CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
It was the first year after World War II. Five Nazis were convicted in the Nuremberg trials. Eniac, the first electronic computer, was developed. The nations of Yugoslavia, Syria and India were born. Austria recovered its identity and borders. The first bikini was on sale in France. The most relevant news in Latin America was the brilliant debut in the political scene of a military man who would redefine in the world the notions of populism and charisma, known as Peronism
Juan Domingo Perón was a military man with a large military track record, the father of Latin American populism and one of the most influential persons in his country (Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation)
His last name incarnated not only a political movement, but
the Argentinean way. After almost four decades since his death,
he continues being a controversial, influential person, and
synonym of Latin American radical populism. The movement formed
by him is still in force.
But in 1946, not all of that was known about Juan Domingo Perón, although one year earlier, the first anti-Perón front had been created.
By then, he was just a colonel who had advanced rapidly in his military career. He took part in a coup d'état that toppled civilian President Ramón Castillo and put Pedro Ramírez. He was first Secretary of War. Later, especially as Secretary of Labor, he had a reputation as friend of working sectors and encouraged the organization of trade unions.
Of course, being so popular won him enemies inside the military government. On October 10th, 1945, he was forced to resign and imprisoned in Martín Island. His seclusion lasted one week only. Workers staged surprisingly large demonstrations. It was the first of many times that Perón would fill Plaza de Mayo with his beloved "shirtless" or "little black necks," as he called his followers, most of them of indigenous complexion. Less than three months later, the coupster colonel was elected president for the first time. He would take office two more times. While he was a retired officer, he continued wearing his uniform in most events.
Perón and his second wife, Evita, became a religion. In 1949, he reformed the Constitution to add women's right to vote, the social role of ownership and market social economy.
In 1951, he was reelected. In 1952, Evita died, leaving an enormous void. She was more popular and loved than Perón himself. In 1955, a military junta overthrew him.
His movement -officially known as justicialism, but better known as "Peronism"- was banned. Perón was in Venezuela where, according to the legend, he met his third wife, Isabelita. Then, he proceeded to Spain. Some say that he was toppled for breaking a wealthy nation; others say that it was because of his sectarianism -he even took renowned writer Jorge Luis Borges out of his job at the Municipal Library to made him an inspector of birds and eggs; nationalization of the mass media; the framing of an impressive propaganda apparatus, and the dire statement "To the enemies not even justice."
An old, tired Perón won again the presidential election in 1973 and died one year later. He opened the door to a terrible seven-year term of military dictatorships. But nowadays, Los muchachos peronistas [the Perón's kids] continues being an anthem, a tango, like the Argentinean soul.
5.- Renewed status
6.- Radio Capital
9.- Cyber Radio
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