Bignone, Reynaldo (1928–)

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Bignone, Reynaldo (1928–)

Argentine military man Reynaldo Bignone was de facto president between July 1982 and December 1983. Born January 21, 1928, he began his military career in 1947 at the Advanced School of Warfare. In 1975 he was named secretary of the Army High Command. After participating in the 1976 military coup, he directed large-scale illegal operations that were carried out by military "task forces." In 1980 he was named head of the High Command of Military Institutes. He was a political ally of de facto President Jorge Rafael Videla (1976–1981), and after Videla's resignation asked for voluntary retirement.

In 1982, after Argentina's defeat in the Malvinas War (or Falklands War), with the economy in deep crisis and the de facto regime disarticulated, the army named Bignone president of the republic and expected him to lead the process of democratic transition. During his short administration, he legalized the activity of political parties and called for elections but followed an irresponsible monetary and economic policy. Bignone passed the National Pacification Law, giving self-amnesty to members of the military for crimes committed during the dictatorship (a law revoked at the beginning of the democratic government of Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín).

In 1985 he was sent to prison for his role in ordering the torture and disappearance of political opponents. He was freed in 1986 but then sentenced to jail again in 1998 for ordering the kidnapping of the babies of political opponents who gave birth in jail during the military government. He regained his freedom in 2005.

See alsoAlfonsín, Raúl Ricardo; Argentina: The Twentieth Century; Dirty War; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Videla, Jorge Rafael.


Acuña, Carlos, ed. La nueva matriz política argentina. Buenos Aires: AR Nueva Visión, 1995.

Novaro, Marcos, and Vicente Palermo. La dictadura militar, 1976–1983. Buenos Aires: Paidós, 2003.

                                         Vicente Palermo