Latin America & Caribbean

Argentina finds 1,500 secret military junta files

Some 1,500 secret files, dating back to the years of military rule in Argentina, have been discovered in Buenos Aires.

They were found in an abandoned wing of the Air Force headquarters.

The files contain the transcripts of all meetings held by the military junta, which ruled the country from 1976 to 1983, said Defence Minister Agustin Rossi.

The documents also name famous artists and intellectuals who were blacklisted.

Folk singer Mercedes Sosa, writer Julio Cortazar, tango musician Osvaldo Pugliese and actress Norma Aleandro are among many banned or subjected to censorship for opposing the government.

"They were classified from F1 to F4 according to their [perceived] level of threat [to society]," said Mr Rossi.

It is still unclear whether the files will shed light on thousands of legal cases of opponents of the regime killed or disappeared by the military government, says the BBC's Ignacio de los Reyes in Buenos Aires.

'Chronological order'

In the 1,500 files, were found 280 documents with the official records of meetings of the military junta.

"For the first time we have access to documents covering the whole period of military rule," said Mr Rossi.

"And the material is filed in chronological order and also classified by subject."

The findings were announced at a media conference in Buenos Aires. There was no mention of files concerning the Falklands War, which ultimately precipitated the end of military rule.

Gen Videla died in prison, aged 87, while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity

The Argentine government says the files will be published soon.

The junta came to power in a military coup on 24 March 1976, deposing President Isabel Peron.

Gen Jorge Rafael Videla became the president of the junta and handed over power to Gen Roberto Viola in 1981.

The junta's other two members were Air Force Gen Orlando Ramon Agosti and Admiral Emilio Massera.

Gen Videla died in jail in May, while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

Human rights groups say an estimated 30,000 people were killed during seven years of military rule in Argentina.

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