The 24th of March, 2006 Argentina's President, Nestor Kirchner, unveiled a plaque in the centre of Buenos Aires reading the words – “Nunca Mas” (Never Again). The plaque was a symbolic reference to the thirty years since the “Dirty War” - that saw a military dictatorship lead by General Jorge Rafael Videla take power for seven years.
The seizing of power by the military in Argentina was not driven by a temporary “vacuum of power” or social and political instability in Argentina. The seeds for military rule in Argentina were planted in 1943, decades before General Jorge Rafael Videla took power. Since 1943 a combination of internal and external events drove Argentina to a military government that was responsible not only for the end of freedom but the death of over 10,000 Argentinean citizens and the depletion of the Argentinean economy (the external debt reached $35.7 billion by 1981, the year General Videla stepped down from power).
The first seed – Peronismo. In February 1943, Juan Peron came to power. His administration would shape Argentina’s politics – pursuing social policies aimed at empowering the working class, helping establish the CGT a powerful workers union. Perón served as president two more times (in 1951 and 1973). His wife was in power, when power was seized by general General Jorge Rafael Videla and his junta military in 1976. His legacy is important because it defined relationship of a president in Argentina with the military, the Catholic Church, the unions and more importantly the international community (an important element given the policies of the United States towards the region at that time).
The second seed – Truman Doctrine. In 1947, President Harry Truman implemented the Truman Doctrine. The doctrine proclaimed the “willingness of the United States to assist friendly governments resisting not only external aggression but also "armed minorities" in their own midst.” It was an ominous passage, for the United States was announcing the right to intervene in the internal affairs of other nations to help preserve regimes deemed friendly to American interests. This doctrine was captured on Truman’s address to Congress the 12th of March 1947 where he called for the US Congress to approve USD $400 million in aid to be delivered to Greece and Turkey, both under the treat of “communist insurrections”.
The third seed – Operacion Condor. In 1975 the US government, officially launched “Operation Condor” when General Manuel Contreras (an important player in the military dictatorship that took control of Chile in 1973) brought together representatives of the intelligence agencies of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil in Santiago and forged an agreement to set up a joint "information bank" and "task forces" across South America. The purpose of the operation was to aid the establishment of right-wing administrations friendly to the United States across South America – including the support of military groups in countries such as Argentina.
Dark Matter Politics has identified the original document dated the 25th of September 1976 issued by the Department of Defence Intelligence launching Operation Condor (click on Operacion Condor link to download document).
Access to this document was obtained through the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (signed into law on October 2, 1996), which provides access to previously secret and classifieds documents issued internally and externally by the US government.
It is a grave case of Dark Matter Politics when the political future of a nation and its people, is impacted by the decisions of a few. As with Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil the foreign policy of the United States was a major catalyst to the temporary end of democratic rule in Argentina.
Based on the track record of the United States foreign policy during the past thirty years in South America and the rest of the world, a plaque should be unveiled in Washington reading - “Una Vez Mas” (Once Again).