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Argentine Cinema and National Identity (1966-1976)$

Carolina Rocha

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940544

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781786940544.001.0001

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Political and Social Tensions in Post-1955 Argentina

Political and Social Tensions in Post-1955 Argentina

(p.16) Chapter 1 Political and Social Tensions in Post-1955 Argentina
Argentine Cinema and National Identity (1966-1976)

Carolina Rocha

Liverpool University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a brief account of post 1955 political events in Argentina, starting with the coup d’état that ousted Juan Domingo Perón and established the revolución libertadora. I argue that after 1955, a new vision for Argentina was developed and implemented. The Armed Forces’ intervention in the country’s affairs coincided with developments in other parts of Latin America that encouraged the notion of socio-political change and developmentalism which was evident in the arts and sciences. I also contend that these changes contributed to reaffirm Argentine nationalism which aligned Argentina with Western values and Catholicism. I also survey the military and civil governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Keywords:   revolución libertadora, modernization, developmentalism, revolución argentina, Bureaucratic authoritarian government

To understand the political events of the decade 1966–1976, it is crucial to consider the coup d’état that ousted Perón and established the Revolución libertadora. In September 1955, a rebellion against the military leader was instigated by a coalition of Catholics, the urban middle classes, and the two different factions of the armed forces. General Eduardo Lonardi (1896–1956), who proclaimed the mantra ‘neither victors nor vanquished’ and was briefly in power until November of that year, led the more conciliatory of the military factions. The other, profoundly anti-Peronist, soon displaced Lonardi, ‘accusing him of complicity with the nacionalistas and of tolerating Peronism and workers’ movements’ (Senkman, 1984, 121). Both groups, however, blamed Peronists for being anti-nationalist, corrupt, and inefficient (Spinelli, 2005, 30). The armed forces that took over the country’s leadership sought to revert to the ‘true’ national being, particularly enforcing—albeit not immediately—the rights listed in the Argentine Constitution and hoping to unite groups as diverse as unionists, anti-peronists, and liberals.

The Revolución libertadora held that Peronism threatened the country’s true core values, and so a new vision was needed for Argentina. The Peronist national identity revolved around the perpetuation of the welfare state that had heavily benefitted the working class, integrating its members into the body politic as citizens. Nonetheless, the conditions that allowed the emergence of such a state post-Second World War—namely the demand for agricultural products and import-substitution industrialization—could no longer sustain domestic capitalist growth, and thus changes in the Peronist version of the Argentine national identity were also needed. Here it is important to take into account Jorge Larraín’s insight that ‘for identity to become an issue, a period of instability and crisis, a threat to old-established ways, seems to be required’ (2000, 8). While the crisis of Peronism ushered in the Revolución libertadora, Perón’s power—even in exile—as protector of the working-class masses, profoundly affected the mission of the ‘revolutionary’ government and its attempt to propose a new version of national identity. The working class’s loyalty to Perón and his postulates contributed to making him a constant referent in Argentine political life, a dynamic that further (p.17) complicated the process of legitimating the nationalism of anti-Peronists, and also upset the role and viability of political parties, such as the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR) and the Socialist and Communist Party.1 In other words, Perón, as the symbolic father of the descamisados [shirtless, a term used to describe Perón’s followers], continued to be seen as a defender of the pueblo, the authentic bearer of the national essence.2

For the next two decades, Peronists and anti-Peronists hotly debated which side better embodied argentinidad.3 The coalition that ousted Perón believed that citizens needed to be ‘reeducated’ in democratic values (Spinelli, 2005, 66), implying that Peronism had veered away from the nation’s foundational core.4 Yet the working class, union leaders, and other Peronist supporters saw the military authorities as dictatorial and unlawful. If Peronism was despotic and anti-national, the Revolución libertadora could also be seen in those terms for having interrupted a democratically elected government, especially after the harsh punishment received by General Juan José Valle.5 This infamous episode negatively impacted the government of President Pedro Eugenio Aramburu (term of office 1955–1958), whose administration became known as la fusiladora [the one who shoots]. Political legitimacy thus became a crucial factor that led to the reinstatement of the Constitution on May 1, 1956, provided it did not go against the political goals of the Revolución libertadora. This resolution, passed only eight months after the military government was installed in power, paved the way for the 1958 elections in which Frondizi (1908–1995) was chosen as president. Nevertheless, for the next 25 years, the armed forces reserved for themselves the role of guardians of political life, not only barring Perón as a presidential candidate, but also supervising the democratically elected governments of Arturo Frondizi (term of office 1958–1962) and Arturo Illia (term of office 1963–1966) and, later on, served in the military regimes from 1966 to 1973.

The armed forces’ intervention in the country’s political affairs coincided with developments in other parts of Latin America that encouraged the notion of sociopolitical change. The success of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 rekindled the idea of a continental utopia, emphasizing the region’s promise for a better future.6 Diana Sorensen explains that optimism throughout the continent was a central characteristic of the 1960s (2007, 16). The huge interest in change and development was also made explicit in President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address in January 1961: ‘To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge—to convert our good words into good deeds—in a new alliance for progress—to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty’ (‘Inaugural,’ 1961, non. pag.). For both Kennedy and the Latin American leaders and intellectuals participating in the Comisión Económica para Latinoamérica y el Caribe [Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean] (CEPAL), economic growth was a vital requirement for political stability and effective liberation.7

Nonetheless, the external push for modernization was also seen as an imposition that would further lead Latin America off its path. Aníbal Quijano (p.18) explains that modernization is always supported first by foreign players who manage to convince Latin American about the desirability of the modes of production and consumption of capitalist nations (1990, 9). In the late 1950s and 1960s, then, modernization in Latin America implied embracing capitalism and doing away with traditional economic forms. In Argentina, Frondizi’s government was also guided by the sense of new possibilities. Rogelio Frigerio, Secretary of Socio-Economic Affairs during Frondizi’s presidency, was a proponent of developmentalism, a political economic theory that sought to put an end to the country’s economic dependency by stimulating its growth, and argued for a program of national expansion based on heavy industrialization which would, in turn, free Argentina from its need of imports (Szusterman, 1993, 79–81). Developmentalism was a crucial step toward a modernization that, once and for all, would make Argentina a truly powerful nation. As this was a national program, the state would oversee not only plans for development, but also the relations between international investors and the national bourgeoisie. As a result, funds were earmarked for higher education and anti-Peronist professors who had been exiled were allowed to return (King, 1986, 168). Developmentalism, however, opened the door to the massive entry of foreign capital, especially American.8

Parallel to this push for economic development, there was a renewed interest in the sciences and arts that would also confirm the country’s artistic and intellectual growth. This focus took different forms. First, it sought to put an end to the isolationism of Argentine art. This goal was realized when in 1958, the Instituto Di Tella opened its doors to stimulate Argentine culture and its exchanges with the European art world (King, 2007, 61–69). Second, it sought to bring the arts and sciences to the masses. Culture was democratized in those years, particularly with the foundation of Editorial de la Universidad de Buenos Aires (EUDEBA), which had soon published 600,000 volumes of 20 classic works by Argentine writers (Sayago, 2008, 150).9 Needing to expand its readership, EUDEBA attempted to disseminate Argentine literary works at low prices (Terán, 1993, 71; Podalsky, 2004, 149–51). Third, science and technology aimed to play a significant role in modernizing Argentina.10 The creation of the first department of sociology at the University of Buenos Aires and the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) to support national development also date from this period. Referring to innovations in the arts, Andrea Giunta states that ‘el año 1960 es, por varias razones, decisivo en el montaje de esa nueva escena. Las celebraciones del sesquicentenario de la revolución de Mayo generaron revisiones del desarrollo artístico nacional y estimularon, a la vez, el lanzamiento de programas abiertos a la renovación y el futuro’ [for several reasons, the year 1960 is decisive in the layout of this new scene. The celebrations of the sesquicentennial anniversary of the May Revolution generated revisions of national artistic development and stimulated, in turn, the launching of programs open to renovation and the future] (2008, 33). In addition, new publications, such as Primera Plana, Confirmado, Extra, (p.19) and ¿Qué?, appeared (King 1986, 168; Sidícaro 1993, 314; Podalsky, 2004, 19; Sayago, 2008, 122). Pasado y Presente, a communist magazine, was first published in 1963 (Vezzetti, 2009, 28). All these changes contributed to the perception that Argentina was being called to occupy its rightful place in the concert of other Western nations. To do so, the country had to be forward-looking and invest in its cultural growth.

Faith in progress reaffirmed and sustained Argentine nationalism. By pursuing its destined grandeur, Argentina would realize its true potential as a nation. One group that pushed for a nationalist ideology was Tacuara, named after the spears used by the gauchos during the War of Independence (Navarro Gerassi, 1968, 225). Tacuara’s members, inspired by Juan Manuel de Rosas (1793–1877) and Francisco Franco (1892–1975), rejected Jewish and left-wing sympathizers and were anti-American. At the end of 1960, they split into two groups: Tacuara, led by Alberto Ezcurra Uriburu who recruited middle-class youth, and the Guardia Nacional Restauradora [The National Restoration Guard], which grouped together members of the upper class (Navarro Gerassi, 1968, 228–29). Although these factions had followers, their impact was most visible in that they brought about a vision of what Argentina should be by resorting to certain guiding figures, such as Rosas, and equally refusing to align with either the United States or the USSR, thus recognizing the unmistakable Argentine essence as different from that of other countries.

Argentine nationalism was also affected by the events taking place in other parts of Latin America. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, nationalism was a driving force all over Latin America.11 The establishment of a socialist regime in Cuba in the early 1960s radically altered politics in the continent, as it became another front of the Cold War. The ripples of the Cuban Revolution reached South America and polarized the population between those who supported a Marxist type of society and those who favoured capitalism as the basis for national development.12 For the latter, industrialization and technology were the means to avoid an over-reliance on the primary sector—agriculture and cattle-raising, which had lost value in the years after the Second World War. Nonetheless, by the mid-1960s, the fear of Marxist contagion displaced economic development as the most pressing issue.13 The need to contain the revolutionary winds blowing in from Cuba demanded that even the Argentine armed forces prioritize a hemispheric ideology at the expense of nationalism (Rouquié, 1982, 143).

In addition to these different political stances, a key component of Argentine public discourse was the legacy and role of Peronism in Argentine civic life. Even though Frondizi continued the programs set forth by the Revolución libertadora, whose main feature was the political proscription of Perón and his representatives, he was plagued by the denial of legality to Peronism.14 Consequently, in 1962, he allowed Peronists to take part in the midterm elections, a move resented by the most intransigent among the anti-Peronist armed forces. This decision, along with a recession caused (p.20) by the implementation of austerity measures, led to Frondizi’s overthrow.15 Vice President José María Guido (term of office 1962–1963) briefly took over the presidency and called for new polls, in which Arturo Umberto Illia (1900–1983) was elected with the support of only a quarter of voters. President Illia continued the modernization plan, which had been circulating since the mid-1950s. For instance, in his inaugural speech, he proclaimed: ‘para universalizar la paz hay que universalizar el progreso y el bienestar’ [to universalize peace, we must universalize progress and well-being] (quoted in Donatelllo and Mallimaci, 2013, 149). But a highly politicized labor force constantly challenged his economic guidelines, creating an impression of ungovernability and chaos.16 Moreover, Illia’s characterization in the national media as slow and ineffectual did nothing to assuage the perception that he was inefficient, thus creating the conditions for a new coup d’état.17 In June 1966, General Juan Carlos Onganía (1914–1995) established the Argentine Revolution (1966–1970), a military government that used traditional forms of control, such as the curtailing of civil liberties and banning of political parties, with the goal of suppressing criticism in order to implement the country’s modernization (Rock, 1987, 347). Here it is crucial to highlight that the emphasis on modernization and on isolating the spread of Marxism paved the way for a type of conservative modernity that, according to Francisco Colom González, ‘intentó conjurar los peligros de unos procesos de cambio sobre los que se había perdido el control’ [attempted to ward off the dangers of processes of change over which control had been lost] (2009, 17). It should be noted that while Colom González’s term ‘conservative modernity’ refers to the secularization of values and the separation of church and state that took place in the nineteenth century, it is also germane to the mid-1960s in Argentina, when church and state established a new alliance to resist epochal changes. In so doing, these allies disregarded the pivotal feature not only of modernity, but also of democracy: that popular sovereignty is the only means of legitimating political power (Quijada, 2009, 232).

To reclaim legality, the Argentine Revolution aimed to suppress political dissent—seen as an obstacle to the country’s progress—emphasizing national values. General Onganía attempted to enforce and legitimate a type of nationalism that aligned Argentina with Western values and Catholicism.18 To do so, he banned political parties, workers’ right to strike, and freedom of speech, and put an end to the autonomy of universities (Sigal, 1991, 46).19 Books, radio programs, theatrical plays, TV programs, and films were prohibited or shut down (King, 1986, 173). Despite Illia’s overthrow, developmentalism continued to be a guiding principle as Onganía followed ‘a program for economic growth and modernization leading to a greater distribution of wealth and true social peace’ (Burdick, 1995, 128). For John King, one of the consequences of modernization was the embrace of mass consumerism (1986, 168). Increased purchasing power also meant class mobility. During this period, the middle class became the backbone of modern Argentine society (Sidícaro, 1993, 340). In fact, 1960s political theorists José Nun and Samuel (p.21) Huntington stressed that the armed forces usually defended the interests of this class (quoted in Perina 1983, 13–15).

Despite the promise of economic modernization, however, Onganía’s revolución was an authoritarian bureaucratic government. Guillermo O’Donnell defines it as the type of state established in Argentina in 1966, the product of the reaction of the hegemonic classes that faced, and felt endangered by, the demands of the working class (1982, 59), which revolved around higher wages and better labor conditions and implied a return to a statist and populist path like the one implemented by Perón before 1955 (O’Donnell, 1988, 45). World affairs, however, rendered impossible such a reversal that would privilege the living standards of the working class.20 Thus, to control workers’ demands in times of reduced purchasing power, an authoritarian bureaucratic state was required.21 A central aspect of the authoritarian bureaucratic state was its paternalism, a trait that had a long tradition in Argentine politics before and after 1955. Yet the originality of post-1955 paternalism lies in the fact that it influenced the range of topics to be discussed. After 1955, a sector of the armed forces created a discourse which articulated what was proper and what was unsuitable (Marxist and/or communist sentiment).22 Given the steady influence of Catholics first in Perón’s overthrow and later in the ranks of the armed forces, these restrictions went beyond the debate of national politics to include morality and sexuality, family, religion, and national security (Avellaneda, 1986, 19).23 Notably, restraints coincided with women’s move away from traditional roles to become producers and consumers. Their entry into the labour force, their access to more education and contraceptives, and their imitation of foreign ways—miniskirts, blue jeans, the Beatles, and pacifism—affected traditional gender roles in Argentina and concerned those who saw the home as the rightful place for women.24 Therefore, women in the public sphere were scrutinized by a morality police in the late 1960s (Feijóo and Nari, 1996, 11–12). As a result, censorship was eminently anti-modern, particularly for women’s roles.25

Paternalist repression was also enforced in the cultural realm. One of General Onganía’s first decisions was to put an end to the 50-year-old tradition of autonomy in the universities.26 In an episode known as la noche de los bastones largos [the night of the long sticks] in July 1966, many students were arrested and many professors who resigned or were fired left Argentina, diminishing the country’s cultural capital at a time when it was sorely needed to aid in the modernization process. Another area in which restrictions took place was through the implementation of censorship. It is important to highlight here the contradictory notions that were guiding successive governments after 1955. These ideas simultaneously promised modernization, regulated discursive and social practices, and gradually curtailed constitutional rights. By February 1967, several months after the coup d’état, a climate of indifference prevailed in Argentine society, even among the nationalists who had supported the revolution (Botana, 1973, 31). The following year, (p.22) Onganía’s policies met with considerable resistance from workers belonging to the Confederación General de Trabajadores [General Confederation of Workers] (CGT), and even his military colleagues objected to his methods (Sidícaro, 1993, 335). By 1969, Peter Ranis characterized Argentina as ‘an advantaged society that, weighing all factors, ranks very high among the nations of the world,’ but also considered it a case of ‘arrested development’ given the tensions deriving from the armed forces’ conspicuous intervention in civic life and lack of compromise (1968–1969, 38).27 Halted development paved the way for another change of authorities.

Political unrest and deteriorating economic conditions contributed to the end of the Argentine Revolution.28 May 1969 saw the Cordobazo uprising: in Córdoba, politicized youth and unionized workers of the automobile plants, grouped in two unions, the Sindicatos de Medios y Afines del Transporte Automotor [Union of Means and Parts of the Automotive Transportation] (SMATA) and Luz y Fuerza [Light and Power], whose members came from a middle-class background, vigorously protested against the government. The revolt provoked serious damage in the city, particularly to foreign businesses, such as Xerox and Citröen (Brenan and Gordillo, 1994, 480–98). These foreign businesses in charge of supplying technology and heavy manufacturing along with foreign loans had constituted the pillars of Onganía’s attempt to modernize Argentina (Burdick, 1995, 136). Consequently, they were seen as an obstacle to the resolution of the workers’ plight and as a source of economic oppression. The Cordobazo showed that the economy was impacted by political decisions and vice versa. In other words, while Onganía led the Argentine Revolution, his Minister of the Economy Adalbert Krieger Vasena relied on foreign investments, which the policitized youth saw as examples of neocolonialism and imperialism. Beside more traditional groups—unions and political parties—dissatisfied youth and urban leftist guerrillas were now active on the national stage, demanding nationalist and anti-imperialist policies and proclaiming solidarity with Third World movements (Goebel, 2007, 357). Among the urban guerrillas, there were several groups: three Peronist ones—the Fuerzas Armadas Peronistas [Peronist Armed Forces] (FAP), the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias [Revolutionary Armed Forces] (FAR), and the Montoneros [named after nineteenth-century cavalry forces], made up of leftist Peronists and Catholics—and the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo [People’s Revolutionary Army] (ERP), a Marxist force that had evolved from the Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores [Workers’ Revolutionary Party] (PRT) (Rock, 1993, 214). The Montoneros embraced some of the tenets of the nationalist ideology (Rock, 1993, 218), alluded to the ser nacional [national being], and decried imperialist penetration; thus, for them, the Argentine Revolution had strayed from its patriotic path and they, not the armed forces, were the true defenders of the national being. When on May 29, 1970, the Montoneros kidnapped and killed former President Aramburu in retribution for the executions of Juan José Valle’s (p.23) and the other Peronists’ that took place during his term of office, Onganía’s failure to control the guerrillas became apparent. A week later, he was ousted by the armed forces and Roberto Levingston, an expert in counterinsurgency, was designated president.

The early 1970s saw a succession of brief military and civil governments that alternated amid a climate of growing political division. Military presidents—Roberto Levingston (term of office 1970–1971) and Alejandro Lanusse (term of office 1971–1973)—and democratic presidents—Héctor Cámpora (term of office 1973) and Raúl Lastiri (term of office 1973)—witnessed the escalation of violence carried out by urban guerrillas and the deterioration of living standards.29 Historian Valeria Manzano explains the impact of the unrest: ‘Between 1971 and 1974 almost no sphere of social and cultural life remained untouched by the politicization process’ (2009, 659). Therefore, in a last attempt to pacify the country, Perón was allowed to run for president—after being banned for 18 years—and was re-elected for a third term. Although his return was very much anticipated by unionists, politicized youth, and the working class, managing the conflicting demands of these groups proved to be a formidable task that eventually resulted in his break with the leftist youth (Wynia, 1984, 25). The day of his arrival back in Argentina was marked by fighting between the Peronist left and the Peronist right, in an episode infamously known as ‘the massacre of Ezeiza.’ This was much more than a generational disagreement, for it illustrated the rift between the ageing leader and the radicalized youth, causing even more sociopolitical instability. When Perón died in office in 1974, his third wife María Estela Martínez de Perón (aka Isabel) became president, but sharp divisions between the Argentine right and left and a rapidly declining economy—according to the Inter-American Development Bank, the country’s GDP fell from 6.5 in 1974 to -1.3 in 1975 (Wynia, 1984, 25)—ushered in a new military regime in March 1976.

As this succinct overview shows, during the post-1955 period, competing notions of what Argentina as a nation was and should be conspired against any and every possible kind of consensus. The emergence of the youth and women as new social actors and consumers contributed to rapid change in a society that, at the same time, was being held back by the repressive measures of successive military governments. The push for modernization, necessary to expand the country’s economy, moving it away from its dependence on the primary sector, was a goal shared by the different sectors, but it also generated fears and anxieties about women’s entry into the labor force. For its part, a politicized working class demanded a good standard of living and remained faithful to Perón. Finally, the youth no longer respected the views of older generations and pressed for speedy changes in social relations. Hence a top-down approach in the mid-1960s was deployed to ‘reorder’ Argentine society, but political divisions between those who resisted and those who were loyal to Peronism further complicated that task. In addition, external factors, such as the need to limit Marxism to Cuba and a worldwide (p.24) economic crisis in the early 1970s, also influenced Argentine politics. The fact that every group—the armed forces, Peronists, the working class, union leaders, and radicalized youth—claimed to be the true representative of the national in an effort to authenticate its position, exacerbated rifts that resulted in open confrontations. Thus, the breakdown of the ‘imagined Argentine community’ impacted and was in turn swayed by several circulating versions of Argentine-ness. At a time of heightened passions around the definition of the national being, Argentine filmmakers had to tread lightly so as to not alienate any sector of the domestic audience. During certain administrations, in order to receive financial support from the Instituto Nacional de Cine [National Institute of Cinema] (NIC), producers and directors had to respect the limits on discursive practices and representations imposed by the authorities, as stipulated in the 1957 cinema law.30 In the subsequent chapters, I examine post-1955 Argentine cinema.


(1) Celia Szusterman states that ‘the Libertadora induced the “re-Peronisation” of popular sectors whose fervor for their leader had not been enough to provoke spontaneous mobilisations in his support’ (1993, 3).

(2) Jorge G. Castañeda explains that Perón represented a virulent type of nationalism that was cast in his first election as he ran as a defender of Argentine-ness, as reflected in the motto ‘Braden o Perón’ (2006, 34). (Spruille Braden was the US Ambassador to Argentina.) Szusterman, however, provides evidence of diplomatic communications that showed that just before his removal from office, Perón was actively seeking US investments in Argentina (1993, 5–7).

(3) Laura Podalsky speaks of the lack of consensus in these decades (2004, 6–7).

(4) ‘Modern’ in this case means promoting the ideas of freedom, tolerance, science, progress, and reason (Larraín, 2000, 12).

(5) Valle rebelled against the Revolución libertadora on June 9, 1956, and was shot along with other rebels. Szusterman indicates that ‘in an unprecedented move in Argentine politico-military history, the killings of June 9 underlined the audacity of the Libertadora in punishing dissent with a brutality that Perón never dared apply to his enemies’ (1993, 17).

(6) John King notes that ‘the novelists that represent the ‘boom’ of the Latin American novel in this period—Carlos Fuentes, Julio Cortázar, Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez amongst others—all reflect the optimism that a wave of social change could sweep through the continent’ (1990, 67).

(7) In his inaugural speech in January 1949, President Harry Truman outlined a four-point proposal which mentioned underdevelopment and defined it as a danger to the stability of the Western Hemisphere. He also proposed development as part of a cooperative initiative (not neocolonial) based on science and technology (Latham, 2011, 10–11).

(8) Portantiero explains: ‘entre 1960 y 1968 el monto total de las inversiones norteamericanas en la Argentina subió de 472 millones de dólares a 1,148 (p.25) millones, lo que implica un incremento del 243%, mientras que para América Latina fue del 32%’ [between 1960 and 1968, the total amount of American investment in Argentina increased from $472 million to 1,148 million, which signifies a rise of 243% while the increase of American investment in Latin America was 32%] (1989, 309).

(9) King characterizes the period 1955–1970 as ‘a movement from élite to mass culture, and an expansion of the market-place for cultural products’ (1986, 167).

(10) The Academia Nacional de la Historia, created in 1938, first published its research journal, Investigaciones y ensayos, in 1966 (Goebel, 2011, 31).

(11) For sociologist Ricardo Sidícaro, the two main features of modern Western countries in the second half of the twentieth century were the formation of a nation state and an industrial economy (2013, 129).

(12) In 1964, the Brazilian president João Goulart, who favored radical changes, was deposed by a military regime that had the support of the United States. My own research at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library suggests that the Argentine armed forces sought to present the 1966 coup d’état as a way to stop a communist threat in order to receive military aid and technology similar to that which Brazil obtained from the US. See my ‘La posición norteamericana respecto al golpe de Estado en la Argentina, 1966.’

(13) Luis Donatello and Fortunato Mallimaci state that ‘a fin de que América Latina no deviniera en comunista, se proponían una serie de políticas que implicaban su desarrollo: el control de la natalidad, la urbanización de su población y la secularización de su cultura’ [so that Latin America would not become communist, a series of policies that implied its development was proposed: birth control, urbanization of the population, and secularization of its culture] (2013, 151).

(14) For an intellectual response to Frondizi, please see Leonardo Candiano’s ‘David Viñas y la traición Frondizi. De Contorno a Dar la cara.

(15) During this period, the armed forces were divided into reds (colorados) and blues (azules). The main difference between them was in their involvement in military coups. The blues held that a prolonged intervention would damage the reputation of the forces (Rock 1993, 193–95). Curiously, Onganía, who staged a coup in 1966, was a blue supporter.

(16) According to Antonius Robben, ‘On the economic front, almost 4 million workers participated in the occupation of eleven thousand factories during seven operations’ (2005, 34).

(18) Donatello and Mallimaci point out a crucial paradox: ‘estas fuerzas universitarias católicas apoyarán primero el golpe de estado de Onganía, para ser luego reprimidas por la intervención a las Universidades Nacionales gestionada por funcionarios—también ellos—católicos’ [these Catholic university forces first support the Onganía coup d’état only to be repressed later, during the intervention of the National Universities implemented by fellow Catholic officials] (2013, 158).

(19) For Alain Rouquié, Onganía’s coup was part of a Western and pro-American policy (1982, 134).

(p.26) (20) The return to a pre-1945 state of affairs was also unsustainable. Podalsky argues that ‘despite its evident appeal to those elite sectors wishing to recuperate a lost utopia, the vision of Buenos Aires being promoted in the 1960s was firmly aligned with the middle class’ (2004, 7).

(21) Oscar Terán explains the emergence of different ideological trends: one that considered Peronism as ‘un hecho maldito’ [accursed event] and a liberal one that saw in the popular classes’ support of Peronism a sign that the post-1955 governments lacked legitimacy (1993, 57).

(22) In the first months of the dictatorship, Marcha, the Uruguayan weekly with a pro-Cuban, anti-imperialist leaning, was forbidden for publishing an interview in which Perón criticized Onganía (King 1986, 183). Tía Vicenta, another weekly that used humor and caricatures, was also censored (Sidícaro, 1993, 326).

(23) Not all Catholics shared the same views. Some supported leaders who later repressed them. For more on this, please see Julio Pinto and Fortunato Mallimaci (ed.), La influencia de las religiones en el estado y la nación argentina.

(24) Women working in the public administration were not allowed to wear miniskirts (Sayago, 2008, 135).

(25) Colom González holds that, ‘el sujeto moderno, libre del anclaje de la fe y la tradición, nació del proceso de pensarse soberano de sí mismo’ [the modern subject, free from the anchoring of faith and tradition, emerged out of the process of imagining himself as sovereign of himself] (2009, 15).

(26) For Aníbal Quijano, intervention in the universities is an example of modernity as a legitimizing ideological form that clearly goes against its discourse (1990, 15). That is to say, Onganía brandished the banner of modernization, only to resort to an authoritarian regime.

(27) Some of the indicators that Ranis considered were: the population increase from 20 million (1961) to 22 million (1965), the fact that 48% of the Argentine population resided in cities (69% of men and 65% of women), which put Argentina at number four on the list of 125 nations, a literacy rate of 91%, and good access to medical care (one physician for every 660 people) (1968–1969, 21–23).

(28) Quijano identifies the crisis of the capitalist society at the end of the 1960s (1990, 19).

(29) Montoneros was involved in the resonant executions of Rucci, a unionist, in September 1973, and former Minister of the Interior Arturo Mor Roig, during whose tenure 17 terrorists were killed in a Trelew naval base in July 1974. For more on this, please see Pablo Giussani (1984, 71–100).

(30) For more on censorship, please see my article ‘Film Censorship in Argentina 1956–1976.’