In 1973, Juan Domingo Peron became president of Argentina for the third time. When he died a year later, he was succeeded by his vicepresident—his wife, Maria Estela Martinez de Peron. During this period, the Peronist movement was being torn apart in an internal war between its leftist and extreme right factions. Guerrilla activity that had been developing for several years became stronger.

Finally, the army staged a coup in 1976. The military government, presided over by several different generals through the years, lasted until 1983. This period of Argentinian history came to be known as the "Dirty War," due to the government's strong repression of leftists and other populist movements.

During the war, around 30,000 people disappeared at the hands of the army and police. A number of los desaparecidos (the disappeareds) had been involved in guerrilla activities, but many others had simply held different political ideas. Many were plainly innocent, because they were not involved in politics at all.

In her true light ...
May 13, 2002

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