The Full Wiki

Montoneros: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Official logo of Montoneros

'Montoneros (Spanish: Movimiento Peronista Montonero) was an Argentine Peronist urban guerrilla group, active during the 1960s and 1970s. Its motto was venceremos ("we shall overcome"). After Juan Perón's return from 18 years of exile and the June 20, 1973 Ezeiza massacre, which marked the definitive split between left and right-wing Peronism, the Montoneros were expelled from the Justicialist party in May 1974 by Perón. The group was almost completely dismantled in 1977, during Videla's dictatorship. Montoneros means in Spanish "those who pile up".

Contents

From 1970 to Videla's military junta

The group formed around 1970 from the confluence of Roman Catholic groups with Social Studies students' groups and with fascist supporters of Juan Domingo Perón. Their best-known leader was Mario Firmenich. Montoneros hoped that Perón would return from exile in Francoist Spain and transform Argentina into a "Socialist Fatherland".

Montoneros initiated a campaign to destabilize by force what they deemed a pro-American regime. Claiming retaliation against the June 1956 León Suárez massacre and Juan José Valle's execution, the Montoneros kidnapped and executed in 1970 former dictator Pedro Eugenio Aramburu (1955–1958) and other citizens who they said collaborated with him, such as unionists, politicians, diplomats, and businessmen. In November 1971, in solidarity with militant car workers, Montoneros guerrillas took over a car manufacturing plant in Caseros, sprayed 38 Fiats with petrol, and then set them alight.[1]

In July 1972, they laid booby-trapped explosives in the Plaza De San Isidro in Buenos Aires that injured three policemen, blinded a fireman and killed another.[2] In April 1973, Colonel Hector Irabarren, head of the 3rd Army Corps' Intelligence Service, was gunned down when resisiting a kidnap attempt by the Mariano Pojadas and Susana Lesgart units of the Montoneros.[3] They financed their operations by kidnapping and collecting ransom for businessmen or executives, making as much as $14.2 million in a single abduction for an Exxon executive in 1974.

On March 11, 1973, Argentina held general elections for the first time in ten years. Perón loyalist Héctor Cámpora became president, before resigning in July to allow Perón to win the new elections held in October. However, a feud developed between right-wing Peronists and the Montoneros. The right wing of the Peronist party, the unions, and the Radical Party led by Ricardo Balbín, favoured a social pact between trade unions and employers rather than a violent socialist revolution. Right-wingers and Montoneros clashed at Perón's homecoming ceremony during the June 20, 1973 Ezeiza massacre, leaving 13 dead and more than 300 wounded. Perón supported the unions, the radicals led by Ricardo Balbín and the right-wing Peronists, among whom José López Rega, founder of the Alianza Anticomunista Argentina ("Triple A") death squad, which had organized the massacre, along with the Peronist right-wing.

In May 1974, the Montoneros were expelled from the Justicialist movement by Perón. However, the Montoneros waited until after the death of Perón in July 1974 to react, with the exception of the assassination of José Ignacio Rucci, general secretary of the CGT (General Confederation of Labour) on September 25, 1973, and some other military actions.

The Montoneros claimed to have what they called the "social revolutionary vision of authentic Peronism" and started guerrilla operations against the government. In the government the more radically right-wing factions quickly took control; Isabel Perón, President since Juan Perón's death, was essentially a figurehead under the influence of former federal police corporal José López Rega.

On July 15, 1974, Montoneros assassinated Arturo Mor Roig, a former foreign minister. In September, in order to finance their operations, they kidnapped two members of the Bunge and Born business family. They demanded and received as ransom $60 million in cash and $1.2 million worth of food and clothing to be given to the poor. This ransom is the highest ever paid according to the Guinness Book of Records.

The Triple A under López Rega's auspices began hunting down, kidnapping, and killing the Montoneros and members of the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (ERP) as well as other leftist militant groups, or anyone in general considered a leftist subversive, be it deputies or lawyers.

The Montoneros and the ERP went on to attack business and political figures throughout Argentina as well as raid military bases for weapons and explosives. The Montoneros killed executives from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. On 16 September 1974 about 40 Montoneros bombs exploded throughout Argentina[4] directed against foreign companies and ceremonies commemorating the military revolt which ended Juan Peron's first term as president. Targets included three Ford showrooms; Peugeot and IKA-Renault showrooms; Goodyear and Firestone tire distributors, Riker and Eli pharmaceutical laboratories, Union Carbide Battery Company, Bank of Boston and Chase Manhattan Bank branches, Xerox Corporation; and Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola bottling companies. Discouragement of foreign investement in Argentina came in the form of blowing up executive houses. For example, in 1975 the homes of five executives of Lazar Laboratories were attacked with bombs in the suburb of La Plata in Buenos Aires.[5] On 26 February 1975, the Montoneros kidnapped and killed John Patrick Egan, the US consul in Cordoba.

The Montoneros' leadership was keen to learn from the Compania del Monte Ramón Rosa Jimenez operating in the province of Tucumán and in 1975 sent "observers" to spend a few months with the ERP platoons[6] operating against against the 5th Infantry Brigade, then consisting of the 19th, 20th and 29th Mountain Infantry Regiments.[7] Later on 28 August 1975 a culvert bomb was planted at the Tucumán air base airstrip by Montoneros, as a support action to their comrades the ERP. The blast destroyed an Air Force C-130 transport carrying 116 anti-guerrilla Gendarmerie commandos heading for home leave, killing five and wounding forty, one of whom subsequently died.[8] On 5 October 1975 the 5th Brigade suffered another blow at the hands of Montoneros, when perhaps several hundred[9] Montoneros militants carried out their most elaborate operation ever, which begun with the hijacking of a civilian airliner, bounded to Corrientes from Buenos Aires. The guerrillas redirected the plane towards Formosa province, where they took over the provincial airport. Along with a party which provided local support, they broke into the 29th Infantry Regiment's barracks, firing automatic weapons and throwing hand grenades. They met a fierce resistance from a group of conscripts and NCOs who reacted after the initial surprise. In the aftermath, 12 soldiers and 2 policemen were killed and several injured; Montoneros lost 16 men.[10] Once the operation was over, Montoneros made good their escape by air towards a remote area in Santa Fe province. The aircraft, a Boeing 737, eventually landed on a crop field not far from the city of Rafaela. The sophistication of the operation, and the hideouts they used, suggest that several hundred guerrillas and supporters were involved. During February 1976 the Montoneros sent reinforcements to the hard-pressed Compania del Monte Ramón Rosa Jimenez in the form of a company of their elite "Jungle Troops" and the ERP backed them up with a company of their own guerrillas from Cordoba.[11]

The Montoneros were inspired by the British and Italian wartime commando raids on warships, and on 1 November 1974 the Montoneros successfully blew up General Commissioner Alberto Villar, the chief of the Argentine federal police in his yacht.[12] On 24 August 1975 their frogmen attached explosives to an Argentine destroyer, the ARA Santisima Trinidad , as it lay in dry dock at Rio Santiago. The explosion caused considerable damage to the ship's computer and electronic equipment. On 14 December 1975, using the same techniques, Montoneros frogmen placed explosives on the naval yacht Itati in an attempt to kill the Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine Navy, Admiral Emilio Massera. While Massera was not injured, the yacht was badly damaged by the explosives.[13]

While the ERP fought the army in Tucuman the Montoneros were active in Buenos Aires. Montoneros leadership dismissed the tactics of the ERP in Tucuman as "old fashioned" and "inappropiated".[14] On 26 October 1975 five policemen were killed in Buenos Aires when their patrol cars were ambushed near the San Isidro Cathedral.[15] On February 2, 1976 about 50 urban guerrillas attacked the Juan Vecetich Police Academy in the suburb of La Plata but were repelled when the police cadets fought back and reinforcements arrived.[16] In the week preceding the military coup, the Montoneros killed 13 policemen as part of its Third National Military Campaign.[17] On July 2, 1976 they detonated a powerful bomb in the Argentine Federal Police in Buenos Aires, killing 24 and injuring 66 people.[18] On 12 September 1976 a car bomb destroyed a bus filled with police officers in Rosario, killing 11 policemen and injuring at least 50.[19] On 17 October a bomb blast in an Army Club Cinema in downtown Buenos Aires killed 11 and wounded about 50 officers and their families. On 9 November, eleven police officers were wounded when a bomb exploded at the police headquarters of La Plata during a meeting of the Buenos Aires police chiefs.[20] On November 16, about 40 guerrillas stormed the police station at Arana, 30 miles south of Buenos Aires. Five policemen and one army captain were wounded in the battle.[21] On 15 December, another bomb planted in a Defense Ministry movie hall killed at least 14 and injured 30[18] officers and their families. The worst year of the insurgency, 1976, saw 156 Argentine servicemen and police killed.[22]

The Montoneros (at their strongest, just a few thousand) were no match against the highly organized and ruthless branches of the military, who under the cloak of paramilitary forces (operating out of uniform and without any accountability) didn't hesitate to kidnap and kill even remote acquaintances of militants, or force captured members, through torture, to become informers and turn in their comrades-in-arms.

By the time Videla's military Junta took power in March of '76, approximately ten thousand political prisoners were being held in various prisons around Argentina, some with political connections and some just guilty by association. These political prisoners were held throughout the years of the dictatorship, many of them never receiving trials, in prisons such as La Plata, Devoto, Rawson, and Caseros.

Under Jorge Videla's junta

Alternate logo of Montoneros

On 24 March 1976 Isabel Perón was ousted and a military junta installed, led by General Jorge Rafael Videla. The Junta reinforced counter-revolutionary operations, leading to the so-called "Dirty War". According to different sources, 12.261 to 30.000 people,[23] are estimated to have disappeared and died during the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. The Junta relied on mass arrests, torture, and executions without trial to stifle any political opposition. The victims' bodies that were not helicoptered out into the Atlantic Ocean were left on the streets as an example to militants still at large. The Montoneros admit losing 5.000 guerrillas killed in their struggle[24].

The Montoneros were effectively finished by 1977, although their Special Forces did fight on until 1981. The Montoneros tried to disrupt the World Cup Soccer Tournament being hosted in Argentina in 1978 by launching a number of bomb attacks.[25] In late 1979, the Montoneros launched a "strategic counteroffensive" in Argentina, and the security forces killed more than one-hundred of the exiled Montoneros, who had been sent back to Argentina[26] after receiving special forces training in terrorist camps in the Middle East.[27] During the 1980s a captured Sandinista commando revealed that Montoneros Special Forces were training Sandinista frogmen and conducting gun runs across the Gulf of Fonseca to the Sandinista guerrillas.[28] During the Falklands War against Great Britain, the Argentine military conceived the failed Operation Algeciras, a covert plan to support and convince some Montoneros (appealing to their patriotism) to sabotage British military facilities in Gibraltar. Argentina's defeat led to the fall of the Junta, and Raúl Alfonsín became president in December 1983, thus initiating the democratic transition.

Members

References

  1. ^ The Argentina Reader: History, Culture, Politics, Gabriela Nouzeilles & Graciela R. Montaldo, p. 382, Duke University Press, 2002
  2. ^ Ibid,p.43
  3. ^ Ibid,p.43
  4. ^ International Terrorism: A Chronology (1974 Supplement) By Brian M. Jenkins and Janera A. Johnson
  5. ^ Web site of the US Central Intelligence Agency
  6. ^ Terrorism in Context, Martha Crenshaw, p. 230, Penn State Press, 1995
  7. ^ Adrian J. English, Armed Forces of Latin America: Their Histories, Development, Present Strength, and Military Potential, Janes Information Group, 1984, p. 33.
  8. ^ Burzaco, pp. 108-109
  9. ^ Terrorism in Context, Martha Crenshaw, p. 236, Penn State Press, 1995
  10. ^ Montoneros ataca a un Regimiento del Ejército Argentino.
  11. ^ Guerrillas and Generals: The Dirty War in Argentina, Paul H. Lewis, page 126, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002
  12. ^ Lloyd's MIU Handbook of Maritime Security, Julio Espin-Digon, Rupert Herbert-Burns, Sam Bateman & Peter Lehr, p. 63, CRC Press, 2008
  13. ^ From Vietnam to El Salvador: The Saga of the FMLN Sappers and other Guerrilla Special Forces in Latin America, David E. Spencer, p. 134, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996
  14. ^ Gillespie, page 195
  15. ^ Unclassified Telgram from US Embassy Buenos Aires
  16. ^ The Bulletin, February 2, 1976
  17. ^ Guerrillas and Generals: the Dirty War in Argentina, Paul H. Lewis, page 125, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002
  18. ^ a b Encyclopedia of modern worldwide extremists and extremist groups, Stephen E. Atkins, p. 202, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004
  19. ^ Una "Travesura" de los "Jovenes Idealistas"
  20. ^ Una travesura de los Jovenes idealistas
  21. ^ The Victoria Advocate, November 17, 1976
  22. ^ State Terrorism in Latin America: Chile, Argentina, and International Human Rights, Thomas C. Wright, p. 102, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007
  23. ^ The lower estimate is from the CONADEP (Comisión Nacional sobre la Desaparición de Personas, Nacional Comission about People Disappearing) in their official report Nunca Más(Never Again). Estimates by human rights organizations estimate up to 30.000
  24. ^ El Mundo, 4 de mayo 1995
  25. ^ Authoritarian regimes in Latin America: Dictators, Despots, and Tyrants, Paul H. Lewis, p. 221, Rowman & Littlefield, 2005
  26. ^ When States Kill: Latin America, the U.S., and Technologies of Terror, Cecilia Menjívar & Néstor Rodriguez, p. 317, University of Texas Press, 2005
  27. ^ Lo que sabía el 601
  28. ^ From Vietnam to El Salvador: The Saga of the FMLN Sappers and other Guerrilla Special Forces in Latin America, David E. Spencer, p. 134, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996

Books

  • Guerrillas and Generals: The Dirty War in Argentina, by Paul H. Lewis (2001).
  • Argentina's Lost Patrol: Armed Struggle 1969-1979 by María José Moyano (1995).
  • Argentina, 1943-1987: The National Revolution and Resistance, by Donald C. Hodges (1988).
  • Soldiers of Perón: Argentina's Montoneros, by Richard Gillespie (1982).
  • Guerrilla warfare in Argentina and Colombia, 1974-1982, by Bynum E. Weathers, Jr. (1982).
  • Guerrilla politics in Argentina, by Kenneth F. Johnson (1975).

See also

Advertisements

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message