In the Shadow of Peron: Juan Atilio Bramuglia and the Second Line of Argentina's Populist Movement

By Raanan Rein; Martha Grenzeback | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
The First “Peronism Without Perón”
Bramuglia and the Unión Popular

Considering that Juan Bramuglia presented his resignation several times during the years 1946–49, it would be fair to say that there was no one particular reason for his decision. The conflict with Remorino and even his differences with Evita were no more than the latest episodes in his struggle to prevent the populist reform movement that he had supported since 1943 from metamorphosing into an arbitrary, authoritarian government given to unproductive, nationalistic whims. As a reporter in the Argentine press put it some years later, “He resigned because of incompatibility with certain proceedings that began to govern all aspects of Argentine life.”1

Notable among the few well-informed works on Argentina published outside the country during Perón's presidency is Perón's Argentina, in which the author, George Blanksten, remarked that it was not easy to get rid of Bramuglia, whose ouster contributed to the growing unrest among the railroad workers.2 When Mercante and Bramuglia—considered heroes by many in that sector since 1943—were ejected from the Peronist leadership (although Mercante continued to serve as governor of the province of Buenos Aires), the railway workers felt disillusioned and, in some cases, even betrayed by the government. Trying to eradicate the influence of both leaders in the unions, the regime replaced their partisans with people more loyal to Evita, Borlenghi, or other Peronist leaders.3 This process fanned the flames of union discontent and significantly contributed to the atmosphere in which the major railroad strikes of 1950–51 developed. The wages of these workers, traditionally among the highest, began to decline after the sector was nationalized in 1948. To save on costs, the state, as the new employer, fired several thousand workers. In 1950 a series of strikes began, directed by dissident leaders. What began

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