A Novel of Argentina
Robert H. Wright, Jr.
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Argentina pretends to be governed as a democracy, a federal republic presided over by a president with legislative powers residing in a senate and a chamber of deputies. Supposedly, the law of the land is their constitution of 1853, a noble document emulating the ideals of the constitution of the United States of America. Constitutional documents notwithstanding, historical records suggest that something other than a democratic form of government is practiced there. For recent examples, take note that Ramon S. Castillo acceded to the presidency during 1942when the incumbent, Presidente Roberto M. Ortiz, was compelled to give up the office due to ill health. Scarcely one year later, General Arturo Rawson removed Presidente Castillo from office. Subsequently, Rawson himself was forced out and the presidency passed to General Pedro Ramrez. Ramrez was ousted by a coup dtat in 1943 and was replaced by a junta from which Coronel Juan Domingo Pern ultimately rose to power. Pern was actually elected to the presidency three times: first, in 1946, and again in 1952; his turn to walk the plank did not come until three years laterwhen he was deposed by the military and General Eduardo Lonardi took charge as provisional president. [Beyond the time span of our story, Pern returned to Argentina from exile in Spain in 1973 and was again elected to the presidency that same year; he died in office during 1974.] Less than two months from Pern being deposed by General Lonardi in 1955, Lonardi was shoved aside by General Pedro Eugenio Aramburu. Most recently, Arturo Frondizi succeeded Aramburu by winning the general election of 1958. Like so, the political cycles in the history of this democracy continue. The cycles always begin with the army taking over and always endor begin once againwith the army taking over, it all having more or less first begun with General Juan Manuel de Rosas way back in 1829. Carlos Eduardo Pagano had always had three great passions: his beloved country, Argentina; his passion for technology; and his love for his childhood companion, Juan Ricardo Beln. As circumstance and happenstance would have it, two of these passions are violently wrested from Carloss life when opposing political ambitions lead to bickering within the Argentine army and the result becomes the tragic death of Carloss friend plus the destruction of the huge electrical power plant where Carlos was employed. Thus, in the political turmoil of Buenos Aires during 1962, an apolitical Carlos is unwillingly drawn into political activism to avenge the death of his best friend; and, as young love has just begun to blossom, the brash and beautiful Luca Beatriz Blanco will not be denied playing a role at his side. Their strategy becomes to persuade the body politic to consent to a national referendum for eliminating Argentinas armed forcesand this in a nation where the military has always ruled with jackboot tactics. Carlos and Luca become lovers as well as the conscience of Argentina as they orchestrate a quixotic effort that places them squarely on the path of the steamroller that is Argentinas autistic military establishment.