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Anticommunism in 20th-Century Chile: From the “Social Question” to the Military Dictatorship  

Marcelo Casals

Anticommunism was a central force in the history of the Chilean political conflict in the 20th century. Not only did several political actors define their identities and actions by their opposition to Marxist-inspired revolutionary projects, but also the state in different moments excluded and persecuted everything identified as “communist.” To a great extent, anticommunism relied on three main “frameworks”: Catholicism, nationalism, and liberalism, all of which were crucial elements in the construction of the Republic since the 19th century. Different combinations and interpretations within each framework resulted in different anticommunist expressions, from pro-fascist movements and nationalist groups to the conservative-liberal right wing, the Social Christian center and even moderate socialists. Many of them, especially in the second half of the 20th century, understood anticommunism as a defense of different variations of capitalism. Of course, anticommunism was not a uniquely Chilean phenomenon. It was, in fact, an ideological trend worldwide. This conditioned the reception in Chile of global events and ideas, while it enabled the construction of transnational networks among related actors. The enactment of the Law of Permanent Defense of Democracy in 1948, which outlawed the Communist Party, symbolized the alignment of Chilean politics to Cold War bipolarity. However, the Marxist left was able to recover during the “long Sixties,” in a political and cultural environment marked by the Cuban Revolution. The Popular Unity government was the materialization of all anticommunist fears. The counter-revolutionary bloc created then paved the way to the 1973 coup and the subsequent military dictatorship, which used anticommunism as state ideology. Human rights violations were legitimated by the dictatorship from that ideological framework. Anticommunism decayed by the late 1980s alongside socialist experiences around the world.

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Digital Resources: José de San Martín and the Independence of Latin America  

Sebastian Raya

The documents in General José de San Martín’s collection offer detailed knowledge about the man he was, his thoughts, and his actions. In turn, the collection allows scholars to glimpse the rise of American independence movements through a leading American revolutionary. These documents date from 1723 to 1850; however, the majority of them date from 1814 to 1823. The records mainly cover the Argentine and South American territory although there is some foreign affairs material. In general, the collection mainly comprises correspondence carried out by José de San Martín, but there is also documentation of a military nature—trades, copybooks of military orders, parts of battles, files, and some sketches and drawings of plans—as well as a few personal papers. These documents were published for the first time in 1910 by the National Centennial Commission with the assistance of the Mitre Museum, who has been in charge of the documents since 1907 when the museum was established. In 1953, the Sanmartiniano Institute began to track, photograph, and compile all relevant documents about San Martín that were in private and public collections. Despite the historical relevance of the character for Latin American countries and for studies on Latin American independence, the documents published in volumes are digitized in a very irregular way and are difficult to access. However, other essential resources are also needed online to allow the user to access a comprehensive overview of the life and work of the liberator.

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Montoneros: The Rise and Fall of the Argentine Guerrilla  

Esteban Campos

The Montoneros were the main guerrilla organization in Argentina, in terms of their proximity to power and the influence of their youth, trade union, territorial, and women’s organizations, which could mobilize thousands of followers. In some respects, their trajectory represents a chapter in the history of urban guerrillas in the Southern Cone region, with social roots in the middle and upper classes of the large cities and a political culture renewed by the New Left in the 1960s, which in the Montoneros was expressed by the fusion of Catholic youth and the Marxist Left. But what made this armed vanguardist organization unique, with its goal of taking power in order to build socialism, was its conflict-ridden inclusion in the populist movement headed by the charismatic leadership of General Juan Domingo Perón. Between 1970 and 1983, the Montoneros carried out small- and large-scale armed actions, embedded themselves in public institutions and governmental structures, and developed their own network of publications, clandestine printworks, and arms factories. After the military coup in 1976, the Montoneros leadership in exile forged links with sectors as diverse as the Palestine Liberation Organization, the international human rights movement, and European social democratic parties, although it could not prevent the mass assassination of its militants by the illegal repression of the dictatorship.

Article

Rock Nacional in Argentina during the Dictatorship  

Timothy Wilson and Mara Favoretto

In the 20th century Argentina experienced a series of dictatorial regimes of varying intensity, but the last dictatorship stands apart. The Process of National Reorganization or Proceso (1976–1983) was not only the most brutally repressive, “disappearing” 30,000 of its own citizens into concentration camps, but also the most ambitious in terms of ideological mission. Its campaign, officially called “the war against subversion,” was committed to the total eradication of leftist ideas from the political landscape of the country by any means necessary. This radical transformation was to be brought about not only in the torture chamber, but in the media as well. The regime planned an Orwellian redefinition of words: the systematic creation of a national vocabulary that would exclude certain ideas and parties. In order to achieve its overt project of the appropriation of language, the junta maintained obsessive control over the media, instituted strict censorship reinforced by terror, and bombarded the airwaves and newspapers with official communiqués. In the face of this repression, most journalists and writers and many artists could not express dissent of any kind. Yet singers of a new Argentine music genre that came to be known as rock nacional developed codified and oblique metaphorical expression in their lyrics that allowed them to evade censorship and to continue to criticize the military regime with relative impunity. Moreover, many Argentine youths found solace in the music and used it to create communities in which they could meet and express themselves. The regime had sought to deny young Argentines a forum for public speech; however, together artists and listeners created a rock nacional culture that provided community for the isolated and lent a voice to the silenced.