BUENOS AIRES — The first news cycle after the election of Mauricio Macri as president of Argentina included an unusual contribution from La Nacion, one of the country's top newspapers: an editorial headlined "No More Vengeance."

The gist of the instantly controversial piece was that the time had come to forget about the crimes committed during Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship. The editorial argued that the old regime's leftist opponents were "ideologically committed to terrorist groups" and acted in a way "no different" from the militants who attacked Paris earlier this month. It also bemoaned the "shameful" treatment of regime officials imprisoned for human rights crimes despite their "old age."

"One day after citizens voted for a new government, the desire for revenge should be buried once and for all," the editorial read.

The piece provoked swift condemnation by many Argentines, including many of the newspaper's own reporters. They took to social media to disavow the unsigned opinion piece, and the newspaper published a photo of dozens in the newsroom holding up signs that said, "I condemn the editorial."

"La Nacion's editorials exclusively represent the editorial position of the newspaper and not the position of its journalists or employees in other parts of the company," read an article published in response.

The editorial waded into especially sensitive territory — the legacy of the "Dirty War," in which tens of thousands of people were killed or made to "disappear" by government forces, and ongoing human rights trials against the perpetrators.

Part of the concern was the timing, as it prompted fears that the newly elected Macri government might be more open to forgiving these crimes than voters had been led to believe. As Jonathan Watts and Uki Goñi wrote in Britain's Guardian newspaper, "Many middle- and upper-class Macri supporters want the trials to end. They prefer to speak of 'reconciliation', a catchword for amnesty, now that hundreds of former officers have been convicted — many of so advanced an age that about 300 are estimated to have died so far in jail, either serving their sentences or pending trial."

Macri said in his first news conference as president-elect that the trials should continue and that the judicial system should operate with independence, although he didn't address the editorial directly.

Read more: