Urban guerrilla organization in Uruguay, also known as
the National Liberation Army. Named for the Inca revolutionist, Tupac Amaru,
it became active 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.
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2002 Columbia University Press