Tupamaros (tōpämäˈrōs) [key], urban guerrilla organization and political party in Uruguay, also known as the National Liberation Army. Named for the Inca revolutionist Tupac Amaru, it became active as a guerrilla force in the early 1960s, distributing stolen food and money among the poor in Montevideo. By the late 1960s, it was engaged in urban terrorism, political kidnappings, and murder. The military unleashed a bloody campaign of mass arrests and selected disappearances in the early 1970s, virtually defeating the guerrillas. Despite the diminished threat, the civilian government of Juan María Bordaberry Arocena ceded government authority to the military (1973), a bloodless coup which led to further repression against the population. Democracy was restored in 1985, and the Tupamaros were reorganized as a legal political party. Becoming part of the Broad Front leftist coalition, they helped it win power in 2004. In 2009, José "Pepe" Mujica, a former Tupamaros guerrilla, was the Broad Front candidate for president of Uruguay and won the election.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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