Onganía, Juan Carlos (1914–1995)

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Onganía, Juan Carlos (1914–1995)

Juan Carlos Onganía Carballo (March 17, 1914–June 8, 1995) was a member of the Argentine military who served as military president of the nation from 1966 to 1970. He was a general in the cavalry and emerged as a military leader in the serious armed conflicts of 1962 between two Army factions known as the Blues—the "legalistic" faction, which thought to reintegrate the banned peronist sectors to a military supervised constitutional regime, and the Reds—the antiperonist faction. Onganía, a blue supporter, was promoted to commander in chief of the army following their victory in 1963, but was retired in 1965 by President Arturo Illia.

In June 1966, invoking the doctrine of national security, Onganía led the coup d'état that installed an authoritarian regime that was ideologically conservative and pro-development, with extensive ambitions to lead a so-called Argentine revolution. The press was censored, national universities were taken over, professors and students were severely repressed (notably during the 1966 incident known as the Night of the Long Batons, when students at the University of Buenos Aires were beaten and arrested by police), and academicians and intellectuals were forced into exile.

The government's relations with the powerful unions and with Peronism began to deteriorate in 1968 when the General Confederation of Labor (Confederación General de Trabajadores; CGT) split in two: the Argentinean CGT and the Azopardo CGT. The Argentinean CGT took a combative position. In 1969 discontent with the government among important social sectors came to a head with worker and student protests in Corrientes and Santa Fe and later with the uprising in the city of Córdoba known as El Cordobazo. Although they were violently repressed, the disturbances weakened Onganía's ability to remain in power. The execution of former dictator Pedro Eugenio Aramburu by the Montoneros (Peronist guerrillas) convinced military leaders to remove Onganía. In June 1970, General Roberto Marcelo Levingston assumed the presidency and Onganía retired from military activity.

See alsoAramburu, Pedro Eugenio; Argentina: The Twentieth Century; Argentina, Organizations: General Labor Confederation (CGT); Cordobazo, El; Levingston, Roberto Marcelo; Montoneros; Perón, Juan Domingo.


O'Donnell, Guillermo. El estado burocrático autoritario. Buenos Aires: Editorial de Belgrano, 1982.

Riz, Liliana de. La Política en suspenso, 1966–1976. Buenos Aires: Paidós, 2000.

                                            Vicente Palermo