National Reorganization Process
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The National Reorganization Process (Spanish: Proceso de Reorganización Nacional, often simply el Proceso, "the Process") was the name used by its leaders for the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. In Argentina it is often known simply as la última junta militar (the last military junta) or la última dictadura (the last dictatorship), because several of them existed throughout its history.
The Argentine military seized political power during the March 1976 coup, amid violent factional conflicts between supporters of recently deceased President Juan Domingo Perón. The junta continued the Dirty War. After losing the Falklands War to the United Kingdom in 1982, mounting public opposition to the junta led to its relinquishing power in 1983.
The military has always been highly influential in Argentine politics, and Argentine history is laced with frequent and prolonged intervals of military rule. The popular Argentine leader, Juan Domingo Perón, three times President of Argentina, was himself a colonel in the army who initially came to hold political power in the aftermath of a 1943 military coup. He advocated a new policy dubbed Justicialism, a nationalist policy which he claimed was a "third way," an alternative to both capitalism and communism. After being re-elected to the office of president by popular vote, Perón was deposed and exiled by the Revolución Libertadora in 1955.
After a series of weak governments, and a seven-year military government, Perón returned to Argentina, following 20 years exile in Franquist Spain, amidst escalating political unrest, divisions in the Peronist movement and outbreaks of politically motivated violence. His return was marked by the June 20, 1973 Ezeiza massacre during which the right-wing Peronist movement became predominant.
Peron was democratically elected President in 1973, but died in July 1974. His vice-president was his third wife, Isabel Martínez de Perón, but she proved to be a weak, ineffectual ruler. A number of revolutionary organizations – chief among them Montoneros, a group of far-left Peronists – escalated their wave of political violence (including kidnappings and bombings) against the campaign of harsh repressive and retaliative measures enforced by the military, the police, and right-wing paramilitary groups such as the Triple A death squad, founded by José López Rega, Perón's Minister of Social Welfare and a member of the P2 masonic lodge. The situation escalated until Martínez was overthrown and replaced by a military junta led by Lieutenant General Jorge Rafael Videla, on 24 March 1976.
The Dirty War 
The expression "national reorganization process" was used to imply orderliness and control of the critical sociopolitical situation of Argentina at the time. Forced disappearances on ideological grounds and illegal arrests, often based on unsubstantiated accusations, became common. Armed soldiers arrived at randomly selected people's houses to rob them. The police would pull over cars for no reason, beat the occupants senseless, and leave without explanation, as part of a program to intimidate the populace and decrease its willingness to protest against the government. Government spies were dispatched to infiltrate the universities; students who openly professed even slightly leftist political opinions would simply disappear. Official investigations undertaken after the end of the Dirty War by the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons documented 8.961 desaparecidos (victims of forced disappearance) and other human rights violations, noting nevertheless that the correct number is bound to be higher, since many cases were not reported and the records were destroyed by the military months before the return of democracy. Among the "disappeared" were pregnant mothers whose babies, once born, were then illegally adopted by military families.
The film The Official Story which won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Film category in 1985, addresses this situation. The Argentine secret service SIDE (Secretaría de Inteligencia del Estado) also cooperated with the DINA in Pinochet's Chile and other South American intelligence agencies in the United States supported endeavours to eradicate left leaning politics on the continent, known as Operation Condor, which is estimated to have caused the deaths of more than 60.000 people. SIDE would also train - for example in the Honduran Lepaterique base - the Nicaraguan Contras which were fighting the Sandinista government there.
The regime shut down the legislative branch and restricted both freedom of the press and freedom of speech, adopting severe media censorship. The 1978 World Cup, which Argentina hosted and won, was used as a means of propaganda and to rally its people under a nationalistic pretense.
Corruption, a failing economy, growing public awareness of the harsh repressive measures taken by the regime, and the military defeat in the Malvinas War, often considered to have been started with the intention to rally the country into another bout of nationalistic fervour, to the United Kingdom in 1982, eroded the public image of the regime. The last de facto president, Reynaldo Bignone, was forced to call for elections by the lack of support within the Army itself and the steadily growing pressure of public opinion. On 30 October 1983 elections were held, and democracy was formally restored on December 10 with the assumption of President Raúl Alfonsín.
Economic policies 
Videla appointed José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz as Minister of Economy, charged with stabilizing it and privatizing state-owned companies, along what would later be known as neoliberal lines. He was opposed by General Ramon Díaz, the Minister of Planning, who favored a corporatist model, with the state retaining control of key industries. Although Díaz resigned, military officers, many of whom looked forward to jobs running state enterprises, blocked Martínez de Hoz's privatization efforts. Meanwhile, the Junta borrowed money abroad for public works and social welfare spending. Martínez de Hoz was forced to rely on high interest rates and an over-valued exchange rate to control inflation, which hurt Argentine industry and exports. The Junta's economic policies also led to a diminishing of living standards, increasing inequalities in a country where, before the military government took office, 9% of the population lived in poverty (fewer than in France or the United States at that time) while the unemployment rate stood at 4.2%.
French support 
French journalist Marie-Monique Robin has found in the archives of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the original document proving that a 1959 agreement between Paris and Buenos Aires installed a ‘permanent French military mission,’ formed of soldiers who had fought in the Algerian War, and which was located in the offices of the chief of staff of the Argentine Army. She showed how Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's government secretly collaborated with Videla's junta in Argentina and with Augusto Pinochet's regime in Chile.
Green deputies Noël Mamère, Martine Billard and Yves Cochet deposed on September 10, 2003 a request for the constitution of a Parliamentary Commission on the "role of France in the support of military regimes in Latin America from 1973 to 1984" before the Foreign Affairs Commission of the National Assembly, presided by Edouard Balladur. Apart from Le Monde, newspapers remained silent about this request. However, deputy Roland Blum, in charge of the Commission, refused to hear Marie-Monique Robin, and published in December 2003 a 12 pages report qualified by Robin as the summum of bad faith. It claimed that no agreement had been signed, despite the agreement found by Robin in the Ministry.
Attitudes of the United States and British governments 
There were attempts by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón to call former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as a witness in the investigations into the disappearances, as well as unsuccessful attempts at arrest warrants in the United Kingdom.
Following a decree of President Alfonsín mandating the initiation of legal accusations and trial against the leaders of the Proceso, they were judged and convicted in 1985 (Juicio a las Juntas), but they were pardoned by President Carlos Menem in 1989, a highly controversial action. Amnesty laws were declared unconstitutional by the supreme court in 2005, allowing the trials against military officers to be resumed.
Adolfo Scilingo, an Argentine naval officer during the junta, was tried for his role in jettisoning the drugged, naked bodies of political dissidents from military aircraft into the Atlantic Ocean during the junta years. He was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 640 years in prison in Spain in 2005. The sentence was later raised to 1080 years.
Cristian Von Wernich, a Catholic priest and former chaplain of the Buenos Aires Province Police, was arrested in 2003 on accusations of torture of political prisoners in illegal detention centers, for which an Argentine court sentenced him to life in prison on October 9, 2007.
In 2002 the Argentine Congress declared the date of March 24 the Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice, in commemoration for the victims of the dictatorship. In 2006, thirty years after the coup d'état that started the Proceso, the Day of Memory was declared a national public holiday. The anniversary of the coup was remembered by massive official events and demonstrations throughout the country.
Presidents of Argentina, 1976–1983 
- Jorge Rafael Videla, March 29, 1976 – March 29, 1981
- Roberto Eduardo Viola, March 29 – December 11, 1981
- Carlos Lacoste, December 11–22, 1981
- Leopoldo Galtieri, December 22, 1981 – June 18, 1982
- Alfredo Oscar Saint Jean, June 18, 1982 – July 1, 1982
- Reynaldo Bignone, July 1, 1982 – December 10, 1983
Military Juntas 
During the Process there were four successive military juntas, each consisting of the heads of the three branches of the Argentine Armed Forces:
|Commander-in-Chief of the Army||Commander-in-Chief of the Navy||Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force|
|First Junta (1976–1978)|
Lieutenant General Jorge Videla
Admiral Emilio Massera
|Second Junta (1978-1981)|
Lieutenant General Roberto Viola
Admiral Armando Lambruschini
|Third Junta (1981–1982)|
Lieutenant General Leopoldo Galtieri
Admiral Jorge Anaya
|Fourth Junta (1982-1983)|
Lieutenant General Cristino Nicolaides
Admiral Rubén Franco
See also 
- History of Argentina
- Politics of Argentina
- Theory of the two demons
- National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP)
- Dirty War
- Operation Condor
||This article uses bare URLs for citations. (March 2013)|
- CONADEP, Nunca Más Report, Chapter II, Section One: Víctimas  (Spanish)
- CONADEP, Nunca Más Report, Chapter II, Section One: Advertencia,  (Spanish)
- The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
- Conclusion of Marie-Monique Robin's Escadrons de la mort, l'école française (French).
- MM. Giscard d'Estaing et Messmer pourraient être entendus sur l'aide aux dictatures sud-américaines, Le Monde, September 25, 2003 (French)
- « Série B. Amérique 1952–1963. Sous-série : Argentine, n° 74. Cotes : 18.6.1. mars 52-août 63 ».
- RAPPORT FAIT AU NOM DE LA COMMISSION DES AFFAIRES ÉTRANGÈRES SUR LA PROPOSITION DE RÉSOLUTION (n° 1060), tendant à la création d'une commission d'enquête sur le rôle de la France dans le soutien aux régimes militaires d'Amérique latine entre 1973 et 1984, PAR M. ROLAND BLUM, French National Assembly (French)
- Argentine : M. de Villepin défend les firmes françaises, Le Monde, February 5, 2003 (French)
- Argentine amnesty laws scrapped, BBC News, June 15, 2005
- The rank of brigadier-general in the Argentine Air Force is equivalent to 3-star or 4-star rank.
-  HIJOS Association. Sons and daughters of the victims from the dictatorship trying to find their roots and history.
- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights report on Argentina
- Horacio Verbitsky, OpenDemocracy.net, 28 July 2005, "Breaking the silence: the Catholic Church in Argentina and the 'dirty war'"
- The Dirty War in Argentina – George Washington University's National Security Archive page on the Dirty War, featuring numerous recently-declassified documents which clearly demonstrate Kissinger's knowledge and complacency in the junta's human rights abuses