A junta (from the Spanish Junta for 'committee') is usually a small group of military officers who take it upon themselves to seize state power in the country they were ostensibly meant to be defending against external security threats. Particularly in Latin America, where inter-state warfare is historically rare and the United States acts as regional hegemon, the lack of such external security threats transformed many national militaries into effective national constabularies focused on perceived internal security threats.
Juntas are usually portrayed as right-wing in nature, although left-wing versions have been known. Juntas became notorious for their ruthless suppression of dissent, using kidnapping, torture and execution without trial as weapons of state terrorism. The members of a Junta may claim, and even believe themselves, to be national saviours, giving their group grand-sounding names such as the State Law and Order Restoration Council of Burma and Operacion Honestidad in Guatemala in 1963.
A few right-wing juntas
- Francisco Franco's Spain (1939-75)
- The Greek Colonels' regime (1967-74) (Fascist)
- Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile (1973-90)
- Jorge Rafael Videla's National "Reorganization" Process in Argentina (1976-83)
- The Revolutionary Governing Junta in El Salvador (Oct. 15, 1979-1992)
- The 1964-85 military dictatorship in Brazil
A few left-wing juntas
- The Dergue of Ethiopia (1974-87) (Communist)
- The SLORC and State Peace and Development Council of Burma/Myanmar (1962-1997) (Buddhist Socialist)
- Junta de Salvação Nacional ("National Salvation Junta")/Movimento das Forças Armadas ("Armed Forces Movement") in Portugal (1974-1976; Socialism, anti-colonialism, pro-democracy - helped usher current Portuguese democracy).
A few miscellaneous juntas
- Colonel Gaddafi's Libya (Third Positionist. Not exactly left-wing but not quite right-wing either).
- Liberia's People's Redemption Council, from 1980-1986.
A board game
- Junta (run your own corrupt banana republic and make sure to siphon off as much cash as possible to your Swiss bank account).
- George Black, et al., "Counterrevolution as a Way of Life." NACLA Report on the Americas. Vol. 17, No. 1 (Jan-Feb. 1983) p. 7
- CISPES. "El Salvador: A Political Chronology." Marvin Gettleman et al., ed.s, El Salvador: Central America in the New Cold War. 1981. New York: Grove Press.
- Christina Fink/ 2001. Living Silence: Burma under Military Rule. Bangkok: White Lotus. p. 94
- Junta on BoardGameGeek