In Argentina, 24 March is known as “Truth and Justice Day”. The day is meant to bring remembrance to the victims of the dictatorship that held sway over Argentina from 1976 through 1983. Determined never to allow a dictator to take over the country again, this dictatorship is called “La Ultima Dictadura”, meaning “the last dictatorship”.
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The background of this holiday began when the popular three-time president of Argentina, Juan Domingo Peron, died and left his wife, who was also his vice president, in charge. She was a weak ruler, however, and was soon overthrown by a military coup led by Jorge Rafael Videla.
Videla implemented a series of “reforms” called the National Reorganisation, which was supposed to put an end to recent social chaos in Argentina. But the process was one of illegal arrests, oppression of citizens by the army, and many people simply disappearing. Between nine and thirty thousand people are thought to have disappeared, and freedom of speech was suppressed wherever it conflicted with the ruling regime’s ideology.
Finally, the regime collapsed under huge pressure from the people in 1983. The date 24 March was chosen for the holiday because it is the day in 1976 when “the last dictatorship” began. Attempts to change the date so that it can move to a Friday or Monday and create a long weekend have failed since many insist the date of the coup be remembered so that such abuses of power might never happen again.