Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture

Dirty War

Dirty War

Dirty war (guerra sucia) is the term used in Argentina by supporters of the last military dictatorship to characterize the clandestine terrorist repression carried out by the state between 1976 and 1983. They claim that an unconventional war was waged during those years between two equally matched, armed organizations, and that the military government may have committed occasional "excesses" during that time.

In fact, what occurred was a campaign of clandestine, state-sponsored terrorism. Its nature and scope first came to light in 1982, when the military regime began to fall apart. In 1985 the National Commission for the Disappeared (ComisiĆ³n Nacional para la DesapariciĆ³n de las Personas, or CONADEP), created under the democratic government, carried out an in-depth investigation of what had taken place since 1976. …