Argentina, 1943-1976: The National Revolution and Resistance

Argentina, 1943-1976: The National Revolution and Resistance

Argentina, 1943-1976: The National Revolution and Resistance

Argentina, 1943-1976: The National Revolution and Resistance

Excerpt

If Argentine politics are crucial to the future of Latin America it is because the Peronist resistance against military dictatorship has become a model for the popular resistance movements in neighboring Chile, Bolivia, and Uruguay, with the prospect of also becoming the model for the Brazilian resistance. Following the military coup against General Juan Domingo Perón in September 1955, the majoritarian Peronist Party was banned. It took eighteen years of combined legal and armed struggle against the pseudoconstitutional governments of Presidents Arturo Frondizi and Arturo Illia, and against a new series of military regimes beginning in 1966, for the Peronist Party to be restored to full legality. The resistance was ultimately successful in pressuring the military to abdicate and to call new elections in March 1973, the first free elections held in more than two decades.

In Argentina in 1955 the military intervened in the political process as an interim measure aimed at displacing a populist and majoritarian political party. The military ruled directly from 1955 to 1958, and then indirectly from 1958 to 1966. Beginning in 1966 the armed forces initiated a new phase of military rule designed not as an interim measure, but to perpetuate the military bureaucracy in power. The congress was shut down and all political parties were banned, since they were supposedly unfit to rule. Between 1966 and 1973 there occurred in Argentina, although on a lesser scale, the same kind of repressive decrees, systematic violation of civil rights, police and military torture, and massive attacks on the trade unions that also characterized the Brazilian dictatorship beginning in 1968, and the Bolivian, Uruguayan, and Chilean dictatorships during the 1970s.

There were, of course, differences between the authoritarian military regime imposed in Argentina in 1966 and the military coups that followed among its neighbors. The Brazilian coup- within-a-coup of December 1968 was a response to the emergence . . .

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