The Night of the Pencils is remembered as one of the saddest events in Argentine history. 46 years ago, several students were kidnapped and tortured in the context of the last military dictatorship.
For this reason, in memory of this tragic event, since 1998, when National Law No. 10,671 was promulgated, every September 16 is commemorated as the Day of the Rights of Secondary Students. In addition, in 2006, the National Youth Day was instituted through a bill that claimed “the militancy and commitment of those young people who were disappeared in the last Argentine military dictatorship.”
September 16, 1976.
46 years after La Noche de los Lápices, we remember the students who disappeared in the last civic-military dictatorship.
We reaffirm our commitment to the #MemoryTruthAndJustice and we continue defending democracy, for a better Argentina. pic.twitter.com/ekYPDH67QK
– Pink House (@CasaRosada) September 16, 2022
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE NIGHT OF THE PENCILS?
In March 1976, a civic-military dictatorship was installed in our country, calling itself the National Reorganization Process, which remained in power until 1983 and was characterized by systematic state terrorism.
On September 16, 1976, and the following days, a group of young militants were kidnapped in the city of La Plata by members of the Police of the Province of Buenos Aires. The arrest warrants were issued by the 601 Battalion of the Army Intelligence Service.
That night, military forces kidnapped Claudio de Ancha, María Clara Ciocchini, María Claudia Falcone, Francisco López Muntaner, Horacio Ungaro, and a friend who was staying at their house, Daniel Alberto Racero, from their homes. The next day, Emilce Moler and Patricia Miranda were kidnapped. Four days later, Pablo Díaz was arrested. Gustavo Calotti, linked to the other detainees, disappeared a week earlier.
Most of the disappeared youths were politically active in the Union of Secondary Students and had participated, during the spring of 1975, in the mobilizations and demands for obtaining the Secondary Student Ticket.
After the testimony of the survivor Pablo Díaz, in the trial of the boards in 1985, the hypothesis that the kidnapping had a direct relationship with the claim was popularized. Díaz affirmed that the student ticket, obtained in 1975, was suspended in August 1976 and that the intention of the military dictatorship was to capture those who had been leaders of that demand.
WHERE ARE THE DISAPPEARED?
To this day, 6 young people remain missing. The only survivors are Emilce Moler, Gustavo Díaz and Gustavo Calotti. When the kidnapping happened they were between 16 and 18 years old. It is known that the students passed through various clandestine detention centers, but there are still no clues as to the whereabouts of their bodies.
The story made into a movie
The film The Night of the Pencils by Héctor Olivera, 1986, tells the story from the beginning of the student protests of 1975 to the year 1980.
In March 2003 the film was included in a list of films that were screened at the 1st International Human Rights Festival, held in Switzerland.