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Aldo Rico and the Carapintadas

The Carapintadas (English: Painted Faces) were a group of mutineers in the Argentine Army, who took part in uprisings during the presidencies of Raúl Alfonsín and Carlos Menem in Argentina.

In December 1986, the Ley de Punto Final (Full Stop Law) was introduced. This law set a 60-day deadline for the victims of the country's Dirty War to file complaints against members of the military and police suspected of human rights abuses.

On April 15, 1987, military personnel headed by Lieutenant Colonel Aldo Rico staged a series of barrack uprisings demanding that the trials of those not exempted under the law be aborted. The mutineers were all seized, but only two arrested.

The Carapintadas revolted again under Rico's command in January 1988 in Monte Caseros. They surrendered a few days later and 300 of the mutineers were arrested.

Another uprising took place in on December of that year, when members of the Albatros special unit, led by Mohamed Alí Seineldín, took control of the military barracks in Villa Martelli. They were later followed by around 1,000 troops of the three armed forces. The mutineers surrendered days later, but only Seineldín and Major Hugo Abete were arrested. Several of the mutineers' demands were conceded by the government.

As was reported in the Buenos Aires Herald at the time, and in The Journal of Commerce and other US publications, both Rico and Sineldin spent time in Central America, where they trained Argentine cadres and other troops involved in supporting the US anti-leftist mission in the region. Both men have more than tangential connection to the organized torture and human rights violations that were carried out by the Argentine military during the nation's Dirty War.

On October 1989, president elect Carlos Menem signed a pardon for a number of detained military men; including 39 held by events during the military dictatorship, and 164 Carapintadas. In spite of this, on December 3, 1990 Seineldin again staged an uprising, which ended with several deaths and 300 arrested. A few days later, Menem signed the pardon for all the most important people convicted for misdeeds during the Dirty War.

Leaders of the Carapintadas later entered politics. Aldo Rico formed MODIN and ran for president in 1995, while Gustavo Obeid formed the Peoples Reconstruction Party. Both parties have a right-wing nationalist orientation.

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