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By Guido Di Tella

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Extra resources for Argentina under Perón, 1973–76: The Nation’s Experience with a Labour-based Government

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As one can imagine, the Government was soon accused of having fascist leanings. However, despite the fascist origins of a proportion of its leadership and the initial ideological preferences of its leader, the urban and the working masses succeeded in instilling a popular character into the movement and to a large extent into the entire regime. What is puzzling is that non-democratic practices are usually implemented by minority parties which cannot win in any other way; the Peronists were able to win elections by substantial margins but also thought it necessary to take coercive measures quite unnecessary for electoral success.

The only opposition party of any significance, the UCR, vigorously criticised a situation in which 'the Government has taken over full political, economic and cultural control, wiping out the freedom of the press and of the radio, reducing the [Justicialista) party to an autocratic group led in an autocratic manner by the Government itself' (La Prensa, 17 Dec 1948). While these high handed policies were not new to the country - and continued after 1955 - they were conducted in a different style.

The Government was culturally nationalistic. This nationalism ranged from an attempt to emphasise some presumably forgotten values of Argentina's cultural tradition to a merely anti-foreign attitude. Indeed, some of the questions posed by this attempt to revive a 'national and a popular culture' were more interesting than the jejune results, limited to the picturesque. In any case, most intellectuals, with the initial exception of the Catholic nationalistic minority, were strongly antagonised by the new cultural policies and by the way in which they were 'imposed upon the intellectual production of the country, as well as upon its transmission, something ...

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