"In the purest and cleanest of Argentine consciences weighs a deep and anguished concern, before the evident conviction that moral corruption has been enthroned in the areas of the country as a system ... usurious capital imposes its profits to the detriment of the financial interests of the Nation... Communism threatens to settle its reals in a country full of possibilities, due to the absence of social provisions... justice has lost its high moral authority... the education of childhood and the instruction of youth, without respect for God or love for country..."
The fragment is part of the military proclamation of June 4, 1943 and, although it did not bear his signature, it was written by Colonel Juan Domingo Perón. With these strokes, of an authorship easy to trace according to some researchers of historical papers, entered the political scene the man, almost unknown then to the ruling elites, who would be the great Argentine protagonist of the twentieth century, for better or for worse.
That military pronouncement, which is celebrating 80 years, would overthrow almost without civil resistance the government of Ramón J. Castillo, who had reached the first magistracy in 1942, after the resignation of President Roberto M. Ortiz for health reasons: he was practically blind due to advanced diabetes and dejected by the death of his wife. Both governments had sustained themselves on the basis of "patriotic fraud" and spurious negotiations that permeated that time between 1930 and 1943 with systematic administrative corruption.
The Tucuman writer José Luis Torres baptized it as "infamous decade", due to the chain of bribes, evasions, negotiated and various frauds to the treasury, protected by political and governmental complicities. Perhaps for this reason, and amid clamors in favor of an "institutional morality", there were those who would welcome the military escalation of June 4 as a "national revolution" and others would identify it as another coup d'état, a full-fledged coup d'état, to top it off with suspicious empathy with the crusade of Nazi Germany. In any case, its consequences would open the doors to a prolonged cycle of Argentine history. That June 4 was the prelude to the arrival to power of a Peronism in gestation.
September 6, 1930 would be the zero milestone of the "infamous decade". That day an uprising overthrew the second radical government of Hipólito Yrigoyen, elected by popular vote. There was no resistance. The only troops mobilized would be formations of cadets from the Military College, who accompanied to the Casa Rosada the dictator José Félix Uriburu, spokesman for an oligarchic nationalism with a certain fascist tonality. However, the Supreme Court would end up validating the coup in a ruling that would establish in the country the "de facto doctrine" and cover all subsequent coup adventures with legality. Perón had the rank of captain and was removed from the decision-making process. However, there were and are those who wanted to associate it with that dictatorship without foundations. In particular, a photo is usually used as an escort of the coup leader Uriburu in a vehicle, in a top-down institution such as the Army in the chain of command. Perón himself would admit years later that this closeness had been the product of a certain "naivety" on his part.
In 1943 the figure of Colonel Juan Domingo Perón emerges who takes charge of the Secretary of Labor and Welfare.
That decade would be one of the most ruinous Argentine governmental experiences: the coup of 30 would be followed two years later by the government of Agustín Pedro Justo, sustained by an equally fraudulent power scheme known as "la Concordancia". It was made up of anti-personalist radicalism, the most rancid conservativeism, and independent socialist sectors, with the support of businessmen linked to the agro-export sector that their opponents despised under the scourge of "vaccine oligarchy." The Yrigoyenista radicalism would be outlawed and its leader would die on July 3, 1933, in the midst of great popular distress.
The ruling entente would consolidate a dependent economy, in a social framework of collective despair and underground rebellions. Minstrels and poets would write memorable tangos, a frieze of that pre-revolutionary time, in particular the urban lyrics of Enrique Santos Discépolo such as Qué Vachaché (1928), Yira Yira (1929) and Cambalache (1934), jewels of sharp style and enormous popular roots, which would reflect that climate of mishiadura and embezzlement with more precision than any academic essay or philosophical speculation.
The military movement of '43, inspired by a lodge of young officers that made up the GOU (Group of United Officers or Group of Organization and Unification), basically colonels, was led by Generals Arturo Rawson, Pedro Ramírez and Edelmiro Farrell, who would make power a perpetual quarrel, expressed in a succession of palace intrigues. In the middle of World War II, Argentine neutrality, only abandoned at the last moment, with Germany practically defeated, could not disguise the internal struggles between two lines in the barracks and outside them: the neutrals (with sympathies for the allies, the alliance of the USA, Great Britain, free France, plus the powerful armies and soviets in arms of the dictator Stalin) and the Germanophiles, who assessed that the overwhelming Nazi machine into which Germany had been transformed under Hitler's yoke would give birth to a new civilization.
Among other factors, the reaction of the barracks in June 1943 was produced by the notorious attempt to continue fraud and corruption, which behind the scenes would ensure the presidency of the Republic to the questioned sugar businessman from Salta Robustiano Patrón Costas. Beyond that trigger, President Castillo fell almost by inertia: at dawn on that June 4, the then Minister of War, General Ramírez, told him at the Casa Rosada that he was dismissed and was detained, he let him know that the Army supported, without fissures in its commands. Castillo only managed to unload an obvious accusation, also useless, late and lonely: "traitor!"
At that time, the first troops were already leaving for the capital from Campo de Mayo. The American historian Robert Potash assures that among the young officers there was a first lieutenant, Juan Carlos Onganía. He was in a cavalry vehicle behind General Rawson: "It would be one of the long series of experiences that would punctuate his military career." At that time, the Army asserted itself as a prominent actor in Argentine politics, protected by its active participation in the independence process of the nineteenth century, which would enlighten the Nation.
The same author cites that, days after the coup, a communiqué from the US Embassy (dispatch of July 14, 1953) would say: "Although the revolutionary movement was carried out, mainly, by a few colonels and lieutenant colonels with troop command, led by Generals Arturo Rawson and Pablo P. Ramírez, it is likely that it would not have been triggered if the radical leaders had not ensured that the overthrow of the Castillo government by a A military coup would at least have the moral support of the people."
The atmosphere was such that a month before the coup, an anonymous military side had put the uniformed camps in ferment and would cause alert in the political forces and in civility. He said: "War has clearly demonstrated that nations can no longer defend themselves... The era of the Nation is being replaced by the era of the Continent... The largest and best-equipped nation should govern the destinies of the newly formed Continent. In Europe it will be Germany..." The authorship of the pamphlet was never known, although much speculation would circulate about that vibrant pen.
The growing disagreements at the top of the Army would be reflected on the same night as the triumphant move, with President Castillo recently deposed. For his own reasons, Rawson would begin at the Jockey Club the assembly of the cabinet in an unconsulted way. Two days later he should resign. Ramirez would remain in charge. The barracks had become a den of insurgents.
The first stage of the coup would limit individual rights, take control of universities, shut down Congress, persecute and imprison trade unionists and politicians linked to the ousted elites. Education would take a rampant and authoritarian nationalist course, promoting a moraline that would modify lyrics and titles of some tangos. The lunfardo would become a cultural enemy to be fought. Thus, "El bulín de la calle Ayacucho" would become "Mi cuartito"; "La maleva" would mutate into "La mala" and "Cliqué" would be "El Elegante", among many other cases.
Perón would have almost no influence on the management of this stage and would take refuge under the wing of General Farrell, who would come to occupy the vice presidency and take increasing distance from Ramírez. Only on November 27, 1943, with the creation of the Secretariat of Labor and Welfare, Colonel Perón would occupy an important position at the head of the agency. The June coup seemed to turn from a closed and oligarchic nationalism to a popular nationalism that questioned the previous order to open itself to the changes of the era. Argentina was functional to the interests of the British crown, especially in terms of policies linked to agricultural and livestock exports, whose summit would be a controversial trade agreement, known as the Roca-Runciman Pact, of 1933.
As Secretary of Labor, Perón would look at the continuous caravans of migrants from the interior at the gates of the Big City, eager for identity, recognition and, above all, job seekers. It was a social segment with vacant political leadership, which lacked rights and access channels. Perón, key promoter of the barracks movement of '43, would see it clearly and build power based on that emerging sector, which would benefit with labor and social legislation, within the framework of the industrialization process underway that would generate thousands and thousands of jobs.
On October 17, 1945, people mobilized to the Plaza de Mayo to free Perón.
On his way to the top, Perón would go through jail due to a revolt in the military leadership, before a working class crowd from the slums of the suburbs brought him to power on October 17, 1945. At that time he was already "the colonel of the people" and had also become Minister of War and Vice President of the Nation. The revolutionary wing of the barracks that favored the return of democracy, expressed in the Farrell-Perón binomial, had triumphed. In just two years, the young colonel had become known for the writing of the military proclamation of June 4, whose authorship he himself would admit some time later. On the other hand, the military paper that prepared the ground a month earlier, more explosive and with clear support for the model of industrialism-Army-Nation, with Prussian roots, would remain anonymous. Its author, not so much.