During the last civic-military dictatorship in Argentina, which lasted from 1976 to 1983, over 30,000 people were detained and disappeared. Despite sustained efforts by human rights organizations, family members of the victims and social movements, the truth behind the disappearance of the 30,000, where their bodies are, what happened to them and why, is largely unknown as those responsible for the crimes have maintained a pact of silence and impunity.
The Noche de los Lápices (the Night of the Pencils) refers to the night where ten high school students from La Plata, Argentina were kidnapped from their homes by state forces and brought to a clandestine detention center. Their detention happened on September 16, 1973, just five months after the civic-military dictatorship was installed in Argentina led by the military junta composed of Jorge Rafael Videla an Army General, Emilio Eduardo Massera from the Navy and Orlando Ramón Agosti Commander in Chief of the Air Force.
The majority of the students were activists in La Plata in the Union of Secondary Students and Guevarist Youth and had participated in the campaign to demand the creation of the “Secondary Student Ticket” which allowed high school students to use public transportation for free. Following the coup d’état the students were active in opposing the coup and in resisting the military dictatorship.
The students that were detained that night were: Francisco López Muntaner (Disappeared); María Claudia Falcone (Disappeared); Claudio de Acha (Disappeared); Horacio Ángel Ungaro (Disappeared); Daniel Alberto Racero (Disappeared); María Clara Ciocchini (Disappeared); Pablo Díaz; Patricia Miranda; Gustavo Calotti; and Emilce Moler. They were all between 14 and 18 years old at the time.
Movie about The Night of the Pencils with English subtitles: