.:-'':'1,t'lt"'t'"'''"' ,',,rkcrs, murclering *^'''v' ruler':rttJ"r'trtt rllr t' *"'l ''l'pt'-td 'rnJsalerr \ 3[e\' ctrl l , . ,rt crin: owncr' ' r''l t"^i'tt"^' C"tltncJ'wrtlr rlt' rr'''lrl tlri' r"rL rrrr\ele(rrlh-c'n'u'u *u'l'i'J L',r' l r*rr"t uarster Jos€ Martinez 'lc l wit lrir ,",licics being implementecl lrt'il i'ltu*" by nver 'onc-thir' ,lir ( ct rnsalrlt on uniot' '"du<:td'tii"io'] '"ul t"to*' "fttfnnto tesist Ncrrrly rr tlrir'l o{ the ct'"p' f""f-"-iittt*
rneti strikes, tlut"'-' th"



r( r r rlr{)nths


rr', 1nr'.rn'Ji'app"o"a*".

'i'i";:::"1;j'f,1il"..',,]i',fl''i',,,.' ,'


common knowledge that during the Proceso t"' 'ut-c""fttl Tht the generalized sense of teror'?e recourse in the .."r,. ,^i, "r"..rbatecl in thc dirtyr,"'ar. official co(rmuniclu€ The mass media w"r. oiro.o.pli.* c'iesrgned to "pertutb' t''i--"-tt-t publish nurnbcr 19 t"a" ""ything JnJ '"'it-l"'


{ew clissenting voices' ,,,,,r,,, in th" clirty war. Btrh.,;'v'.;:;

r:''F ''r ' 'r''I I I :i:,.fil':l:L';i::;";':::J,.;l;I":";: rr c C'''trncLl of Bshops wls "llrrl'





lnlice " " lh: p*''iB- ' i rht rnilirarv.'r 'rLrrrir) or Jirnini'h '.,,,'ar.liuc. wrre hrr'r5\r l' rend'ncie' l:"'::.i i: ';il':,"' ;;':';''*"J:'rdep'trJenr Most of the media u'illingly *t'" ai'"opt"'"d iailed, ana "-"t'a"'"a' ot',"'lSO i",..-; ,h.1 r'.gularly published-clisin{oro1 enthusiastically *,no*r..r,r* p'rckct' rn'1 ch"t-tre'.l t'ttt stomation plovicled i" gou:'"';""'Ji"stmrturcd crlggclt"tl gtlenil[r rctt"ti'r rrtrcLr itlottg rvitlr lies of fake p'i"ttt {itIiIItt t tIIt r't itr{i'r' "ttopl:' ttr."r'Jct t" Itletl figtttcs ot.r rrrifit^'y'""Jf 'f '" 'rr't'lltcr IItI itrI'r'r''ttt' rrill'rr' It' I l''7? I r( rrt tlr'rt ,rl rr t rr rl inttt trg wrt"'*""'"' 'i't' )-rr( '

.,'ulf r, ,:,rr,. .r .rilirrs rh. a',,' u,",'n Lroo :" t.l drlrnd ,',,1 lrrnr''r'11 'r "ttrtg'llt

tit '^*"tt"t u;na['rin sp,rke f'r'rn'rnv




i: :l:ifi:1i i




''llrLl,islropsknewtt-tt*utt'nJtf'"1'htJitinorderrolrJth.rlilit'rrvtt'r' ( CoJ al''l Clcr''r' tlrty clr.st 'r' tt-'oitt'i"t*t"" o *nt-' Facecl , bishops' "()rrt lrrrrr'l rt'r' 't,,'t"trt .rr."ri'l A hurntrn righ,, u.,"';"t '"J'ti 'ttg""ti""'s "st tl-'ot" *hn "uppottcel LLs , , - -..-..rv'rlirL (r'r,ll *f t nt at"t"t ' urr wa' b'r\ J' nn itb t"'r'* ',,,, Jtrrr th' i';ti''"u,'o" ;':: ' "' t''"*' Th" illt.ll' 'rrrlrl lrrrirrrrrl "l
r('rr irlr(l its lnti-M"'*i" ota'u''tli'p"'''"titt


lE ,.-



l-lrc l)inv Wrrr irr Argtrrtirrrr

'.-- lli)

many Argentine priests was rooted in the mest conservative strain of Catholi-

cirm.:imilar ro rh.rr nhi(h unJcqrinneJ franc,,. Jicrat.,r"hrp an,l rnl,'rmr.l lay organizations such as Opus Dei. ln addition, the Catholic Church enjoyed

privileged positbn


Argentina's official religion and received a substantial



state subsidy for salaries and the vast systeur of Catholic education.86

The role of military vicars was central to the collaboration. These chaplains, whose lives ancl careers were normally spent within the military institutk)n, identified closely with their martial comrades. ln 1976, the president of the Conference of Bishops, Archbishop Adolfo Tortolo, was also head of the miLitary vicariate. Mitroring the broader society, the church had becon.re polarized by the early 1970s between progressives and the traditionaLists who considered the Third World pliest movement a challcngc to the bishops' authority and to the status quo. Thus, when thc rnilitary cieclared war on subversion, the religious hierarchy not only failed to take a vigorous stand for human rights; it stood by while the rnilitary talgeted progrcssive church people, killing over forty, from two bisLops to Lay percons, clisappearing at least
120, and jailing and expclLing l'rundreds more.37 Thc complicity of tl-re cl-rurch went beyond its failure to nurrure and shield a human dghts movement. A number of priests, particularly military vrcars, played active roles in tl-re repression. A few were accusecl of actually engaging in torture. Vicar Christian von Wernich consoled a soldier following the murder of thrce detainees by telling him that "what [he] had done rvas nccessary, that it \,vas a patriotic act, and that Clod knew that it was for thc good of the country."8E Priests regularly blessed the crews of the aircraft used tcr drop people into the ocean and assuled thcm thcy had administerecl ",r Chr iitian death."8e A ranking general said of Bishop Jos6 Migucl Mcdina, "Hrs aJvice clearly pointed the military sword in the right dircction."'r0 The archbishop of Buenos Ailes, Caldinal Juan Carhrs Aramburu, was a riLrpreure apologist for the dirty war. Upon thc discovery of n.rass graves in 1982, he declared, "ln Argentina thcrc arc no mass gravcsj eaclr body has its own casket. Everything was rcgistcrccl in the propcr books. The comtron graves are of persons rvhom the authorities were unable to iclentify after they clied. Disappcaled? Things should not be mixed up. Do you know thirt there are sornc 'disappcared' pcrsons who today are living quite contentedly in Europc?"')l

irr tlttrro,Arrrcticr's sttottgcst tlcmoctiltic tradition; Allentle's cxpcrilncllt bloc' thc rlcvt l'r1', rrrtic socialism hacl been widely admired in the socialist roundups ancl sttnttlaty cxcctl,rr11 w,rltl, :rnd Western Europe; the massive around thc glrlrt'; ri,'u,* i,r ihit" made sensationaL news and caused revulskrn incessantly to lally woll'l ,,,r,1 ,1'" Lrg" number of Chilean exiles worked tniliPinochet. Argentina, by contrast' was accustomctl to ,f i,ri,r,, "goi.* it't. coup had overthrown an incompetent' corrupt' and.unpoltttlitr

',rt"t willr ,r"a,f"t. Arg"r'rtit-t" military's tactic of disappearance' combirrt:r1 difliicrrlt realitv ,ii' nr"."t-r...rf " sJrious though waning guenilla war'' m1{e At{ctrtinrr r,' ,lcciphcr and clisclaimers plausible Moreover' the USSR and C(rrrnrrrrrist Argentinat becausc and I',,..1 n profitable trade relationship, Argentinc pirlitics y *^ minuscule, the Soviet Union had little stake in to thc ror!in contrast ''',, ,\, ,,'."rult, the USSR did not mtrrshal its allies, and' bloc did not develop in the IJN ')r r r(,rr rgainst Chile, an anti-Argentine tl".plt" th" less hostile reaction' the international human rights N(-i()s l.!)knoteoftheArgentinesituation,increascdtheirmcrrrittlring,antllcr, ,.,..i .to^r-ri.rg ,.porls. S"ue.al gouernments proteste'l the- disappe'r'rne. "1 hundred, some of whom hcld dual citizcrrr lrt it citizens, ,n,nilt-tg t-t.otly six population sprcad th" i,',, *"ft 1"t""a,"a. M"nrllvhi1", tht burgeoning exile General Asserrtbly UN the 19?8' rights vioLations ln ', r.s rtbout f,uman nlthorrglr rr, illlrcd in r,vith an expression of concern about disappearances' el rr, rtlrcr Atgentina nor Chile was namecl Ar tlrc ,,r-tset of the military dictatorship, Argentina had thrcc htttrtrtt' pot los Derechos deL Hombrc (Ar' r rrllrts orgtrnizatior-rs. The Liga Argentina ,. i"og* fo, the Righii of Man) had been f'lunded in 1937 primarilv IrI '',in" (illmunists from govcrnment persecution As political v ()lcllcc l(rs( ,l, l"rr..]
,, *i,rr", were eshblisl\c(l r r r lr(' run-up to the 19?6 coup, two additional organizations SERPAJ Service' ) wns ct.crltLl Il,, Scrvicio Paz y Justicia (Peace ancl Justice internationirl gr(nrl) (l( (lrrr l,)?4 as a branch of an ecumenical, religious-based j'i'rticularly to silcial justice for the poor ancl margitralizecl Thc Aslttr,,
I'1, ,r




Rise of a Human Rights Movement
Thc initial lcsponsc oftlrc intcrnational lrtrmlrr liglrts t,'nrrrrrrrrrty

r. rlic n r'gcutinc jlrnt, rvils rntllc(l in corn|rrlis{lr lo ils r(.r, l,oll l(' llr( l'ir){)(lrr'l rtgilrt,l,'t *r.t..t,tl tr.,,t,,t'r, tlrt (llriltrrtr,,'rrl' lr;r,l rtlLrrtlt ,lr,rtt, r',1 Irrtirr

pr".ri,,r-, after March 24, Ig76, h'rwcvcq thcre wlrs rlrn()sl lrollrirrg til curt:ril human righls vitllttions')J rl,, ', ,,r'g'rrrizltions ctlttl':l clo haLvest ()fstltc tclr()risln' scve:-ltl tlcrv rlorlrt stit 1,, ,,ap,u,*" lo lhc tttltssivc rr ycltt 'rlrtl r lrrrll .ll lrrrtrr;ttt tiglrls otgrrttir;rliotts rt1t1r'rtrr'rl itr Algctltittrt witllill (lrtltltctri rl', 1u,11,. llrt lvl,rvirrrilrrt'r Iir rtrrtitrico ltor los [)crcclr,'s lltrtnlrtr"s (irrtlr''li' l'y ,.lissi'lcrrr ,.,1 ItI,,,,,'',,,, li,t Ilrttrrrrtr liil'lrt') u'rrs li'rrrr'le,.l irr I976 r(l'r(sr.i')rr' lrr llr(' llrtr''rl irr tlrt lrt' trt' lry'r'

't,rl li'r' I lrr. l'"nrr",t",r,"'por'los Dere.hos Hunlanos (Pcrmanent Asscmbly established in Deccmbcr 1975' spccitlizccl irr l' 11rrl , ',' fii*frrr, APDH), Vitllati<xrs ltt thc ircc o{ lltt ltr, li,rrr rrntl tklcumentation of human tights utl.r*

,l,rt, rtlr,,rtjtrrr,lrlrr


l.l() .-

( llut)rr r


llrL l)irry Wrrr rn Ar11rrtrnr

salnc ycar, ltrmily memhers of victims began forrncling organizations ro prrbli_ cize thcir cause and ptessure the authorrrres tor rc-Jress. The tirst Lrf thesc was

r.loped the cmblemrtic Argenrinc human righr, organi-rri,rn, ih. MoJr., de Plaza cle Mayo (Mothers of the llaza de Mayo). Thesc exrraordinarily
brave ancl determined women, who had mct each other in their grim ancl desperate routine of searching fitr their chilc en, surmountecl thcir {ears and launched a movement that grudually grew into the hunclreds and became one of thc wolld's best-knowr.r human rights organizations. Thcy soon settled on a routine of syrnbolic protest that continues today: at j:30 on Thursday af-

disappeared persons mer in the plaza de Mayo in front of the presrdenrial palace, the Casa Rosada, with the intention of pctitioning junta leader ViJela lor inlorr narr, ,n rb.,ut rlr. ir ch ilJren. From r h i" h u mble heginl ing Je-

the Familiares de Detenidos y Desaparecidos por Razoncs politicas (Families of the'Detained and Disappeared for politicafReasons), founded in Septcm_ ber 1976.e5 Thirteen rnonths after the coup, on April 30, 19??, fourteen morhcrs of

,rlly;rtlLrilcLl iur ollirt. rrrrLI l,t.lurrc ir prou)inent pirrt oI thc I]rrr.rlrs Airr.s ,* t rrt. ln 1980, thcy receivcrl thc Pcople's Peacc Plizc, illt itltct-niltivr.r(\()J{ rrition lirr non.rinces for thc Nobel Peace Prize.9s Ar.rother key human rights organization, the Abuelas clc Pllzrr Lle Mrry,' (( irrrnclmothers of the Plaza de Mayo) wf,s founded in O.tohcr lt)7? lry \\/.rren whose bom or unbom grandchildren had been clisappcarcrl irllrg rlith their daughters or daughters-in-law, and somctimes their sons or.sorrs 'r' lirw as well. Recognizing the probability that their daughtcrs wcr'.. .l.rr,l, t I rc grandmothers focused on the brighter possibility of be ing rcu n ir e .l rv ir I tlrcir potentlally surviving grandchildren. The Abuelas becirrne onc ol rlr,.

tbrnoons they marchcd around the obclisk in the plazzr cle Mayo wearing shawls made to Lpk like baby diapers, to symbolize their.chilclren and thcir conclition as mothers, carrying placarcls with photogrirphs and namcs of their clrildren and the question, " id6nrJ,e estdn!', (where are theyl) One Madrc cxplained the photographs: "Bccause people didn't believe, ir was reccssaw ro
usc photos to shorv that our children existed."e6

r( )sl active and widely recognized organizations in the cxpanding trn ivt,r'st. r 'l .\r'gcntine human rights organizations.ee A lthough constantly repressed, the human rights movement c(rntinr tc(l r, , rlrrrncl with the addition in 1979 of the Centro de Estudios I-cgrrlcs y S,, (,irlcs (Center for Legal and Social Studies, CELS), an organizirtion r[,rli ,,rtcd to legal action and docurnentation. CELS was foundcd by l,rrvy,.r lrrrrilio Mignone, whose daughter had been disappeared. Having worlic,l rrt rlrc OAS in Washington in the 1960s, Mignone was able to call or lris irr t. nliltional connections to increase cooperation between domcstic rrrr,l irr t.r'rational human rights groups. CELS provided legal aid to fanilies ()l rl)('



,li,rrppeared, including thousands of writs of habeas corpus, an,rl colltrtr',1
\',rsr urchive of documentation, which, along


children. Though often cliscouraged and fearful, the Madrcs fought back. As thlir numltrs grelv, they were able to carve out some space for their actions. They established chaptcrs in over a dozcn citics, support groups rrhr,rr,.l, ancl conl-rections with foreign mcdia; thcy sometincs Lravelul ;rhrorrrl to rrrrrl<c theil c:rse, meeting with political lcldcrs rrnti srrppolt t:r(nrp:, Ilr(.v nr(.1 bricfly with Popc Joltn I'lrrl Il rlrrrirrg Itjs l9l.t(l ,,jsir r,r IIrlrl llr,.y,.r,,.rrrrr

any cluestior.ring of thc hunan rights situation. The regime usetl cluecr repression, breaking up their marches, beating and arresring them, and clisappearing sevcral members, incluciing three uf thc foLrnders, and more of thcir

The testimony of a woman's first Thursday aftemrxrn march captures both the Madres' agony and their solidarity. ,,Like all new arivals, they askecl me lvho ny 'disappeared person' was and ftrr how long he had been gone. My answcr was broken by sobs: 'a daughtcr and my son-in-law . . . f,,.rr -,rr-,th, ago., [Then] I heard their rcplies: 'Three of my children a year ago,; ,Me, a darLght"r, an ,nvalid, cight months ago'; 'My parents and my sister. . , sl.re was pregnant.,,,,)? Thc regime tried to marginalize the MaJres hy htanJing ,h.,o rh" ,,1.,.o, (crazy ones) cle Plazir de Mayo," a label censranrly ,"p."rc.l ir-, the media. They were depicted as part of the ,,anti-Argentine canpaign,' tl-rat unclerlay

with informatir] srrppli,,l 1,1' fonned the basis of investigations and trials after thc rcttrrn ol tivrl '\l'l)H,

r.II g()vernment.100 l)cspite the growth of domestic and international pressures, rlrc rrilitrrry rllinrc rcmained unfazed. Two years into the Proceso, a large scgrncnt ,'l tlr,' 1,,'prrlation supported or at least tolerated the govemnent and its rr,r"sr,,r,. I lrc gLrerrillas' defeat had restored tranquility, except am(ng tlrc "suh\'{.l .rv..s" that the regime continued to exterminate. The rrilirury's (.(\,rri)nr( 1u'licics hacl produced a short.lived period of "sweet noney" lirr tlrc rrritlLllt. ,lrsscs and well-to-do. The Maclison Avenue public relatiorrs giirnl l}trrs,rn N1:r:stcrllcr, hired by the junta six rnonths after the coup, hacl cL,rrc rr g,u,,l ;,,1, ,,1 l,lrrnting positive information about Argentina in thc rvorlLl nr((lir ro ()ll ', t llrc growing suspicions about the human rights situatiorr. Tlrc Ar'11 r'trr', l.r( igrr ministry used assicluous and sometimes dirty cljpkrna{ic nlrncrrrr'rrrrll
' lit t lr thc UN Human Righrs Cotrmission at bay, in mirrl<r. rl c(rrrtrrst l(| rlrl I'irntlrct lcginrc'.s frilrrlc irr rhis urca. Likc tlrc (llrilorn Llir t:rt,'rslril', tlr, 1'rrrtrr skillltrlly Plllicrl elilir'isrrr li,,nr llrtolrl hy lssrrurirrg tlrt rrrrrrrtlr','l ,1. llrr,lt l rrl Argcrrtirrt,solclcillrrty. l lr, st l;tctors, r'Lrltbin,.Ll rvitlr tlrc rrrctlr,,Ll "1,1'y,rl tlrt,lisr,11nlr,'r,,,, tlrr lr,tr,rrr,rl tlrt ,rngoitrg grrtltillrr stlrr111lt, :rrr,l

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tl.rc collaboration of church, judiciary, and merlia, continued to shicld Argentina ftom the full force of the energized international human rights l"bb1.

Thc quadrennial rntemational soccer championship. the Workl Cup, was held in Argentina in May and June 1978, when the regiine *as at thc-fJak of its power and prestige- Hosting the World Cup was a big gamble for the regime because, as the Mexican government discovered in hosting the 1968 Olympics, thc lcgions of foreign joumalists sent to cover the sporting event were likely to look beyond the athletic arenas for stories and footage.roz The Maclres and other groups extended themselves to take advantage of this opportunity to disseminate news of the disappearances to the world. Nonetheless, as hosting the OAS had done for Pinochet, the regime's gamble paid off. The government turned out large crowds to protest against rlre Mrdre" and el[irm r h. r. girn. \ claimr .rhout human righc.. The regrme adroitly harnessed Argentinat "socccr nationalism" and translated it into support for the dictatorship. Prior to the matches, military leaders had identified their personas, and hence the regime, with Argentir.re success: Videla was photographed kicking a ball with Diego Maradona, thc Argentme successor to Pel6 as the world's soccer superstar, and Massera clained victory for the Argentine team in advance. When the Argentine team won the clumpi,'nrhi1, ir' vicrory vrliJated the regimc anJ rr. p,,licie., 0 Many foreign journalists-predominantly sports write$, not political analysts-persuaded by the rcigning calm, regime propaganda, and the smooth running of the World Cup, concluded that human rights concerns were unfounded. The presiclent of the Fed6ration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the governing association of world soccer, opined, "The \VorLd Cup was more than soccer. lt served to change Argentinat image abroad and showed that things published in the foreign press are a fantasy."to+ Itt,1t. Southern Hemisphere in late fall of 1978, sport trumped human rights: Argcntina won the world's most prestigious trophy, the rulers took credit, and the concerns of the "locas" were swept aside. A Madre lamented, "The pe, 'ple were happy, enjoying the football; and I was in tears, thinking rvhat indifferent people we Argentines are. Young people are being taken away and they are celebrating as if it wele a party."lo5 The cause of human rights in Argentina, and in the world, founcl ir powerful ally in U.S. President Jimmy Carter. lnaugurated ten months after the coup, Carter inade Argentina a priority test of his human rights-hlsccl f<rreign policy. His assistant scclctaly of state for human tighls rrtrrl lrrrrnrrnitar' ian affairs, Patricia L)crian, n-rarlc scvcritl visits to Argt'rrtirrr, rvlrt t slrt tn<l with rlissitlcnts ln,l hrrrnln rigllts ir(livisls rrrrrl tlrrcstiotrr',1 tlrl trrilitrrty lrrlt ts

directly in efforts to per-retrate thc official veil of sccrccy. U.S. ctnbrtssy 1'ct.' sonlrel in Buer.ros Aires received families of the disirppcarctl ancl rcc'rr'.ltrl their stories. On a November 19?? visit to Argentina, Sccretltty ol Stitlt' Cyrus Vance handed Videla a list of 7,500 names of persons allegccl trr lrrtve disappeared. The U.S. Congress in i978 prohibited military sales, aicl, rrrrtl loans to Argentina. The Catter administration consistently voted agaitlsl Argentine requests for loans fiom international financial institutionsli(' After thlee ycars in whicl"r the military regime snuffecl out hutnirn rights with near-absolute impunity, the mutually reinforcing work of the clomcstic: human rights movement, international hunan rights organizatic-rns, govctllments whose citizens were killed and disappcared, and the Cartcr administration began to bear fruit. ln 1978, the Argentine government's dcsirc lirr U.S.-maclc equipment for a major dam project clashed with Carter's tcfirsrrl to applovc tl-re necessary financing owing to the regime's hurnan rights record. ln a c,rmprornise crafted by the U.S. administration, Argcntina g()l the equipmcnt in exchange {or approving a visit by the lnter-Atncrtc ttr Commission on HtLman Rights. ln prel.talation for the visit, the first by an olficial inteliational human rights agency to Atgentina, the junta closcd sorrc secret detention centers, clestroyed documents, l11ovecl prisonem, ancl thrcatened human lights orgirnizations. Nonetheless, during two wceks in Scptcnr' her 19?9, the cc-rrnmission's delcgation met witl-r goventlent officials, irrcluding the junta n-retr.rbers, church leadcrs, human rights organ r:'rtl( rlrs,

pol.itical parties, Lawyers' associaticlns, unions, business and plofessional t'r ganizations, judges, and representatives of the media. lt also visited scvctirl legal prisor-rs. Before arriving, the commission had seculed permission ttr 'ttrnounce in the press that it would reccive denunciations of individual c:rscs t'1' humnn rights violations; 4,15J peoplc availed themselves of this opForrtrniry in four cities, filing 5,580 complairts.r0T Anticipating a dnmaging assessment, the military govcflulent rrrshccl to publish its orvn versiott of truth in Euolution of Terrorist Delinquencl irr Arqcntina, which it presentecl to thc commission as justificltiol-l for its xctl(rr)s This report documented numcrotls left tetrorist zrttircks and algucd fhlrl lcrror ists intro.luced the "ideology of death" that hacl comc to tlotninatc "cthrcution, cultttre, the workers, the econon-ry and justice" prior to thc I'toccso' ( )leansiug thc country of subversion, thercfote, hacl bec,rmc rbsoltttcly ttc' ' ,.siirly.l0s Btrt thc lcginrc's rcport rang hollow to fhc comDissi(nl lttll t'r rrlrst
A rgcnt incs.

in nl,ril l()S(1, rlrt t ottttttissitttt's 2(r(r-pirge tclrrtt liste.l trrttllts ,rrr,l ,ltsclilr.rl irr ,I trril irrtliti,lrrrrl , rrsts ,,1 lrrtllttr', tttttttlel, ill){l (lisir||('rrl r,rr,,,. Willr,,rtt 11ivirr11 it.,,\\tt,:lilrrrrl( ,,1 tII. trrrtItI,tt,,l ,lisrr1tlt|rrrrrttt t s, tlrt

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conreport concluded that of the various lists that had been produced' one most the was taining 5,818 names collected by ht-rman dghts organizations ancl accurate. The commission's reputation for impartiality and thoroughness authorits conservative methodology for establishing {acts made its findings

described the human rights violations as just actions ag'inst the what they were: tleliberate policy set by the junta, not guenillas, excesses, ot mistakes Banned in Argentina, the report was smug-

itative. And, for the first time,


rllrielt tlrt' j,rttttrirl lirtttt,rtt /iixfirr Qrurtcrfu was cstahlishctl' poLicy makcts' jourrltlists' ittttl ,r,,*i,rg."ttnrt,,1, trl tlrc thcttrc to activists' spread to El Salvir'lor irt](l had rr(rrclcrnics. ln 1981, after stirtc terroism its first regional affilitrl( ' , t,,"l:"*"f,t, Human Rights Watch established stamp of chile anrl Ar'Ar,,.iri.as watch. And there is no mistaking the and conventions on toltllr(' llcrtinir in a sedes of international r'leclarations 1984 I lN (i'tt,,,,,.1

r'cflcctirrg tlrt'


widely circulated, providing a growing number of Argentines iui,h ,h. .o'rfir-"tion of their *orst fearsr the government had intentionally l0e killed their children, spouses' and friends The impact of the lnter-American Commission on Human Rights report Lobby' illustrat"s the ne-ly acquiied ability of the international human rights other Two regime teforist state a affect energized by the Chilean coup, to of the weakening the to deveiopments outside Argentina also contributed jtrnta sufyears' the military government. After successfully resisting for four e stablished a WorkCommission Rights Hurnan the UN a biow when


the .llrupp""rut-t.. whose gestation dates from the 19?0s: Trt:at ttrctrt Dcgrailing or f.rt.,r. ut-td Oth"t Cruel, lnhuman' .,, ",* "g"i"" the 1985 lnter-American Convention to Plevent;tnd ltttl", f'.t-rtrtrl"rr,t Pers"ns ftt'trt rr"r., the 1992 UN Declaration on the Protection of All ConvenriL)n 'rrr Inter-American 'rl,i i,,,tio.",l Oirupp.arance; and the 1994 ll2 lirrccd Disnppearances of Persons

The Collapse of Military Rule' 1980-1983



1980' ing Group on Enforcecl or lnvoluntary Disappearances in February And as Chile as well This *as.Learly a response to conclitions in Argentina

later in the year, Adolfo P6rez Esquivel' founcler of the human rights organilnterzation SERPAJ, received the Nobcl Peace Prize' Together with the placed clevelopments these repolt, Rights Americirn Commission on Human the junta Argentina uncler a spotlight. The intelnational condemnation that libd'0tre' hai dndg.d for r,l l.,,rg b.g"lt to takc a toLL' Thc Proceso\ raison Against erating t-he country from terrorism, had been unmasked as a fiction' thc vigorously' more case pressed their groups this bickdrop, human rights

US rn the White House, Argentina no longer faced coincided with thc onsct presidency to the r iglrts fiont. But Viola's accessioa lnJ' in letge par:t' hy ' ,,{ rr scvere economic crisis cause,.l b1'qlobal condrrions

term was {ivc ycrtt s' rhc tenns of the Proceso, General Videla's presidential Ronalcl Rcagrrtr M',t.f-' issi, General Robcrto Viola replaced him With

onthe httrrrirrr

,f," -tf.*tt

l"rrrkirrg ;',,,r,;;;.;".ractio^ of real wages, and the near collapse o{ thc t() tl)c lrr' response ln .u.r"-."if-r" *t.tt domestic product fell precipitously c'isis, ec.ncrrnLc the

mrrslr'r' conuption and mi"monagenent' The crisis- involved capital flight, hypcrinllrrir_ri.rr-ru,ional ciebt, growing tra.lc deficits,

to rele.,el c,f repression fell, disappearances virtually ceased, and fear began oll't'sition overt cecle. These developments rlpened the way for the rise of an movenent for the first time sincc the military seized power'll0 WhiLe intemational human rights advocacy clearly impacted the Argeninflutine dictato$hip, so did the experience of state terrol isn in Argentina built influer.rce ence the developn.rent o{ internationaL human rights This upon the dramatic in-rpact of the Chilean coup and the lesser but.important ,ol. oi th" Brazilian and Uruguayan state terrorist governments in pushing in international human rights advrlcacy forward' Sevcral of the innovrrtons by point that to the international advocacy occurred in the Unitcd States, for im19?7, in the opinion of one observer, the interest grclups pressing provements in ihe Latin Amcrican hun.ran rights situatiotr lr:rrl bcc'rnrc'irnc li'r'ccs in ,,f thc largest, most ilctive' ancl nost visihle ftlcigt.t 1'r'licy ltJrlryirrg rr irrIIttltr' II tIIt Wirsh ingr,,n. "l Tlra t rtsscsstrtt'tlt tliil tlol lactrrt itt ' "l 'lytr:rtrric rlcw()rgirriizilli{nl, Ilrrtttrttl lligtltsWrrtell,li'rrrr'lt'l irr

,i.r_n,,,"ri."r.r"co_mission on Hur.ran Rights 'eport thc prcvious five ycitrs Lttr' , r,crrrs that would have been unthinkable during thc govcttr,,'ii"J t"otd" The business elites' associations openly criticizetl all(l llrc general strike' a ;',..;,;;i. banned national labor federation called govcrrttlt'ttt' a call for a return to civilian 1,,,liric,rl parties jointly issucd thnu,""dt, and while many were rcpressed' thc tleg.ct


-or.tto ir"t r'vlriclr was moderated Faccd with these developmcnts' lr ilitirry' trr ",ttpf*"a the witl.rin ' '', , i'i'r.. L.'J r","'"t" p"rsonal ancl interbranch contention

diirl.gtrc rvitlt Viola ,i ;.,:'.,;";i;"ittabilitv and coherence' lUhen govtttt ii', ,r,,.."tr, opposition, discussing a possible transition to civilirtt (ittt.trrl hi*.r with one of thcir.wrr' lr,',rd-li,r"r, qui.kty
began a

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"piot"J 1981 1ir (lalticli, in l)eccn.rber t" irr i!..;;:r,,;; ,"i1r.",',""t i' the faltcrir.tg rcginte' Galticri ilcci'lcLl s''rtlrtrrst ',, tttilcs 'rl t,ul, rlr,'li,rlLl,,rr,l (M:rlyirlrs) lslittltls' stltlc nille httntlrc''l J' tlrt l lE sirrtc I3ritrrin iccl lry occrtf lrttt (llrrirrr"l l'y Atllr.rrlirr:r l\rr"tt,xAirts tltt lwo(r)rtrrlri(s irrr\l ir ,,t.,',,1r, l',,,1 1,,r,1' l*, r, r l''rr"'l ' otrtcttliorr l"trvt'ttt

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proven generator of nationalistic fervor' The invasion, launchecl on April Z, 1982, was a clisaster {or Argentina and the thircl junta. Thc Argentinc military sent poorly trained and equipped conscdpts to the theater whiLe most of the ranking officers remained at their clesks. The fundamental miscalculation was that Britain would not contest the rernote islancls occupied by some 1,800 people and 600,000 sheep. However, living up to her "iron [ady" so-

n s tl)e cl( cli()ll lr;'1'r, lr,.rl, llre lrttItatt rigltts orgrttrizrttiotts trrr,l litrril Al 'rr.. l,,rrsin, tlre frcsi,.lenriirl rr{)rrincc of tlrc Lhrir'rn (livicl lladicrtl (lIrrlicrl t iil i, I lrriorr, UCR) thc nr<,clcrate pirrty that was the Pcronists' principrrl tivrrl ,l, rrrrnclcd tlr2rt the courts, rather than history, judge the htrmrrrr liglrls vi,rll rrorrs comnitted uncler military rule. Worriecl about this prospccl, ll)o l('\' (fl)n)cnt issued an amnesty for crimes committcd cluring thc Iir,n.",,, irrr('rnpting to appear evenhanded, decree law 7.2, 92418i, applic..l tlr,.' Irncsty to guerrillas as well as to the rnilitary an,.l polrc.'. L..,rnirrg,'l rlr,' rrrilitaryt decision to amnesty itself. antiregimc au(l hunrln t i!hrs qt,rttl,s c rtt' ri((l r)ut a massive twenty-four-hour 'irarch of resistance" at thc I'lrtzrr L[' l\,1,ryo. The decree was issuccl two days later, on Septcmbcr 22.ll"

briquet, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher -immediately dispatchecl troops, ships, and planes to the South Atlaniii. The tide cluickly turned in Britarinis favor, and after having some 10,000 men captuled and around 650 killed, Argentinat remaining troops on thc islands surrendered on Jure 14.114 Galtieri's gu,rrbii.ttt"rly failecl as the patriotic fervor that initially rallieJ support for the regime gave $'ay to nassive demonstrirtions blaming the rnilitary for a national disaster. Galtieri was teplacel1 in july 1982 by retired General Reynaldo Bignone, whose chargc was to execute an cxit strategy This fourth and final junta callecl{or elections ancl prcpate.l to rcturn the militiuy

,' , ''



to the barracks. Before exiting, the armed forces took precautions to protcct themselves against both tmth ancl justice. They bulldozed or clismantlecl the tenaining ,..r"t detention centers and destroyecl records ancl othet evidence of thcir crirncs. On April 28, 1983, the junta issuetl a "Final L)ocument" that was read on telcvision while in.rages of lcftist terrolist actions playttl in the Lrackground. The Final f)ocun.rcnt tepeated the asscltions on rvhich thc clirty lvar irad been baserl: that therc l-rad been a real war, legally authorizecl by acting president ltalo Luder against fifteen thousand combatants "technically trained and ideologically fanaticized to kill." Thc military had sacrificcd itsclf to savc the nation. Talk of disappcarecl persons u'as "a lie used for politi' cal encls, since there ale nil sccref placcs of detention in thc country " As for the persorrs allegecl to be missing, the Final l)tlcun-rent clairned that:,.lme rvere in e*iLe and othcrs were living secrctly iD Argentina. Th.'se killctl in cor-rfrontations with the militaly carried false documents, and since thcir identities couLrl not be cstablishccl, they rvcle htrried as N/N. The different terrorist groul.rs killecl cach othcr ancl buricd or destroyed the bodies' Thc FinaL Document went on to decLare that all actions o{ the atmccl forces in the wiu were "acts ofselvice." Only the judgmcnt ofhistory, not the courts, coulcl detcrmine rcsponsibilities for any acciclents connittetl dLtrirrg the r.var. Equating tnilitary self-intelcst with thc nationtrl will, the Final Docrinrent stated, "lt is the desile of thc cntire nation to put irtt ctrJ ro l pairlfttl pcriocl of ottr histctry." Thortsancls tlf pcrrple tL:nlotlstrlltul rtlllritrst tlrt Fitlrtl l f)octtrncrtl, antl rlrc httttttru rights tlt,x'ttltctll lcicclerl t I I .. r I t r t lt ..lrlt ;rtlcrlr|t to jrrslily slillc l('rr()lislll. lt
t t

l{rr(l Alfonsin was elected prcsiclent on October 30, 1983, wi$ 5Z pct t ,. t rt ol rhc votc vcrsus 40 percent for Peronist stalwart ltalo Ludcr. I)tlring tlr,.' r rrrrrpaign, Luder', the man who had issued the Octobet 1975 clccrce rir rrr;i r lrt. military carte blanche to annihilate subvetsion, had vacillatccl on t lrc vrr li,lity of the military's self-amnesty. Alfonsin was inauguntecl otr I)tr, rrl', It). The Arger.rtine military left office in complete disgrace aftcr l()sing ils lri(l l, t he Malvinas and amid un{olding discoveries of mass gravcs of its v i( I I n\ 'r' ,'r,,Lrnd the country. In contrast to Chile'.s transition, connollecl all tlrc n,,'y l,v I'inochet, in Argentina the rnilitary lcft via the back cl,ror, asstttnirrg tlrrrt tlr.. irurnesty and the memory ofterror would assure its impttnity. l)cspitt tlrt , ircLunstances of its departule, howevet the nilitary still had thc wc,t1,,'ttt .rn,l rhc zrbility to use them.llT


(icnerai Luci:rr-ro Men6ndez, quoted in Williarn C. Smith, Arltfiorilro i{o ri\1) r (rrr,/ r/r, ( irisi.s o/ the Argen tine P olitical Economl (Stan{ord, CA: Star.rforrl LJn ivols it y I'r, sr, t,)39),212. N:rcional sobre la Desapariciirn de Pers,rnas (CONA[)BI'), Nrrrrr,r Inlarme de la Ct;mtsirjn Naoonal solnela Desal:,tnrcitin de Persortris, 5th t,l. ( lI rt rr, '. "nr,: .'\ rlL s: B.litoli:rl Universitaria dc Buenos Aires, 1999), 7.
.1. (,'omisi6n


j. (icneral histories of Argentina in English incltrcic [)avitl ll,rclt, r\r11,'rrtirr,r ltlt, 1987: Frcrm Spanish Coionl ro Afons/n (Berkeley: University rrl (i:rlil.rrirr l'r,"", IC)87); Daniel K. Lcrvis, The i-Ilstory of ArgettintL (\TcstpLrrt, (lT (lrtrrrr"""l
I'r, ss,

,'rr lrilc,

l00l ); anclJonuthln C. Brown, A Brie/ I'listorl ry' Argotitlr (Nov Y,'rl': lirr, r' l00l). ()n thc twcnticth ccntluy, scc Luis Alhclt,r ll,rrncr',r, A llistorl irl ,\r l rrir{r ir r/r. Jilortrr't/r ( i'rrrrnr', trrrns. Junrcs ll l}r-cnnrrn ((Jnivclsity I'rrl.r l't rrr'1'l
lrrT{,, *, li,,rrrcr,,, \ lL'r,,rr,,/ i\r1,rrtirr,r, ,1).rl,t; (;ini,1;,.1111;1111, 1"'Ir,,r r.,,rr,'rirrr/ ,'rt rirr,r ,,1r,,,,r,I, IIr rrir'i,irr:,L /,r \,,,r,11r,1



I r

.l ()rr Ar1,r'rrtirrrr ltl\\1 ,n

Slirtc I lnivt lsity I'rlr:, ,lt)(l/).






lllrtrrcr li,rrr

'llr, l)irty !0rrl lrr Arft'trtlrrrr '*'
(Bucnori Aircsr l-lidrls,


trulicional a


sociedal, de mlis.ls


rrrrtl Alrrirr l{t'Lrtltri('
2 vols'


iAuthoritarianism and Democracy in Arg enti^a," lownal of lllteramerican Suulies nul tXt*i Affolrt 26, no. 3 (August 1984\: 415-31 (quote 415)' describes Argentine poo{the world in htl"nl ..,ltur" as "golpista." Argentina was among the top countries

trans s ,ori"aod politice enla '\rgentia, ^iliw 2:9-421 1:181-31?' (S;".o. ai."t, E-..jEdito,e,, 1981-82),

Arturo lglesias-ljchcgrrrrrv'

Scott Mainwaring'

,lrltott/r,': r'l itltiw' Ed)irrtu) pu':lriru (Mtrxicrr (iiry: !,,lr,rs lilicioncs, l()lll); AntIr"crr, l )r,ssit'r .\ecrcto, (r[J-96; O illcspic, .\olrlicrs ' t19 l2l, 14. lgrrrr:io (ionzr'iIz Jurrzcn, I'a TiipIe'A (Buenos Aircs: Eclittrri:rl Ootrtrit;rurtto,


l-ilirrrrr l)('l{lx, ii,'lrnr}



15. Anclcrscn, Dossier Secreto, 1Q3-23; Aonz6lez Janzen, La'hiplz'A
er Seueto, 774-41; Lewis, Gaerrilias and Generals, 105.' I I Hodges, Argentinat "Dirtl V/ar": An Intellecnal BiogralLhl (Atrstin: lJnrvclsity o{ Texas Press, 1991), 125; Andersen, Dossier Secteto,735. lil. Ilomero, A Hisrory of A,rgentina,2l3. jurislrrtulr.n' | 9. Argentina: iuicios a los d'Iiwes. Documentos secretos, decretos'IeJes , , xt. C,ulde.n.os dz ln Asociaciln Ameicana de lwistas, no.4 ( 1988), 15

(r. Arrderscn,



l.l,t"."i 6#ft"t


F-milio F' trr.o,n. i., 1928; in 1991, it ranked near the hundredth: de Es(Buenos Centro Aites; argentino caso it"tt-"os 1 sociedurl: eL

I?. t)onald C.

tudios Legales y Sociales [CELSI, 199I)'26'

5.OnPer6nandhisrisetopowerand{irstgovemment'seeRobertJ.Alexander, 1979); Daniel James' Resistance luan Durringo Peljn (Boulder, CO' Westview Press'

';; ;;",;..il", Peronism and" the I'rgentine Wo tns C1455' 1946-1976 (Cambridge: (Buenos Aires: Su' 6irltiir"'u"tt*rtty Press' 1988); Felix Lt,na' Perdn 7 su tiemporev ed' (New York:
i",rr".i.ui.u, 1986); Nicholas Fraser and Marysa Nava:i.o' Eoita'

10. I}aenos Aires Herald, March 25, 19?6, quoted in Patricia Marchak, Golls Ar.State Tencnism in Ngentina in the 1970s (Montreal: McGill-Queen\ Univt:r' 'rsrins: ',iry l)ress, 1999), 212; Andersen, Dossier Secre:o, 142-72; Lewis, Ouenilhs rmrlOnv


of unionized workers between W. N-an, 1996). Per6n quadrupled the number lntegnttion' 9 ' and Resistance 1946 and 1951, to over 2 3 million James, de Per6n a L'utt'rse' Atgentina Luna' F6lix 6. On the Peronist legacies, see Integation. and Resistance es, 19?2); Jam 1943-1973 (Barcelona: Planeta, (Buenos Aires: Ariet' 1997); ?. Marcelo Cavarozzi, Autoritarismo 1 demoqacia of NgentivL' 131-72; Rock' A Historl Rotero, nurq"ie,-poar" -itir" , Z, tl'Z-ZSt: 'fhe (Boulder' CO: lVestview Press' Republic Fitful Corradi, 66;

l5-29. -lhc llrian Loveman and Thomas M. Davies, eds., The Politics of Atcipohtics: Nlilitrr.y inlatin Amenca, rev. ed. (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1997 ), I(r0 12. Peter Valdmann and Emesto Garz6r'Yalddz, EI poder miliw en la Atgctrtirut' l')76-1981 (Buenos Aires: Editorial Galerna, 1983); Enrique V6squez, La iltimtt: ori' t\ ti, apogeo y caida de ltr dictolura militar (Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitarin tk

rls, I



a""]tt*..:m 1985). --

l\rrcnos Aires, 1985).


and the fl. t,tnr,i,, E<lwin Andersen, Dossier Secreto; Argennna's Desaparec)os 52' 1993)' Ptess' (Boulder, \X/estvierv CO: Myth of rhe "Dit^J Wal' g.GuillermoO'Donnell,BweaucraticAuthori'.{rianism:Atgentina'1966-1973'in Flory (Berkeley: University of Comparqit)e PersDectioe, trans. Jnmes McGuire and Rae 2 vols (Buenos Aires: C SaEl onganiato' Selser, 198E); Gregorio

C^ftf,r-,^ Press, 1972-1973). monta, --

l. Loveman and Davies, Tfu Poliacs o/ Antipohtics,162. 24. Cb.rin, Octohet 24, 19?5, in Mignone, Derechos lutmuros y sociedad' 65-66 25. Juan Corradi, "Military Government and State Tenotism in Argentinlr," in l"litics of Anipolitics, ed. Loveman and Davies, 230-31. For incisive analysis of tlrc ,lr"course ofstate terrorism in Argentina, see Marguerite Feitlowitz, A ltxicon ol'llr l n : f,rgenilna and, the Legacies of ToT twe (New York: Oxford University Press, l99tl )
I 26. CONADER Nanca mds, 56. 27. Lewis. Guzmllas and Generab, 46. 28. Videla's statement appeared in Clarln, Jar.ruary 31, 1976.Bylate 1977,thcgtrv. , fl)ment was putting out its view that the Montoneros were almost defeate.l, Lr ( )finidn, December 7,1971;LaNaci6n, December 21, 19??. The dictatorshi;T maxirrrized the numbers while human rights groups tend to rrrinimize their estimates llrc lrighest estimate I have seen is forty thousand armed fighters, a figure offered by tlx t J.S. public relations fitm Burson-Manteller, employed by the junta, in a propagrttrrlrt
I'icce in the U.S. media. The low figute, two to three thousand, was offerccl by h,,nrarr rights groups. Another point of disagreement is between total membership in grrcrrilLr ,)rganizationsr which included support personnel, and actual trained fighters. 29. See Gillespie, Soldiers; Moyano, I'ost Pal oh Seoane, 'Iodo o nada; ancl Ltwis,

Cor(il";;;t;;, Centro Editor de Am6rica Latina' 1984); James Brennan' El Sat:erdotes para eI Pontoriero' Gustavo 1996); dcrbazr, (B.,enos Ai.es: Sudamericana, Editor de i**, i-'rd", "El fermento enlnmasa" (1967-1976) (Buenos Aires: Centro in N' Ditl'X/m The pa.,l Generals: and Grcrriliru Lewis, H Am6rica Latir.n, t-qgt ); 19-81' 2002), gentin4 (\Westport, CT: Praeget,

tO. Ctuuaiu UitU uttd Daniel Lutzky,

eds , La nueua izquierda argentim: 1960-1980


ii. on ,t-r" g""..illas, see James Kol.rl ancl John Litt' eds ' Llrbon Guerrilla\YaTlare of i, itin A^"rica (Carnbridge, MA: MIT Press' 19?4); Richard Gillespie' Soldiers p.- ro,.r-a, ox{ord University press, 1gg2); Maria Jos6 Moyano, Argentina's Losr Press' 1995); Patrol, Armed Suu11gll ' 1969-1979 (New Haven' CT: Yale University



)uerrilb atd Gercrals, 4648.

12.AtfrecloPucciarelli,ed.,Laprimaciadelapolitica'I'tn'''usse'Per6n'llanueaa de Btrenos Aires' ,,.tnpn.t ael GAN (Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaia ,nfu..ao
"rt l9t)9);I-cwis, ( inerrillas ond Gene.ak' 71 73'

on military and police deaths are published by the military officr:rs' or ,lrrnization, the Circulo Militar, in In Memoiam (Buenos Aires: Circulo Militrrr, 1998-1999), 2;369-81. The dictatorship acknowledged that leftist terrorisl rrltrr' l''


li0 ,---'


Challtcr [i

lri llrrty

Wrrr irr ArrlL trtttt't



1975 and that only one occutred atier 1976: Repdbiica Argcntinir, Podcr

Ejecutivo Nacional, Evolution of Tenorist Delin4uencl in fugentrna (Buenrx Aircs: Poder Ejecutivo Nacional, i980), 168-72. 31. Quoted in Jacobo Timerman, P'tisoner without aNrrne, CeII without aNumber' trans. Tony Talbot (New York: Mntage Books, 1988)' 49' 32. Quoted in Andersen, Dossier Secrero, 44; Hodges, logentina's "Dit1 War," 125-? 1; David Pion-Berlin, The Ideologl ctf Snte Tenor: Economic Dc-tcuine utd Political Reptession in Ngentina cmd Peru (Boulder, COr Lynne Rienneq 1989), 98 104; (Buenos Aires: Jordrin Bruno Genta, Guerra conttarcuol"ucionaria: docttira Politica
Nuevo Orden, 1965).

{rl;l)i111' Ny'irs(rrr ( i rrrllr ., r,, i),rssr,r S,ottr,, 55 5('




l\rt Otrtl..is brrsv elst 1,,,i't,,g,tu,r, LtrlLl hirl, "()rrly Otrcl gives antl rakcs 1i{c ',,,,". " Tllll(flrr:rll' Argcr-rlina in trsk this rrl,, r,, rrrrtl wc'rc the ortes l'ho must undelt:ti<c
l'ri\,,r( r



N,1ign,,rre, l),'rcr'/r,rs /rrrrrrrnlrs


sociccLtl,6li Oncol itllIrisorrcd Jire.'b" l'irrrtr"

ancl Vicenrc MuLcirr, /ii dir rlrlr r lr t, ,,.i,,, .rr t,.rio,,. ,,1r.rror, 24. See Maria Scoane ( Aircs: Suclarnct icrrrrrr ' Zl')00 ) Buenos Viclela i ', ,,,,, .".t r.. r frrfrf ica cle lotgn Ra/acl tenorista argenrino (Barcclona: Erlitorill Ar'{,rs .t


lr il/u)rrf d Ndme , 11. ( ]lro./rr. I)ccernbet 18, 197?,

in Mlgno r\e, Derechos



vlcicdal' 66; Iieit.



i,ui. oulraid", Elesralo

Pontoriero, Sace'dotes pam eI Tercet Mundo; Lewis, Gzerrillas and Genetals, El 87' The poll is cited rn Andersen, Dossier Secrero' 73. 34. A naval o{ficer, asked about using the death penalty against guerrilias, said simply, "lt is very slow" llda Micucci interview, Buenos Aires, December 9, 2002' 35. \fhile Argentina received far fewer immigrants than the United States during the great wave of 1880 to 1914, imrnigration transformed the country more thoroughly than it did the United States because Argentina's pre-1880 populetion wrs n.ruch smaller. See Carl E. Solberg, Immigrarior aulNatiotwlism, Atrgentina and Chile, IS\A-D14 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 19?O); Sandra McGee Deutsch and
Ronald H. Dalkart, eds., The Argetrine Righti Irs Hislor).nd lntellecanl Origlns ' I91A to rhe Present (l7ilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1993); David Rock, Authorirarian A,rgentita: The Narionalist Movement,Its Hiitory, ond It hnpact (Berkeley: University of Califorlria Press, 1993 ); Sar.rdra McGee DeLrtsch, l'rs Derechas The Extreme Rrght ir Argentina, Brazil, ani Chile, rc9A-1939 (Stanford, CA: Stanford Universitv
Press, 1999), 26-37

33. Hodges, Argenrina's "Dirq War," 8?-123; Hilb and LLrrzky' La nueva izquierda;


in orclcr, are {ounci in Fcitlowitz' A Lcxicon oJ Tcrrrr' 32; lrr' ancl Barbarisn in Atgcntina"' Michil'nr 'lrrl, l.,rikitr Elkin, "Recoleta: Civiliz:rtion Gr'icrrillas and Gcnerali ' 147 AnrrvrrI "l Lewis, ,,,',',"tfrn"J"rZZ (1988):235; and saying that it woultl bc nccestlll Timerrnarl' apl]r'oach to

rlrr:r, l98l),

l'i. ihc q*,rn,ior,r,

t', , r , ,,nlinnccl this


re.rern{rcr'tlrr'i. I i ,.ll,r,*"a too_thcy must be erar.l jcated-irnd also those rvh. (lrd's Asstrssnrs Marchak' also Sec r4Ndmc,50 ,,., ,,,'."Titr",n ot, Pdsorrer {,irho irnaly'i' exccllent an offers 4rgcnlino' "l tlrc 1r. l)rrlralcle, El estada terrorista CONAL)EP' Ntncrl rrr'ir' ,',, rlr,,L[,logy of state tcfforism in Algcntinir' Sce also
antl Anclerscn, Dos.r/er Sccrero, 175-204 international hrrulrrr litltt' 'l(). "Even befrrre the nilicary coup of March 1976' t'l causc politicrrl '1rp'r clecision militaly's 1,,,:,.,'r"" l.'*1 influcncecl the Argentine therr ptlblicly " Mrrr ol excctltillg thcm inprisoning r,, rrr, t,, 'tlisappear,' r:rther thllrl "r



tlre s.,bu",sit'"s'

"All '

about twenty thousand

pctltlc Arll


, ,' .,

,18-rc6, ]93-247


J6. Deutsch and Dalkart, eds., The Argenrine Right; Rock, Authoritarim Argentina; Deutsch, Las DerecAas ,26-31,78 106' 193-24?; Eduardo Luis Duhalde, E/ esrado rerrorista argentino: quince aiios despu€s, una miraJa titica (Buenos Aires' Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, 1998), 88 120. 37. The Argentine miiitary's anti-Marxist ambitions clearly extended beyond Ar' gentina's boundaries. ln addition to participating in Operation Condor, the lunta r'r'as a sponsor of the Contm war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua priur io

irr ir <othryn Sikkink, Acritiss belond Borders: A&ocacl Nctrrrrrrlis ".i.',-.t (lthaca' NY: (irrnell University Press' 1998)' 103 4 Thr:inttrrt t.' r, r,r,rri,rrrdlPolirics arc rl"t t:"irrl] l" ,r,,r,1 l'inochct's fate wirs explicit Onc officer teportedLy slid"'l0e l','e'rrr".. ,', ,i," ii.ite squacl like Fl;rnco (Spain's dictator' 1939 ?5) ancl Pilt'rctrct' /rnr,or.r r I)crcchrs pope it.,'Mignonc, to clo not us will ask t , , .,,"ry,r,i" .,p ,,, the





, r,,lrrtl, 60


Thc cluotations, in orclcr', arc from lnter-Anerican ColrLnissi(rn 'rrr
Rights in Argcntina


tl ,,rl'rr, Ii"lrort on rfrc Sirtorron of

th" R"ug"l, adrninistration's involvenent. See Ariel C. Armomy, Atgentina, the United Srares, ard the Anti-Commwtist Ctusole in Central Americo, 1977-1984
(Athens: Ohio Univetsity Centel for lntemational Studies, 1997)' 38. Timerman. Prisone'r without a Nome, 101; Hodges, Argentina's "Dirty \Yar," 124-?1, offers an incisive discussion of the nilitary's cdlceptidl of World War lll
anJ rlre JL i-n.e of\iuc\rcm crvili'dtiorrngain'l (r'mmuni5m J9. The term was usedbyJorgeA. Sribato, cited in Mignone, I)crcchrts humanos 1
sociedad, 38

r Lllman 24('; CONAI)EI Nulca rnlis' \ r'.1. ic.'rr (]r,rllrnissitlrr orr Hunarr Rights, 1980), 5 ]; ' Deccmbcr 5' 2002 Tlrt ' s Aires' Buenos ,r,,1 lv1, r'cules Colas,.lc Mcroio intelvicw, "SccrrcstIos f 'l( rrr,rl( 1)l thc uttrnher .,f ttodies recovcled is frolr ln6s izaguirlc' in l-rr rltsrrlr'nl irirr financicnr"' capital clcl clascs guerr:r tlc -Ll'rrLir iilrr: lls tricricirs clc la

(Wasbingt'rn' I )( )' lrrt'




n1,,i,, ,.1" Iltrcnos

is irls() strggcstc,:l

irnr'r/' I'v lerah:rrmanidadt cI "nunca mlLs" 1iacr;munidarl itltt'rrrrrr (Blrcnos Aires: Coloquio de Buenrrs Ailcs' l9li9)' I I I

.lli. ll

1"u, rr,i,,1




40. CONADEP, Nunca mrls, 282-92; Atvalo Ahirs' l)ciiros ri('rrrl)/roi (lIrrl"' lilir'rrirrl N"rrrrir' l()()())' LrL crm,,tltcirin ar,qcnrina, l8i0-.1997 (l\rcrrtrs Ailes:


/rirtrlrrrs rli'


slrt'rrt Nrr.'i i't tl,e,,ccrrpiL'tl tenitttries hrto thc'!riglrt 'rn''l 1ttg " *lrl,in rlr. Arrl,rrrirre rrrilitrrly nlrkcs this clctlihlc S'.) ll'\lf"' Arltrrtirln

r't" thrrt clisappeararrccs l'cre insfilctl hy I-litlcrls 'rrrI -flre 'lisrr11"
51r.r'tzrt lc" I'slc/r' rs.'r rrrriit"r, '


lS? ()l;rrrr,llrrrrrrl ( irrr:i rr r", l )i|itr'' Virrlmtr;

rt r'


li,r,ll,'rl( lrrntr,rrritrrrr



' I)irtr\\lnr'(lloLrltlLr'(l():Wtslr'icw

l,rtss l9')')


The Dirty War in

Argenrina .--





Chapter Four

Aires: CELS' 1986)' 263-139; Comisi6n Argentina inu** 'ilil c""*a Higuindegq actua: .testimonio del .inspectot de la i!r"*":t """a"t o')Rorlol/oPcregrinoFemcinder(BuenosAire":comisi6n ;;;;;;;";;;;;;r,-(R merhoJ or 'ealine ;;;;;';;;; u"?".r,.* n,""-' lo"8i) (p;mphletl' 4l s.'v'rhe or rhe Third (ommanJer MendrrJez Lrr'iano ;;,:li;;;"., strrtccl trirh Cenercl and everv one" of ;d;.|J";dq.*rtered in co'doba Province' who nade "each

4g.CentrodeEstudiosLegalesySociales(CELS),Terodsmodeest.ldo:692re. de Derechos

5?. Arnnesty International, "TLstimonio sobre campos secretos,', 20 21. Scc rrlso Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Pattr: mantal del buen nru.rtu.Ln. (Buenos Aires: CELS, 1999); CONADEB Nunca muis, 26-54; Timertran, prisorr.r. without aNune,6-7. Note that torture was not new to the dirty war; it had been pr.rt.ticed selectively since at least 1930, but never institutionalized as in the secrct rlt.rcntion centeLs: Ricarclo Rodriguez Molas, Histona de h tc,rara 1 eL


Argenina, 2 vols. (Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Ailrs, l9E4-1985). Feitlowitz, A Lexicon of'fenor, 53-60, has a glossary of the dirty wxl I (.r58. CELS, Testimonio sohe ESMA, 21; Feitlowitz, A Lexicon o/ Teiror, 5E; Ilin


represitp or

hisrankingol{icersexecuteprisoners.Pion-Berlin,Ideologofsmte.leno,r'|02-4. Era' 1984) is a fic;;,;i ;:""^:,;, R" cuerdo clc la m'ic e (Mexico citv: Ediciones
ri.,nal "lo. bur rellr"rrc p,'rtra',1

( iocst, Behind rhe Disappeatances:

'f t' di'appearnncc' 1 la ltrensa 6oialEp, N u,''ra mas, 16-)o; Sergio Verbitrkv' Rod lfo^Wzl\h 1985)' 56' isza isrs (Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la urraca' ,;ir;;, on the Sitl;o:tion of Hu' Report Rights' Human on 51. lnter-American Commission -ttt blatant ln one teported .#n*i"'t" at*i*o,98 Th" takire of wzr booty site half an hour ,.ft *ith uniformed soldiers arrived at :rn abduction ;r:,;;-; on Human Rights' J; ;";;, to haul off the loot lnter-American Com'rission 58 ,'t ,,t. Silu,llron o.l Hunan Rtlht i in ArRcnnno n.p-, ''' lq77 "l flarlr Jcnl rhat 'on irr DcLernber 5l. Gcnercl Vi.lela' f''r erarnple 'ard mrls' 55' ."rr,*,trt .o*0. "*ist ir-r Argettina " CONADER Nunca "Testimonio sobre lnternational 166;Amnesty 53. Feitlowitz, A Lex icon o! lerrot' n.cl., mimeo_in- centro de Estudios cnmfos ,ecret,rs de cletenci6n en Argenti.na,,, Documentaci6n' 2l CONADEP' Nunca mris' (CELS), Centro
i"*1i", ui".*f"t
of secret detention 54-223, hasdetailecl descriptions of dozens approximately 340 secret deuncovered had reoortec{ in 1984 that rts rnvestigations t^'"" tt" * mber hacl risen to approximatelv 380: Rarl t;;t,

Argenrinat Dttl'War against Hwnan Rights attl thL /rircl Naooru (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990), 40_41. 59. CONADEP, Nrinca mtit, 26-54; Amnesty lnternational, ,,Testimonio s()hfe



canps' CONADEP

;:H:;;; ,tt

u"u" afion"a, lr"-u,,o politica: uansici6n a Ia



derechos humonos (Buenos

20 25; Andersen, Dossier Secreto, 205-13. (r0. Amlresty Intemational, "Tlstinonio sobre campos secreros,,, 2l: Martynirrk, I MA; CONADER Nunca mris, 59 69. 61. CELS, Testinonio sobre ESMA; CONADE| Nl.nca mris, 59-69. 62.. Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, Niiios desa\lrecifu)s en Argentina desdc !976 (ltrr11os Aires: Madres de Plaza de Mayo, 1990); JtLIio Nosiglia, Borln lc guorrr ( lI rrnos Aires: AbtLeias cle Plaza de Mayo, 1985 ); CONADEP Nanca mris, 299) I l; \|lrrresty lnternatlonal, "Tcstinonio sohre campos secretos," 34-J5. The acclai rr,l l,rii5 llln La hisroria o/icial [The Official Story], directed by Lrris puenzo, dclls wirlr lr( \ inrsequcnces of l-r:rby kidnappilrg. r,I Tlris and the following paragr.aph are based on Timerrnan. ptisoner withtnt tt tj,r,rrr', which offcrs keen insights into the dilemmas of Ar.gentinc Jews cluling rlrt. ,lrrr1, $,11r. {cc also M:rrisa Braylan, Repot on the Situation of the Jewlsh Dcramccs_l)is
irmpos sccretos,"

Aires:FondodeCulturaEcon6mica,2004),3g.SecalsoNorbertoPcdroUrso,Man2002); antl

"" "*f, C",f* drl",a", l,aos somos


1:r lvlemoria' i"cia ei horrr-'r (Buenos Aircs: Edicic'ncs de 1983)' Brugueta' (Buenos Aires: subuersiuos

,iir{,nirl cl&ring tlLe Gerutcide Perpe\ace(l in Argenrina (Buenos Aires: Social Rcsc,rrr-clr r , rrrer Lrf l)AIA-Argentinean Jer,r'ish Community Centels Associ:.rtion, 2tlL)0); , I )NAl)hfl Nlnca rnris, 69-75; Fcitiowitz, A Lericon o/ Tcrrrr, 89-109.


ESMA survLv')r $h" slcnt ft'rrr and l lrrrll Aires: CELS, 1984) is the testimonl ot an lrL sratf, he h.rd much oppt'l turlirl r" ol'scrvc' lrntl vears there; as p.dft of the inlrate crrr',,1 .li'r4.t ul.r,' .'ort",l in ESMA as well as .|,ze .s


54. CONADER Nunca ma:' 55' sobreti r:enrro cLur ii. i""rr. a" Er,"aios Sociales y Leg^les (GELS), Tesrimonio (ESMA) (Buenrrs Mectutica dz la At....ada Argentino
ae la Escttelt' de

. ,,

ffi;;;;i;;r,."I ;t;";;il;,

ESMA "nasladarlos " i tcsttl t rr there. See also Ana Maria Marti et ai ' Mav.' l-arnilirrres 1979 (Buenos Aircsr Abuelas ..le Pl:rza rlc
ancl N4rdrcs narecrclos v Detenirlos por Razones Politicas'


rl' tris


rr.l"1rir Jr' lrr r[ vr/'r,I ;u.Jil": tsli )' 11"""- u'l' "rJo Martvnitrk' /iSMA: lirrorrrr rrrrir' lltr 4'l {'ttt" .rtji.t"".t a""t' prorrctc() I-ihr(rs' l0O4);(l()NAl),1" Nrrrtrir M'rsr''r'r:


I'll:;r tlc Mrryo' l-irrr';'



lrt, ',,',. 1 ,, , l()ii('), 5. r,', AI r(.sly lnlcfnrrtionrl, "Tistir\rnio soltre cillr|os secrcf(){,'t 75. r,r, i\rrrrrtsr\ ltrtenrirti()r)rl, "TcstinrLrnio sobrc cNlrl-os scr:r.r,tLrs,,, l5 i,lt , , rl I \ l)lrl' Nrrtrr rrrris, (r8 (rt). ,,, ( r )NAl)lil', Nror,rrrrrris,2ll 47; llrrrrcio Ve rl,irslil,l l,, l;/ir,/rr.(irrr/,,rsr,rrr,,/

,, r 1 lr, , wrrs cventr ,\ lii rrr l'rrrrrr.y,

Arrrncsty lntcrnational, "Testinonio sobrc campros secretos," 25-32. ()rrt,prir. rally frce,.l wrote , "l neve r discove re.l why r1.rc mili rirr.y sylr lul r rry Thc l-ittlc Scho.l: Tales of Disappeamrce ond S,roirr.l ,r Art.,r rrir rrr, .\litirr P;fln(ry with Lois Athey nncl Santlra BLaunstcin (pirrsbrrrglr: ()L.is

,,, \,',,rrllr, l)i)'rr

trttitrn 6rrtt Mrrsserrr, 123)l Asoeirl irirr



(llrcrros Aircs: ll,lir"ri'rl lrr 'i('. (-)rr,rrrl irr li itl"rrit ,

l'i11irr r' 1')')())

Allcrr(N(\vYo|k: Nc\, I'rtss, l1),)(r) ,lr.rlr rrrorr.ol ,r rlrrrll, qqr,rp kill rir.rtrrrs l*.lil irr 1. ,1 1',r,,r', $irlr ir l,;rl,(rlIrrl. Ilrt rtrrrs "slr{)l lrtirrrl toisL.l|l)(.irrrrr,l ..liill,.rl rrr,,,rr rr,.,,. ,'lr, rr r.rl r,, , r1,l rirr rlr< hrllrrrl,s ,,t rlrr.:t, , r , I r I | , r , I ,,,rrl,


tr':rrrs. lisrlrr,r

lr,rrr liSl\lA.lt





: r


, r




'\ ir'rr"'rr 'r/ l;r'rr'








llrrrt'tlr li'ttt


'llrr l)ilty
55' lU4 r) l; il7. Arrrlt rs, rr, I )osri'r S' r rr'tl, "'l 'li11l/r' ll8 50' Mirlrront, ''Sg. U(/itrrt'ss ltr lh{'


llrAl$'lrlllrit '-'


( l( )Nn I )ltll Nrrirrlr rrrris'

i47 (();

68. CONADEP, Nunca mas, 293-390; Feirlowirz' A l-cricrlr 69. CONADEI Ntnco
70. Timernran,

rl'li'nrrr' l?3


mds, 298

ner without aName,50'

tf lNntltltl

NttLca mris, 2(r0; Mignonc' Wcncss trr




Deccmber 5' 2002 See ?2. Mercedes Colas de Meroiio interview, Buenos Ailes' Galrct6n' eds ' Fear Antonio Manuel and Fagen, 'rr ]uan E. Cor.a.1i, Patricia \feiss 'the (Berkeley: University of(laliforAmerica Lotin in Edge: StateTerrot andResistance nia Press, 1992), esP. 1 89.

?1. Feitlowitz, A

Le xicon rtf

Tenor' 136' 149 50'

8t). VL:rl'itsky, l'hc llicht,

Tnrh' Cer'ltnrl Arirrnbtrrtr e:rrliu' l,r:r'l Jenictl tlr'' de Mayo the use of the cathcdrll f()r' 6 mtctirrll

()0. MrHn,rn, '

\-Vitnets tn rJr' T'r,trh to rhe


mon Rrg/rts in Argentina, 71. 214 19' Z+. iONeOiR Ntnca mris' 248; Andersen, Dossier Secreto'

75. Feitlorvitz, A Le icon of Temt,l07 Nunca ?6. Ilda Micucci interview, Buenos Aires, December 9' 2002; CONADER

mrls,9 10. ?7. Amnesty lntemational, "Disap}ea:ran'es

a Workbult (New Yolk: Amncsty

ltaadres de Plaza ,'tt r'c..,,p 'cuzmdn ry' tlrr' Bouvard, Reurlutionizins MotherhoorJ: ThL: Mrrthers ;'i;;::. il;";t* 72-. loo4)' Dt: Scholarlr R' "orrrcc'' 1i,,,.f. '"r2.- Vr, {Wrlminqron, atr'l g.r.L of Human Righrs in Argentrna I'r.tcv' t 'hange ' Politics Ai,J.r" ,'fhe (ilsrrt 5(r; Aldo 5 l 1994) Univetsity Press' ' i ,.,,".r",i.J" tSr""forcl, CA' Stan{or,ll USSR since 1917 (PittsbuLgh: universirv 'rl and'the ATgentina rs: ;";;,;;;;;;;P;;^; Press, 1984)' 24-126 I'ittsburgh ' ";;:'";.*k,H;,.roiH,-a" 64 n'ght',51-58; Guest' BehincL tht: f)isappca.rmces' 'i","r"*t.ltul, l()7() 6-15 No\)cmhct ' R"po"' on the Mission to Argentma' ,t,"""r,1,


Ni;;,';;, !/i,".si


"' International. 1982), 1 1 7. Buenos Aircs' Dc78. Anclclsen, Dosster Sco-err-r' 218; Marta Visquez intervicw' Report or, the SituRights' Hun-ran on Conmission cember 10, 2002; h-rter-Amcrican
atin of Humon Rights in Argenrino, 11 7-1E' dictaelura 79.'Er,riqu" i.oirtoort, La Co'rte Suprema de Justicia rlwante -la "Defensa LegaL Barcesat' S EdLrardo 1989); (Bucnos CISEA, (1976 D8, Aircs:
vida y la libertacl pcrson:rl etr el r6giuclr tnilitar argentino,'' in Hugo Frtihling E (S:rntiago: Represirln polirica 1rlefensad"ehts doechos humanos, ed Nmrca mds' C",.rtr,,.:1" Estuclios Socialcs ICESOC], 19E5), 14i-62; CONADEB of thr:ir mem2J that estimatc'l essociations ZSO,.}qf-++f. Larvyers'professior-ral ancl tmprisonecl were molc rnany while tlisappeatc.l' b",",u"." ,ou,d.,".l ancl 109

i-,^i"J, o-""t.u n,,bii.utio"t, 19??);

Amnesty International' Tfu "l)sappeatcd"


'r".",^,.^o.l-,,,orcosesReporrcd'oAmnestlIntemationnl,MmchlgT6_Fcbrutn)t)7|) rrr 1979); Carlos Slepov interview' Mtdrid' Novt




(Buenos Aires: Centro lili 94. Raril Veiga, Las o rgwriTacianes dc derechos humanos Rrghts' 45 51;GracielaFerrrrirr Hriman ,,,. i" e-"n." f--^.i"a' 1985); Bnlsk, Poliacs o/ en la Argentin'r v 'tt hul-ranos las organizaciones de derechos

13, 2001

Lx d".".h,rIl

n la

,i", M",1id", "Hlrto,ia
r.tll cn la clemocracia,,,


in RePresidn poiitjca, ed' Frtihling, 59_??; Maria'sonderegucr.,


sectores populares' 'r' ;;ril;.1;r;;;"t;aclone. d" de"chos hum:rnos con polir,ca' ed Frtihlinu'.?9-95' in Re4esilrL el futuro," hacia ,""s ,,"Jli , o"rro"i :;;. i";J ; "rgrniracionc'r Brv"k' Poiioc' of Hr'man RrAhts' 4q 5 L B"uvard' l{'r'



(Lor.rdon: lfriters 80. Andrew Craharn-Yool, Thc Prcss in Argettina' 1973-1978 mris' 296' 361-74; La Nrnca CONADER l9?9); Trust, and SchoLats Edtrcational run by Jac'ri'o and {ounclecl newspaper the Ld O1ini6n, Nacidn, Dccembei 18, 1971. the official tom d Hcr' Aircs Buenos Timenn:tlt. ancl dre English-language

line insofar

paid rvith imptisonment :rnd banishrnent' sindicales 1 eI podet militar (1976-1983) orgdnlz4ciones El. Alvaro Abris, I-as (Buenos Aircs: Ccntro Editor dc Am'<rica I-;rr:ina 1984)' ' An4U,., Ln's organifaciones sinriicales; CONADEP' Nlnca mris' 296' 375-90;
as possible; Timetn-lan

ir,,erview, Buenos Aires' December 9' 2002 Disappeared. (Boston:.South lir*l .turii-ring-U"ri,Ln t ood; Jo Fisher, Mothets o/ the ed arLd theMothers ol rlv il,"li, 19ifiy, j.r-" simpson and Jana Ber-,n".i, Th" Diropp"o" Circle of Lo')e o\'r Mellibovsky' V.tf., St. Martint Press, 1985); Matilde i'il." tN"* ^f",rtrnrt*s Maria Proscl rrn'l M1]1'. & o/ rhe Morhers of tht Pt'qa fi"it, ':n"": Agosin' ( )rr l''s Marjorre 1997); M;;;";'P,.*, (!(ziilimantlc, CT: Curbstone lress' locura' Matlrcs. de Ia PltLz'L Maro=Ctrc'los de 'h ;;;;";;, Mot},'", of the Plaza de p'"" p'""''t991) is a book of poems anJ Fhotosrrrl)hs

gi. ttdu't"ti.u..i




9?. lnter-Americrn Commission on Human Rights'

Report orr thc Siruation rr/ I lrr


derscn, Dossier Secrero, 175 81.

utrl Dicmtor' 81. Emilio Mignone, Witnesr to the Truth: The Confiicill of Chuch (Marvknoll' NY' Orbis Books' Berrvman Phillip ttans' shif in Argenrlna, l926-198J, 259-63' mds, Nunca 1988), 6; CONADER 84. Mignonc, Mtness tr.' the Trrth' 71 85. Marta Vdsquez inten'iew, Buenos Aires, Deccmbcr 10' 2002' 24A44; 86. Mignone, Wirncss ar rhc ?arh, 7l 96; Dcutscl.r' /-os Drrcchas' 1AL5 '

Rights in lvgentina' 117 ' nur"qS." '''B.t*ra, n. volutioniingMotherhood;

Fisher' Morhers o/ the Disappearcd; Mt

Circie o/ Loue' libovsky, 'S9.


Cahfornia lress' leet)) Dr;;";;;;il;;"0/ A'g""ina (B"'k"lev: Universitv of organization; '-'fr5. Inter-Arrrcli of the iEl-i, "g.".hu."li " <1 , hn' a b'ief history RigAts irr Ar Humon of Siaation Rights' Report ctn thc

,Arii ,i,

Searchingfor Life: The Grandmorhers o/



Malr''rnr'l th'


on Human

ri.k I{icc

intelvi,.""v, BLrcnos Aircs,




52-53' gentina,757 62; Brysk, Polirics of Human Rights'


:|6 .-

Chuptor l.truL

Rights Policy: Argentina," inLatin Anerici, tlv Llnied Sntes, i.d ,hu In*r.A^"riron Sysrem, ed. John D. Martz and Lars Schoultz (Boulder, CO: Veswiew press, 19gO), 228.

A Lencon of Tenor, 41-46; Joseph S .'fulclin, Argentina and. the IJnited. Sriltes, Ccrnfucud Relationship (Boston: Twayne, lgg)),14649. Tllchin wrote that, ,,by 1979, the refuration and tejection of the intemational ,campaign, against Argentina had become an obsessive issue in foreign policy," in ,,fn"'trn"pu"iTi U.S. Uu^un

. lowitz,

101. Guest, Beiird

'flrt l)iny !?.rl
the Disa\peararces,

gg*332; yacs, Discreet paraters, T 4_gl;Feic,

in Algenrinir





I14. llrrhcln M,rnr,'1Jt I lisrorl

li L,nL ()ucntLMunclial, rev ecl. (Bucnos Airesr Editorial Sudamcricana, 2002 ); Mrrl

ry' rhc Sourh A tlantic Conflict: Thc V/tr ol th,: Mah, (Ncw Yrrrk: Pncgcr., I9ti9); Horacio Vcrbitsky, Mahinas: la iltinu ltatdltL dt l,t





irltllcbrook, The Fight fo,r the Malvmzrs: The Argenrrne F



Viking, 1989).

the FalkLanls \yLu

15. Rcprinted in La Prensa, April 29, 19g3.

6. ilonero, A History of Argentina,247_54.

man Rig!* in Argentirw, 264 . Guest, Behind the Disippearances, 1 90_201 ; Lewis, Gaer_ rilltr md" Genemb, 1?9-90. Tirlchin, Arge ntino ari ih" United Smtes, t4q ."i.,,.. ,f ," idea of Carter.'s and Derian! influence by arguing that airap-ititury-.t-opp"a pearances because there were few if any ,,subversives,,

man Rights in Argentina; Guesr, Behind. the Disappearinces, 17 6,79. l10 The commission reported that it had received no new denunciations ofdisappearances between its September 19?9 visit and the April 19g0 publicarion of irs report. Inter-American Commission on Hrman Rights, Repot on ti. Sination

Guest writes,_"Argentina came to symbolize Carter,s confrontational approach to human rights" (xiv). Many Argentines expressed their gratitude to Carter, lnchding Emilio Mignone, Derechos hrnrwnos.l sociedtd, 5g. 107. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Repor, on ,fu Sination o! Hu, man Righ* in Argentina; Guest, Behind the Disappearances, iO4_Zl, Clt_S, .festimonb sobre ESMA, 4-5. 108. Repriblica Argentina, poder Ejecutivo Nacional, Evoluion of Terrorkt Delin quencl in Argentina (Buenos Aires; poder Ejecutivo Nacional, 19g0), 3. 109. lnter-American Commission on Human Rights, Repor, on rhe Siatatiott of Hu-

102. The opening of the Mexican Olympiad was preceded by what is called the 'Tlatelolco massacre,,, a savage repression of protesting students that killed several hundred, Scenes ofthe massacre were broadcast around-the wo.ld. S". ni"i.," Cur"n Plaza of Saqifices, Gender, power, and. Tenor in 196g Meico 1ati"q."rqr", U"ir". sity ofNew Mexico Press, 2005). 103. Pablo Alabarce s, Fitbol ) ptlcria: eI fitbol y lu nanatit,as de Ia naci,n en la Ar, gentina (Buenos Aires: Prometeo, ZOAD, 119_36; Feitlowitz, A Lexicut of -fenor, 35-3?; Duhalde, Esado tur:orista Mgentino: quince ffi,os despu6s, I15_I7. IA4. Pdgina 12, December 30, 1990. 105. Elisa de Land(n, quoted in Fisher, Moth.ers of the Disappemed, T3. G^u"rr: Behind. the Disappearances, t51,243; AndeLsen, Dossier Secrero, ^-i09: Cynthia Brown, ed., WfA Fnendi 250-69; Like These: -the Arnericas W*ch Report on Hunon Righ* and lJ .5. Policy inLatin Amcrica (New york: pantheon, tqSS), gg,tOO.



17. Lrura Tcdesco, Dem<tcracl in Argentina: Hope antl Disillusion (Londolr: Frrrrk .r,.s, I999),51-58; Alfonsin, Memoria politica,37.


I I : :

i i



111. Schoultz, Hrman R(hrs and U,S. Foreignpoliq,T5. See rhe UN and OAS websites for human righr. rrearie.. 113. Srnith, Authoitmianism and the Cisis of the Atrgenthrc 239-61; Lewis, Guet"rilku aru1 Generatr. I 79-90.





State Terrorism in Latin America
Chile, Argentina, and Intematicmal Hwnan Riglts

Thomas C. \Tright

ROWMAN & I,,ITTI,EFIII,D PUBI-,ISHERS, INC. Lanhan e Boulder . New York . Toronto . Plymouth, UK


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