Argentina commemorates the 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup

World Today

Barack Obama, Mauricio Macri, President Barack Obama watches as Argentine President Mauricio Macri tosses roses into the river during their visit to Parque de la Memoria (Remembrance Park) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, March 24, 2016. Obama visited the memorial to victims of the country’s murderous US-backed dictatorship who were killed or went missing from 1976-1983. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

On Thursday, Argentina commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup which brought to power a brutal military dictatorship that left around 30,000 people killed.  U.S. President Barack Obama, on his second day in the country, visited a memorial site to honor those who died, which stirred more debate and controversy. 

CCTV’s Joel Richards reports from Buenos Aires.

Argentina commemorates the 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup

On Thursday, Argentina commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup which brought to power a brutal military dictatorship that left around 30,000 people killed.  U.S. President Barack Obama, on his second day in the country, visited a memorial site to honor those who died, which stirred more debate and controversy. CCTV's Joel Richards reports from Buenos Aires.

Among the tens of thousands of victims of Argentina’s military dictatorship, in the archives at the Memory Park, are the names of at least five United States citizens.

They include the journalist Toni Agatina Motta and the musician Billy Lee Hunt. Chris Anna Olson, born in California, was five months pregnant when she was killed.

The links between the United States and Argentina during this period have come under scrutiny during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit. On the day of the 40th anniversary, he visited this memorial park to pay tribute and say, “Democracies have to have the courage to acknowledge when we don’t live up to the ideals that we stand for.”

Obama said, “There has been controversy about the policies of the United States earlier in those dark days, and the United States want to reflect on what happened here, and has to examine its own policies as well, its own past.”

Activists labelled Obama’s decision to visit Argentina on this date a “provocation” despite the president’s announcement to declassify more sensitive documents from the period. The U.S. government gave tacit support to the military in 1976, knowing human rights abuses were being committed.

Despite policy changes under President Jimmy Carter, the abuses continued, mostly under the junta’s first president, Jorge Videla, seen with Carter. Videla died in prison in 2013, serving multiple sentences for crimes against humanity.

This period is often referred to as the Dirty War. 

Hundreds of thousands of Argentine’s took to the streets for this anniversary. More than 600 former military officers have been convicted of crimes committed during the 1976-1983 dictatorship.

But after 40 years, human rights organizations are still demanding justice and the truth about what happened.


Counselor Eric Farnsworth on US-Argentina relationships

CCTV America’s Mike Walter interviewed Eric Farnsworth, the Vice President of the Council of the Americas about the relationship between the U.S. and Argentina.

Counselor Eric Farnsworth on US-Argentina relationships

CCTV America's Mike Walter interviewed Eric Farnsworth, the Vice President of the Council of the Americas about the relationship between the U.S. and Argentina.