Montoneros - From 1970 To Videla's Military Junta

From 1970 To Videla's Military Junta

The Montoneros formed around 1970 out of a confluence of Roman Catholic groups, university students in social sciences, and leftist supporters of Juan Domingo Perón. "The Montoneros took their name from the pejorative term used by the 19th-century elite to discredit the mounted followers of the popular caudillos." Montonera referred to the raiding parties composed by aborigines American people in Argentina. Hence the spear in the Montoneros seal 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".

The Montoneros initiated a campaign to destabilize by force what they deemed a pro-American regime. In 1970, claiming to act in retribution for the June 1956 León Suárez massacre and Juan José Valle's execution, the Montoneros kidnapped and executed former dictator Pedro Eugenio Aramburu (1955–1958) and others who they said were his collaborators, such as unionists, politicians, diplomats, and businessmen. In November 1971, in solidarity with militant car workers, Montoneros took over a car manufacturing plant in Caseros, sprayed 38 Fiats with petrol, and then set them afire.

In July 1972, they laid explosives in the Plaza de San Isidro in Buenos Aires that injured three policemen, blinded one fireman, and killed another. In April 1973, Colonel Héctor Irabarren, head of the 3rd Army Corps' Intelligence Service, was killed when resisting a kidnap attempt by the Mariano Pojadas and Susana Lesgart Platoons of the Montoneros.

On 17 October 1972, a powerful bomb detonated inside the Sheraton Hotel in Buenos Aires, to the horror of nearly 700 guests, killing a Canadian woman and gravely wounding her husband. The Montoneros and the Revolutionary Armed Forces later claimed responsibility for the attack. The Montoneros financed their operations by kidnapping and collecting ransoms for businessmen or executives, making as much as $14.2 million in a single abduction of an Exxon executive in 1974.

On 11 March 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 favored 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 20 June 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 the latter was a former federal police corporal, José López Rega, who was the founder of the Alianza Anticomunista Argentina ("Triple A") death squads, which had organized the massacre.

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