Montoneros (Spanish: Movimiento Peronista Montonero) was an Argentine Peronist urban guerrilla group, active during the 1960s and 1970s. Its motto was Venceremos ("We shall overcome"). After Juan Perón's return from 18 years of exile and the June 20, 1973 Ezeiza massacre, which marked the definitive split between left and right-wing Peronism, the Montoneros were expelled from the Justicialist party in May 1974 by Perón. The group was almost completely dismantled in 1977, during Videla's dictatorship. Montoneros means in Spanish "those who pile up".
From 1970 to Videla's military junta
The group formed around 1970 from the confluence of Roman Catholic groups with Social Studies students' groups and with fascist supporters of Juan Domingo Perón. Their best-known leader was Mario Firmenich. Montoneros hoped that Perón would return from exile in Francoist Spain and transform Argentina into a "Socialist Fatherland".
Montoneros initiated a campaign to destabilize by force what they deemed a pro-American regime. Claiming retaliation against the June 1956 León Suárez massacre and Juan José Valle's execution, the Montoneros kidnapped and executed in 1970 former dictator Pedro Eugenio Aramburu (1955–1958) and other citizens who they said collaborated with him, such as unionists, politicians, diplomats, and businessmen. In November 1971, in solidarity with militant car workers, Montoneros guerrillas took over a car manufacturing plant in Caseros, sprayed 38 Fiats with petrol, and then set them alight.
In July 1972, they laid booby-trapped explosives in the Plaza De San Isidro in Buenos Aires that injured three policemen, blinded a fireman and killed another. In April 1973, Colonel Héctor Irabarren, head of the 3rd Army Corps' Intelligence Service, was gunned down when resisting a kidnap attempt by the Mariano Pojadas and Susana Lesgart units of the Montoneros. They financed their operations by kidnapping and collecting ransom for businessmen or executives, making as much as $14.2 million in a single abduction for an Exxon executive in 1974.
On March 11, 1973, Argentina held general elections for the first time in ten years. Perón loyalist Héctor Cámpora became president, before resigning in July to allow Perón to win the new elections held in October. However, a feud developed between right-wing Peronists and the Montoneros. The right wing of the Peronist party, the unions, and the Radical Party led by Ricardo Balbín, favoured a social pact between trade unions and employers rather than a violent socialist revolution. Right-wingers and Montoneros clashed at Perón's homecoming ceremony during the June 20, 1973 Ezeiza massacre, leaving 13 dead and more than 300 wounded. Perón supported the unions, the radicals led by Ricardo Balbín and the right-wing Peronists, among whom José López Rega, founder of the Alianza Anticomunista Argentina ("Triple A") death squads, which had organized the massacre, along with the Peronist right-wing.
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