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Juan Carlos Onganía: Wikis


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Juan Carlos Onganía

In office
June 29, 1966 – June 8, 1970
Preceded by Arturo Umberto Illia
Succeeded by Roberto M. Levingston

Born March 17, 1914(1914-03-17)
Marcos Paz, Buenos Aires
Died June 8, 1995 (aged 81)
Buenos Aires
Nationality Argentine
Political party none
Profession Military

Juan Carlos Onganía Carballo (March 17, 1914 – June 8, 1995) was a military president of Argentina from 29 June 1966 to 8 June 1970. He rose to power as military dictator after toppling, in a coup d’état self-named Revolución Argentina (Argentine Revolution), the democratically elected president Arturo Illia (Radical Civic Union, UCR).


Economic and social policies

While preceding military coups in Argentina were aimed at establishing temporary, transitional juntas, the Revolución Argentina headed by Onganía aimed at establishing a new political and social order, opposed both to liberal democracy and Communism, which gave to the Armed Forces of Argentina a leading, political role in the economic rationalization of the country. The political scientist Guillermo O'Donnell named this type of regime "authoritarian-bureaucratic state" [1], in reference both to the Revolución Argentina, the Brazilian military regime (1964-1985), Augusto Pinochet's regime (starting in 1973) and Juan María Bordaberry's regime in Uruguay.

As military dictator, Onganía suspended political parties and supported a policy of Participacionismo (Participationism, supported by the trade unionist José Alonso and then by the general secretary of the CGT-Azopardo, Augusto Vandor), by which representatives of various interest groups such as industry, labor, and agriculture, would form committees to advise the government. Yet these committees were largely appointed by the dictator himself. Onganía also suspended the right to strike (Law 16,936) and supported a corporatist economic and social policy, enforced particularly in Cordoba by the appointed governor, Carlos Caballero.

Onganía's Minister of Economy, Adálbert Krieger Vasena, decreed a wage freeze (amid 30% inflation) and a 40% devaluation, which adversely impacted the state of the Argentine economy (agriculture in particular), favoring foreign capital. Krieger Vasena suspended collective labour conventions, reformed the Fossil Fuels Law which had established a partial monopoly of the Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF) state enterprise and signed a law facilitating tenants' expulsions in case of non-payment of rent.

Cultural and education policy

The Night of the Long Police Batons, as Ongania's 1966 police action against University of Buenos Aires students and faculty came to be known.

Onganía's rule signified an end to university autonomy, which had been achieved by the University Reform of 1918 [2].

Barely a month into his administration, he was responsible for the so-called La Noche de los Bastones Largos ("The Night of the Long Police Batons"), where university autonomy was violated, in which he ordered police to invade the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires; students and professors were beaten up and arrested. Many were later forced to leave the country, touching off a "brain drain" that saddles Argentine academics, generally, to this day.[3]

Onganía also ordered repression on all forms of "immoralism", proscribing miniskirts, long hair for boys, and all avant-garde artistic movements [2]. This moral campaign favorized the radicalization of middle classes, who were massively present in universities [2].


Eventually, this position was opposed by the other factions in the military, which felt that its influence in government would be diminished. Thus, end of May 1968, General Julio Alsogaray dissented from Onganía, and rumors spread about a possible coup d'état, Algosaray leading the conservative opposition to Onganía. Finally, at the end of the month, Onganía dismissed the leaders of the Armed Forces: Alejandro Lanusse replaced Julio Alsogaray, Pedro Gnavi replaced Benigno Varela, and Jorge Martínez Zuviría replaced Adolfo Alvarez.

Also, Ongania's ruthless government was weakened by a popular uprising of workers and students that took place in the whole of the country, in particular in the interior, in cities such as Córdoba in 1969 (known as "El Cordobazo") or Rosario (the Rosariazo). In May 1970, a Cordobazo bis happened, named el Viborazo [2].

Led by General Alejandro Lanusse, the dominant military faction demanded that Onganía resign. When he refused, he was toppled by a military junta.


  1. ^ Guillermo O'Donnell, El Estado Burocrático Autoritario, (1982)
  2. ^ a b c d Carmen Bernand, « D’une rive à l’autre », Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos, Materiales de seminarios, 2008 (Latin-Americanist Review published by the EHESS), Put on line on 15 June 2008. URL : Accessed on 28 July 2008. (French)
  3. ^ Clarín

External links

Preceded by
Arturo Umberto Illia
President of Argentina
Succeeded by
Roberto M. Levingston


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