Military Dictatorship of Luxlein (1951-1976)
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United Republics of Luxlein
Repúblicas Unidas de Luxlein
1951-1976

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Flag

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Coat of Arms

Motto: Service for the People

Capital: Santangel

Official Language: Luxerian

Ethnic Group: Luxerian

Religion: Irreligious

Demonym(s): Luxerian

Government:
Unitary authoritarian military dictatorship
-President: Daniel Ligüerre Videla
-President of the Junta: Cristián Larroulet Nunes

Legislature: Government Junta

Area:
-Total: 780 km² (300 sq mi)
-Water (%):

Population:
-1973 Estimate: 848,762

GDP (PPP) :
-Total: LXA ₴
-Per Capita: LXA ₴

GDP (nominal) :
-Total: LXA ₴
-Per Capita: LXA ₴

Currency: Luxerian amero (₴) (LXA)

Succeeded by: Luxerian transition to democracy

Military Dictatorship of Luxlein (1951-1976)

A right-wing authoritarian military dictatorship ruled Luxlein for twenty-five years, between April 14, 1951, and September 27, 1976. The dictatorship was established after the democratically-elected government of Joaquín Guillermo Lavín was overthrown in a coup d'état on April 14, 1951. During this time, the country was ruled by a military junta headed by General Daniel Ligüerre Videla. The military utilized the economic crisis that took place during Lavín's presidency to justify its seizure of power. The dictatorship presented its mission as a “National Reorganization Process'' (Luxerian: Proceso de Reorganización Nacional).

The regime was characterized by the systematic suppression of political parties and the persecution of dissidents to an extent unprecedented in the history of Luxlein. Overall, the regime caused over 250,000 dead or missing and tortured tens of thousands of prisoners. The dictatorship's effects on Luxerian political and economic life continue to be felt up to this day. Neoliberal economic reforms were implemented, in sharp contrast to Lavín's leftist policies, advised by a team of free-market economists educated by José Andrés Piñera at the Autonomous University of Santangel (Luxerian: Universidad Autónoma de Santangel) known as the “UAS Mafia.”

These neoliberal economic reforms eventually led up to the Fiscal Crisis of 1976 (Luxerian: Crisis Fiscal de 1976), causing widespread unemployment. Protest movements started to form in Luxlein, notably made up of unemployed workers. They blockaded major roads and highways, demanding government subsidies and other welfare measures. The crisis reached a breaking point on September 5, 1976, as major investors began to withdraw their deposits from the banks, summarily causing the collapse of the Luxerian banking system due to capital flight. A wave of demonstrations and civil unrest erupted, eventually leading up to the Revolution of Dignity (Luxerian: Revolución de Dignidad) on September 27, 1976. It culminated in the ousting of Daniel Ligüerre Videla and the overthrow of the Military Junta.

Members of the military government were arrested and put on trial in a civilian court. Commonly known as “the Trial of the Junta” (Luxerian: El Juicio de la Junta), each member of the Junta was charged with having committed deliberate bombing, torture, and mutilation of civilians, killing unarmed civilians, imprisonment without food in small cells, throwing prisoners out of helicopters to their death or into the sea with concrete on their feet, and burying people alive.

Following the Revolution, a transitional government was established. Upon assuming control, the Coalition Provisional Authority (Luxerian: Autoridad Provisional de la Coalición) initiated a large-scale purge of civil servants who were associated with the overthrown regime. Following the country’s original clause establishing that the Constitution could be re-written completely if this was deemed necessary, several referendums were held from 1976 to 1980, leading to the final restoration of democracy. The military relinquished political control to civilian rule and the democratic elections of November 1980 put an end to the transitional period.

The Coup

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Daniel Ligüerre Videla
President Joaquín Guillermo Lavín, the Prime Minister, and their cabinet were meeting at the Presidential Palace and remained within the building for most of the day, planning on presenting to the National Congress legislation to assist those affected by the economic turmoil. On April 14, shortly before 05:30 AM, armed soldiers came to the Presidential Palace. When they asked everyone to accompany them, the cabinet, fearing for their lives, refused, and locked themselves in. Inside the Palace, they made several phone calls to their friends, asking for help. Although they received reassurances they would arrive, none did. Eventually, the armed soldiers broke down the front door. The prisoners were told to wait in the cellar room while the truck that would transport them was being brought to the Palace. A few minutes later, an execution squad of the military police was brought in, without any warning, fired upon them. Their bodies were later taken to the courtyard and burned.

At 06:10 AM, all television and radio stations were interrupted. Regular transmissions were cut and replaced by a military march, after which the first communiqué was broadcast:

People are advised that as of today, the country is under the operational control of the Joint Chiefs General of the Armed Forces. We recommend to all inhabitants strict compliance with the provisions and directives emanating from the military, security, or police authorities, and to be extremely careful to avoid individual or group actions and attitudes that may require drastic intervention from the operating personnel. Signed: General Daniel Ligüerre Videla.

A state of emergency and martial law were implemented, as military patrolling spread to every major city. The morning was seemingly uneventful, but as the day progressed, the detentions multiplied. Hundreds of workers, unionists, students, and political activists were abducted from their homes, their workplaces, or in the streets.

Politics and Power within the Dictatorship

On April 15, the Junta dissolved the National Congress, outlawed political parties, and all political activity was declared “in recess.” The military government took control of all media. The dictatorship's silencing extended past the media and into “every discourse that expressed any resistance to the regime.”

Initially, there were three leaders of the junta: In addition to General Videla, from the Army, there was General Miguel Angel Torrente, of the Air Force; and Admiral Jose Manuel Camarero, of the Navy. It was the executive and legislative branch of government until its overthrow.

Human Rights Violations

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An exhumed mass grave
in the Toledano Valley
From the moment Videla assumed power, he wanted to instill a sense of fear in the population. These fears manifested with his authorization of the National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services (Luxerian: Dirección Nacional de los Servicios de Inteligencia y Prevención). The National Directorate was mandated to organize and carry out strong repression of political dissidents (or perceived as such) through the government's military and security forces. It was also given the command of the national and provincial police and correctional facilities and its mission was to “annihilate [...] subversive elements throughout the country.” Between 1951 and 1976, thousands of people disappeared, kidnapped clandestinely by the National Directorate. Many were killed in death flights, a practice initiated by General Miguel Angel Torrente, usually after detention and torture. They were drugged into a stupor, loaded into aircraft, stripped, and dropped into the Morata sea.

On April 14, 1963, thousands of Luxerians marked the 12th Anniversary of the Coup by marching peacefully for democracy. The Military Junta decided to impose a new National Security Law in response to the pro-democracy marches. The law denied people fair trials, provided sweeping new powers to the National Directorate, and weakened judicial oversight. The National Directorate used the National Security Law to arrest anyone who was associated with the pro-democracy movement. During a protest, it was reported that police forced journalists to kneel and pepper-sprayed them. They also continued to crack down on the community of human rights defenders and increasingly targeted family members of activists.

Economy and Free Market Reforms

After the military took over the government in 1951, a period of dramatic economic changes began. The Luxerian economy was still faltering in the months following the coup. As the military junta itself was not particularly skilled in remedying the persistent economic difficulties, it appointed a group of Luxerian economists who had been educated by José Andrés Piñera at the Autonomous University of Santangel. The “UAS Mafia” advocated laissez-faire, free-market, neoliberal, and fiscally conservative policies, in stark contrast to the extensive nationalization and centrally-planned economic programs supported by Lavín.

The economic reforms implemented by Piñera and the UAS Mafia had three main objectives: economic liberalization, privatization of state-owned companies, and stabilization of inflation. Price controls were abolished, imports liberalized, the financial market and capital flows were deregulated. Labor unions were suppressed. Direct taxes and progressive taxes were reduced or abolished while indirect taxes were raised. Among other reforms, they made the central bank independent, cut tariffs, and privatized the state-controlled pension system, state industries, and banks. Piñera’s stated aim was to “make Luxlein a nation of entrepreneurs.” He was later appointed as the Secretary of the Department of Economics and Finance.

Fiscal Crisis of 1976

Bank deregulation at the time encouraged unconventional business practices and several laws were changed or enforcement weakened in parts of the financial system. Between June and July 1976, a friend of Piñera, Juan Francisco Biescas, led a group of investors in taking over insurance giant Arión International Group; financial giants Banco Popular and Banco Toledano; and mortgage giants CaixaBank and Mutua Campinas - together accounting for 28.5% of Luxlein’s banking sector. He was later arrested for misappropriation of funds in connection with the takeover due to liquidity problems of the four institutions acquired.

Because the institutions were not notified beforehand of the liquidity problems, they continued to multiply in size while the concentration of bank assets increased. However, some of these banks were in financial trouble after engaging in questionable business practices. Some were seriously undercapitalized, others were lending top executives large sums of money, and at least one financier couldn’t prove where he got the money to buy the bank in the first place. This led to investors perceiving Luxerian banks to be increasingly risky. Trust in the banks gradually faded and efforts to restore faith in the banking system failed.

On August 14, 1976, the government technically assumed control of the 4 financial giants because many believed their failure would endanger the financial integrity of other major firms that were its trading partners. Luxlein’s Central Reserve Bank ended up forcing the financial giants to divest and merge, leading to the creation of the Moncloa-Aravaca & Company two days later, on August 16, 1976. Throughout August 1976, the Central Reserve Bank provided billions of ameros in bailouts and stimulus to Moncloa-Aravaca to avoid a collapse. They also ended up creating a company (what would become Raul Márquez Holdings LLC) to extend LXA ₴ 441 billion ameros as a loan to the limited liability company. Raul Márquez Holdings used the money to buy much of Moncloa-Aravaca’s distressed and toxic assets. The plan entailed reducing potential losses and for the Government Junta to resell them later on at a profit.

On September 3, 1976, the Board of Governors of the Central Reserve Bank, alongside Secretary Piñera, called a meeting with several other large banks to negotiate the reorganization of Moncloa-Aravaca & Company, which included the possibility of an emergency liquidation of its assets. These discussions failed. On September 4, 1976, shortly before 1:00 AM Friday, Moncloa-Aravaca announced it would file for bankruptcy protection (citing bank debt of LXA ₴ 56 billion ameros, LXA ₴ 14 billion ameros in bond debt, and assets worth LXA ₴ 59 billion ameros). The bankruptcy triggered a general financial panic known as Black Friday. It was later found out that, before the bankruptcy filing, Moncloa-Aravaca paid its executives over LXA ₴ 165 million ameros in executive bonuses.

The Revolution of Dignity

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Soldiers opening fire on protesters
The protests and rioting began on the morning of September 10. The protests and rioting quickly spread to the capital and other towns across the country. A lack of timely intervention by authorities –some police were under orders not to take action– led to the National Directorate being quickly overwhelmed. Despite initial debate within the government over how to manage the situation, a heavy-handed approach was implemented as a state of emergency and martial law was imposed. By the time authorities encountered the scenes of rioting, citizens began firing weapons at officers, with the ensuing firefights resulting in many bystanders being killed by “bullets from army troops and sniping protesters.”

There were protests and clashes with police throughout Luxlein, especially in the abandoned building that once housed the National Congress in Santangel, which was occupied and barricaded by protesters, along with some administrative buildings, including the Santangel Administration Offices. Police and activists fired ammunition at multiple locations in Santangel. As a result of these events, the Government Junta met on September 20 with the leaders and head organizers of the protests, which collectively identified themselves as the National League for Democracy. The National League included Uxue Abarquero and Laura Valenzuela. The children of former President Joaquín Guillermo Lavín, Ariadna and Liam, were also part of the League and were present during the initial round of talks.

After several meetings, the National League for Democracy spoke on September 26 with the protesters and told them that the talks had not been successful. They stated that General Videla reportedly threatened them with criminal prosecution. Both Ariadna and Liam Lavín called for the “people's revolution” to continue until power had been completely removed from the governing authorities. Uxue Abarquero warned from the entrance of the National Congress complex that if the Government Junta did not resign by 12:00 PM the next day, an armed coup would be staged.

On September 27, shortly before 9:00 PM, units of the police tasked with defending the Government Junta met and decided to abandon their posts and to call for the resignation. It is believed that one of the main reasons the police turned away from the regime was largely due to the resentments they had over the preferential treatment the Junta gave to the military. At a police station near the presidential palace, officers climbed onto the roofs and chanted “The Police with the People.” Reports stated that police nationwide began to retreat from protesters, returning to their stations at around 2:00 AM the next day. At around 3:00 AM, as protesters and police started marching towards the Presidential Palace to occupy it, they found it to be empty. The National League for Democracy established it as its headquarters and called for a nationwide manhunt for the members of the Government Junta.

It was later revealed that the members of the Government Junta evacuated the Presidential Palace in anticipation that the protestors would take it by force. Realizing that their rule over the country was over, the Government Junta disbanded and each of them declared “to each their own.” At 8:20 AM, General Videla boarded a jet at Toledano with 40 of his supporters and immediate family members in an attempt to reach Sanhueza and declare a “Government In-Exile.” Videla took with him more than LXA ₴ 300 million ameros in gold from the Central Reserve Bank’s vaults and artwork stolen from the Institute of Culture’s storage units. Around 38 minutes after takeoff, when the flight was over the Morata sea and left Arriaga airspace, a surface-to-air missile struck one of the wings of the plane, then a second missile hit its tail. The plane erupted into flames in mid-air shortly before crashing into an abandoned hangar near the runway, exploding on impact. Everyone on board was killed.

The Trial of the Junta

Body Text

Emergency Governmental Authorities

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Seal of the Coalition Provisional Authority
The Coalition Provisional Authority intended to act as a caretaker administration in Luxlein until the creation of a democratically elected civilian government. Upon the dissolution of the National League for Democracy, Uxue Abarquero and Laura Valenzuela became the first Co-Administrators of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Ariadna and Liam Lavín (both experts of constitutional law) helped draft the Law of Administration for the State During the Transitional Period (Luxerian: Ley de Administración del Estado Durante el Período Transitorio), which functioned as the country’s provisional constitution following the Revolution.

The Transitional Administrative Law also established the steps to be taken with the transfer of sovereignty from the Coalition to the Interim Government. This process eventually helped in the writing and enactment of several referendums during the transition period, leading to a more progressive constitution. The Coalition vested itself with executive, legislative, and judicial authority over the remnants of the Luxerian government from the period of its inception on October 3, 1976, until December 10, 1978. On December 10, 1978, the Coalition ceased to exist and all governmental authority was transferred to a fully sovereign Interim Government. The Transitional Administrative Law continued to be in effect following the official transfer of power from the Coalition Provisional Authority to a sovereign government.

Official Return to Democracy

The Interim Government was led by Laura Valenzuela as its President and Vicente Martin Del Fusté as its Prime Minister. The Interim Government was formed through a process of wide-ranging consultation with civilians, including political leaders and civic associations. Its primary responsibility was to administer the country’s affairs, in particular with providing for the welfare and security of the people, promoting economic development, and preparing Luxlein for the national elections that were to be held on November 5, 1980. The Transitional Administrative Law remained in effect until the formation of the government, when it was superseded by the constitution with the amendments that had been approved by referendum, establishing a federal dominant-party semi-presidential constitutional republic.

When the new Government was elected on November 5, 1980, negotiations only started in earnest once the results of the election were certified on November 19, 1980. At one point, leaders of the largest political groupings called for a government of national unity, although this proposal was later abandoned. After some disputes over the election results were resolved, the members of the National Congress were sworn in on January 20, 1981. Vicente Martin Del Fusté of the Democratic Party was elected as the country’s president.

Economic Reconstruction

One of the first issues that Vicente Martin Del Fusté faced as the country’s president was when some staffers that previously worked in the Advisory and Monitoring Review Board, an entity of the Coalition Provisional Authority that ceased to exist when the transitional government was dissolved, brought to his attention that the military dictatorship held debt of LXA ₴ 86 billion ameros. In response to this, he proposed strategies for reducing the burden of the country’s debt and indicated that his top priority would be spending on social programs rather than servicing the country’s debt. He criticized the neoloberal policies of the military dictatorship. During his tenure as President he took some radical alternative steps to change the course of the country’s image.

He established a committee to investigate any alleged crimes within the banking sector that took place between 1951 and 1976 and which led to the country's banking crisis. His rhetoric and policies alarmed the country’s wealthier classes. He eventually reached a deal with creditors and declared the debt illegitimate.

Controversies

It was widely believed that Uxue Abarquero would help in the establishment of the Interim Government and eventually form part of it. While he did help in cementing the structure of the Interim Government, he was replaced abruptly less than a day later, on December 11, 1978. Abarquero’s swift dismissal came as a surprise to many within the Interim Government. Allegedly, there was intense pressure from within the Coalition Provisional Authority to begin the removal from public office of civil servants who served under the military dictatorship. The initiative was apparently supposed to have begun in 1976 after the Junta was deposed in the Revolution of Dignity. However, Uxue’s refusal to implement this policy infuriated several high-ranking authorities of the Coalition Provisional Authority and led directly to his dismissal. The policy was eventually put into practice in January 1979.
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