1987 Carapintada mutiny

1987 Carapintada mutiny
Part of the Dirty War
DateApril, 1987
Result Government victory
Argentina Argentine Army Argentina Carapintadas
Commanders and leaders
Argentina Raúl Alfonsín Argentina Aldo Rico

The 1987 Carapintada mutiny took place in Argentina, during the presidency of Raúl Alfonsín.


The Dirty War took place in Argentina during the 1970s and the early 1980s. Left-wing guerrillas, such as Montoneros and ERP, sought to establish a socialist dictatorship, as in Cuba. The military, first during the civilian governments of Juan Perón and Isabel Martínez de Perón, and then during the National Reorganization Process military dictatorship, sought to prevent that. The military defeated the guerrillas, but committed human rights violations during the conflict. New elections were held in 1983, and Raúl Alfonsín became the new president.[1]

The National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons prepared the "Nunca más" report (Spanish: Never again), detailing 8,961 cases of forced disappearances. The Trial of the Juntas sentenced the heads of the military dictatorship, and the full stop law caused an increased number of charges against the military.[2]

The mutiny

Raúl Alfonsín announces the end of the mutiny.

The Major Ernesto Barreiro was indicted, but refused to appear in the court. He started a mutiny in Córdoba in April 14, rallying troops to support him. Three days later, Lieutenant Colonel Aldo Rico started another mutiny in Campo de Mayo, Buenos Aires, supporting Barreiro. They were called "Carapintadas" (Spanish: Painted faces) because they practiced military camouflage.[3] They asked for new authorities in the armed forces, and an end to the dirty war related trials.[2]

The loyal military units surrounded the rebels, but refused to attack them. The population made demonstrations in support of Alfonsín, and the CGT union called on a general strike on his behalf until the crisis was resolved. Other unions, political parties, industrial sectors and the Church manifested their support for Alfonsín as well.[4]

Alfonsín personally led the negotiations with the rebels. The mutiny was stopped, and Alfonsín announced it in the balcony of the Casa Rosada, to the people gathered there. In the following weeks he made changes to the command of the armed forces, and sent the Law of Due Obedience bill to the Congress. This law, complementing the full stop law, prevented hundreds of prosecutions.[5] The minister Horacio Jaunarena clarified that the law was a project previous to the mutiny, and that the new authorities in the armed forces were not the ones requested by Rico.[6]


  1. Lewis, pp. 134–146
  2. 1 2 Lewis, P. 154
  3. Hedges, p. 248
  4. Lewis, pp. 154–155
  5. Lewis, p. 155
  6. Silvana Boschi (April 23, 2011). "Carapintadas en Semana Santa: "No hubo negociación ni se nombró a ninguno de los generales que quería Rico"" [Carapintadas in easter eve: "there was no negotiation, nor generals suggested by Rico"] (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved October 7, 2015.


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