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A short history of money.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà, Brauli Tamarit Tamarit.

Communal Capitalism.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.

An instrument to build peace.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.

Semitic legends concerning the bank.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.

Telematic currency and market strategy.
Magdalena Grau, Agustí Chalaux.

The power of money.
Martí Olivella.

The best president of Argentina: a historical article on Arturo Illia.


House of Government of Argentina in front of Plaça de Mayo. Photo: GameOfLight, Wikipedia.In this report we recall an ethical politician who attains the presidency of his country in a democratic way, and introduces proposals to benefit his people. His disposition, both honest and courageous, makes him adopt measures which cause the reaction of the powers that be, and this brings about a coup d’état which removes him from power.

From the Centre d’Estudis Joan Bardina we are grateful to the work of those who wrote this report in homage to Arturo Umberto Illia, calling for an economical, political and social system which will make possible for people with an ethical disposition to hold posts of political responsibility, avoiding the contradictions between the means used and the purpose of service to the community.

Team of the Centre d’Estudis Joan Bardina.
Friday, April 6, 2018.
Translation: Loto Perrella.

The club of lost books.

Argentina. Arturo Illia. A coup d’état.

The best president of Argentina: A historical report on Arturo Illia.

35 years ago, on January 18, 1983, died in poverty the former President Arturo Illia. Being a doctor, he spent his last days working in a friend’s bakery, since he had renounced his retirement.

Among his belongings there was only a pair of shoes.

He had no car, as he had sold it during his mandate to pay for the medical treatment for his spouse, who would finally die of cancer.

He acted as a doctor at Cruz del Eje, Cordoba, where he was called the “Apostle of the Poor”, because he looked after the resourceless patients, which he visited on horseback, on a sulky or on foot, buying himself their remedies.

Nobel prize Federico Leloir, according to Marcos Aguinis, had the courage to rebuke those who tried to diminish Arturo Illia’s heritage, by saying: “Argentina had a very short Golden Age in the arts, science and culture: that was from 1963 to 1966.”

Arturo Illia (1900-1983).
Arturo Illia (1900-1983).

When Arturo Umberto Illia took on power as president (1963-1966), his sworn declaration included a fixed date savings, a car and his home at Cruz del Eje. His house had been a present from his neighbours, his patients and his friends.

When he went out of office, there was only left his house, four suits, and some other personal garments.

Arturo Illia fought his whole life for the rights of the weak, showing the whole country and the other South American countries, that it is possible to be the head of the Government of a Republic without forfeiting one’s ethical values and ideological principles, he run the country for the people, without ever favouring personal political or party considerations, but always making the best choice for his country, its political sovereignty and for the reinforcement of the democratic institutions.

It is now the time of national reparation, to which we all have something to contribute. This is the time of the great democratic revolution, the only one the people want and hopes for; peaceful, yes, but ethical, profound and life-giving, which, on restoring the moral forces of the nation, will allow us to face a promising destiny with faith and hope.”

Arturo Umberto Illia.

This was his message on being appointed president.

Front page of a magazine: “A doctor for a sick country: Arturo Illia.”
Front page of a magazine: “A doctor for a sick country: Arturo Illia.”

It is important to point out from his administration: the promotion of the Medicines Law, the Law of the Basic Vital and Movable Salary, the revocation of the Oil Contracts, the revocation of the Reserved Expenditure, the defence of the Sovereignty of the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands before the UNO, and to earmark a 25% of the national budget for Education, the largest amount up to then in the country’s history, and also to secure that civil rights be kept in force, public freedom, and the adoption of a sovereign and mutually binding foreign policy, mainly with respect to developing peoples, and besides he carried out a literacy campaign and reduced unemployment... all of it in less than three years.

“What our democracy needs is to be a real expression of its true essence. The important thing is not that the social meaning of democracy be in our political declarations or party statutes, but that Argentineans show the decision and the courage to bring it to practice.”

Arturo Umberto Illia.

His Government administration.

Arturo Illia took charge as President on October 12, 1963. His first government decision was to eliminate the restrictions concerning Peronism. Since the Freedom Revolution this party’s demonstrations had been forbidden by the Decreto 4161/56. However, five days after Illia took control there was a Commemoration Act for 17th October in the Miserere Square without any limitations. The electoral restrictions were also lifted, allowing Peronism to take part in the legislative elections of 1965. In the same way was lifted the prohibition weighing on the Communist Party, and sanctions were enacted against racial discrimination and violence.

Jairo tells a family story with Arturo Illia as the main character.
4 minutes 22 seconds video.

Law of the basic, vital and updatable salary.

On June 15, 1964, is published in the Official Gazette the Law 16,459, on the basic, vital and movable salary, prior to the constitution of a Salary Council, made up by people from the government, employers and trade unions.

Among the goals appeared the need to “avoid the workers’ exploitation in those areas where there may be an excess of manpower”, “to ensure an appropriate basic income”, and to “improve the salaries for workers in need”.

The same goal caused the introduction of the Law of Provisioning, in order to control the prices of the family shopping basket, and to establish minimum amounts for retirements and pensions.

We must fight for man himself, because it is human evidence which causes tyrants and false gods to wobble. And when we don’t know for sure that our truth is the truth, we know well, on the contrary, where is untruth.”

Arturo Umberto Illia.

The oil policy.

The Argentinean President talks to the public.
The Argentinean President talks to the public.

During his mandate, Arturo Frondizi’s government had started a policy of oil exploitation, based on the concession of the oil fields to private companies, while the state company Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales (YPF), reserved for itself the exploration and the purchase of the production from the licence holders. Besides the economic and trade arguments (such as the attribution of the management risk to YPF, which had to invest in new explorations, or the increase of the prices of fuel), Illia’s electoral platform denounced the concessions policy as it was considered contrary to national interests, and committed itself to cancel the concession contracts.

On November 15, 1963, Illia signed the Decretos 744/63 and 745/63 which cancelled the above-mentioned contracts “because their illegitimacy and being harmful to the rights and interests of the Nation”.


During his administration, education had an important weight in the National Budget. In 1963, its participation was 12%, in 1964 it was 17%, in 1965 it was 23%.

On November 5, 1964, starts the National Literacy Campaign, with the purpose of reducing the illiteracy, which at the time was just above 10% of adult population. In June 1965 the Programme had twelve thousand five hundred literacy centres and its work reached 350,000 pupils between 18 and 85 years of age.

Between 1963 and 1966, 40,000 students graduated from the UBA, the highest number in the whole history of the institution.

The Law of Medicines.

Law 16,462, also called Law Oñativia in honour of the Health Minister Arturo Oñativia, was approved by all the blocks, excluding UDELPA and the Centre Parties Federation, and was sanctioned on August 28, 1964. It established a policy of prices and control of medicines, freezing prices at the level they had in 1963, introducing limitations to the advertising expenses, and to the possibility of making payments abroad as gifts and to buy materials. The Law’s regulation, through Decreto 3042/65, fixed besides the duty for the companies to submit through a sworn declaration an analysis of costs, and to put in order all the existing royalty contracts.

This law comes into being after a study carried out by a committee created by President Illia of 300,000 medicine samples. Many of these medicines were not produced according to the formula declared by the laboratory, and their price exceeded by 1000% the production costs.

Supporters, opponents and impartial observes agreed on the fact that this policy had a decisive weight on the political process which ended with the overthrow of the president by a military coup d’état.

Our social order will be just only when we succeed in bringing about that human resources, together with the technical advancement of the country, ensure for the Argentinean to be able to meet their physical and spiritual needs.”

Arturo Umberto Illia.

Economic policy.

As far as economy was concerned, Arturo Illia’s government introduced a policy for ordaining the public sector, diminishing national debt, and promoting industrialization. The Syndicate of State Companies was created for a more effective control of public enterprises.

The Gross National Product evolution during that time was -2.4% for 1963, 10.3% for 1964, and 9.1% for 1965. The evolution of the Gross Industrial Product was -4.1% for 1963, 18.9% for 1964, and 13.8% for 1965. The national debt went down from 3,400 million dollars to 2,600 millions.

The actual salary hour rate increased 9.6% between December 1963 and December 1964. Unemployment went down from 8.8% in 1963 to 5.2% in 1966.

The overthrow.

On June 28, 1966 at dawn, Illia was in the Government Hall, together with his ministers, collaborators, some national radical senators and members of Parliament. At 5.10 a.m. that day (it was a Tuesday) entered general Julio Alsogaray, the chief of the Military House, brigadier Rodolfo Pío Otero, colonel Luis Perlinger, and a group of officers.

Argentinean President Arturo Umberto Illia in public.
Argentinean President Arturo Umberto Illia in public.

This reconstructed dialogue was published by the magazine “Somos” on January 21, 1983:

Alsogaray: “I come following order of the commander-in-chief...”.

Illia: “I am the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. (He indicates a book that is on one side of his table). My authority arises from this Constitution that we have carried out and that you too have sworn to carry out. At most, you are a rebel general who is deceiving his soldiers.

Alsogaray: In the name of the Armed Forces I ask you to leave this office. The granadiers escort will show you out.

Illia: You do not represent the Armed Forces, just a group of rebels. You and those who are with you are acting as night highwaymen…

Alsogaray: Mr. Presid... (he rectifies) Dr. Illia...

Several voices: “Mr. President!”

Alsogaray: In order to avoid acts of violence, I ask you again to leave this house.

Illia: It is you who are causing violence. You have no relationship with the San Martín and the Belgrano Army. You have done much harm to the country and will go on doing so. The country will condemn you for this usurpation...

Alsogaray: You are taking things too far, Dr. Illia. We grant you will be taken to your residence of Olivos. We grant your physical security.

Illia: My personal wellbeing doesn’t worry me. I stay here working in the place the law and my duty show me. As commander in chief I order you to leave.

Alsogaray: I only receive orders from the Army commander in chief.

Illia: I am the only commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. You are the rebels. Get out!

The army chiefs leave the President’s office. At 6 a.m. Colonel Perlinger comes together with some subordinate officers. Perlinger advances on the left to Illia’s table and says with a firm voice:

Perlinger: Dr. Illia, in the name of the Armed Forces I come to tell you that you have been removed.

Illia: I have already told general Alsogaray that you do not represent the Armed Forces.

Perlinger: I rectify. In the name of the forces I have...

Illia: Bring these forces.

Perlinger: Do not push me...

Illia: You are the ones using force, not I.

Argentinean President Arturo Umberto Illia, sitting, delivering a speech.
Argentinean President Arturo Umberto Illia, sitting, delivering a speech.

The young should never accept to have the most important right human beings have to be taken from them, and that is the freedom to think.”

Arturo Umberto Illia.

Perlinger and his companions go away. At 7.25 Perlinger comes back, this time at the head of a group of men from the infantry guard of the Federal Police, carrying gas throwing guns.

Perlinger: Dr. Illia, your physical safety is fully granted, but I cannot say the same for the persons who are with you. They will be dislodged by force.

Illia: Your conscience will reproach you what you are doing. (addressing the police force): Many of you will feel ashamed for executing the contemptible orders of someone who is not even your commander. Remember: when you tell your children what you did in this moment, you will feel ashamed...

Perlinger: Dr. Illia, we will have to use force...

Illia: It is the only thing you have...

Perlinger (forcibly to his aides): Two officers to guard Dr. Illia, the others to move forwards and dislodge the hall.

The troop advanced, but the two officers set to guard Illia could not do so, because he was immediately surrounded by his people. There was some struggle, but in a few minutes the office was dislodged. Illian and his people went down the stairs to the ground floor, followed closely by the small battalion of gas throwers. It was 7.40 a.m. and on the pavement of Plaza de Mayo and of the Banco de la Nación, were several dozen soldiers on their stomach pointing to the Casa Rosada with their rifles. At 7.45 a.m. Illia got on a taxi bound for this brother’s home in Martinez.

“Somos” did not reproduce the dialogues faithfully. Other witnesses let us introduce some important expressions after mentioning that almost the whole of the balbinist team was with Illia in that situation. Alsogaray had put himself at the left of President Illia, who didn’t lift his head, didn’t even look at him and keeping unperturbed, went on with what he was doing at that moment. That annoyed the military who, angrily tried to snatch a photograph that Illia at that moment was signing for one of his collaborators (an employee from his private secretariat, or the head of it, Miguel Angel López, or an orderly, depending on the different versions). Illia stopped the military from snatching the photograph and this was followed by a part of the dialogue that the mentioned magazine did not consider:

Alsogaray: Stop this, let me...

Illia: Shut up... I don’t know you. Who are you?

Alsogaray: I am general Alsogaray...

Illia: You wait. I am attending to this citizen. Which is your name, friend?

Alsogaray: Show me consideration...

Illia: (After signing the photograph) This young man is more than you. He is a worthy and noble citizen. (Standing up and addressing the general) What do you want?

Alsogaray: I come on orders from the commaner-in-chief...

After that takes place the dialogue we have already reproduced, with one difference:

Alsogaray: As a representation of the Armed Forces I ask you to leave this office.

Illia: You do not represent the Armed Forces, you only represent a group of rebels. You and those who are with you are acting like night highwaymen, who like bandits appear at dawn to occupy the Government Premises...

Years later, colonel Luis C. Perlinger sent the following note to Dr. Illia:

“At the beginning of 1966, while you were the President of the Country, I had some meetings in Mar del Plata and in Buenos Aires with some generals who had high positions in the EMGE whom I tried to persuade not to break the constitutional order. Being my address useless, and following the wrong idea that the unity of the force jeopardized by isolated cases of opposition was more important than respect for Constitution, I submitted to the movement which exploded on June 28.

Not looked for circumstances, which however happen often to men of action, gave me an important part in your removal from office.

In a presentation of June 1976, which I distributed profusely, and which I took care that it was sent to you too, I wrote: “Ten years ago the Army ordered me to dislodge the president’s office. Then Dr. Illia, calmly advanced towards me and repeated several times: Your children will blame you for this. You were absolutely right! I have been blaming myself for a long time now because then I walked into the trap of helping to dislodge an authentic national movement.

That morning you gave me an unforgettable lesson of civism. My public acknowledgement of my error in 1976, even if it cannot make up for the damage I caused, it gives you, one of the great democrats of our country, the satisfaction that your last government act was to transform into a real democrat the man who was dislodging you with the force of arms from your constitutional post...”

Title page of newspaper “El Litoral”: “Dr. Illia’s government removed from office. J. Onganía acting President”.
Title page of newspaper “El Litoral”: “Dr. Illia’s government removed from office. J. Onganía acting President”.

The lack of ostentation is fundamental for any man who wishes to carry out an educational action of any sort... to be useful one must be austere, altruistic and modest.”

Arturo Umberto Illia.

“The coup d’état of June 28, 1966, which overthrew the constitutional government, was one of the most damaging acts for the institutional continuity and the factual socioeconomic development of Argentina. It responded to several causes: a possible return of Peronism, its clash with the oils capitals and the multinational pharmaceutical companies, the extraordinary psychological campaign in all the mass media, and a new coalition between the trade union hierarchies and the military authorities (with a Francoist orientation and inspired in the Doctrine of National Security) are the most mentioned.

Even if it not frequently said, to avoid being categorized as politically incorrect, it must be pointed out that the coup against Illia was possible mainly through the military-trade-union Peronist pact or alliance, of corporativist tradition and Francoist reminiscence.

Why a pact? Because every pact implies a counterbenefit between the intervening parts, and the military-tradeunionist Preronist pact expressed itself in an escalade of unionist violence which took the form of a struggle plan which implied occupation of factories as dictated by CGT and executed with chronometric accuracy, which ended with the dictator government of Onganía, who delivered the control of the social works to Peronists trade-unions, which implies an actual hindrance of fascistoid corporativism and a debt of the democratic state even today. This has meant that the members of the unions and social works had not a good and effective medical assistance, and the union executives were corrupt and enriched themselves.

That pact between the right-wing trainees military and the Peronist trade-unions has been held thoroughly up to the present, and has been the way for the irregular funding of Peronism through the contribution of all Argentinean workers, badly administered and directed, according to Diego Barovero.

Arturo Umberto Illia taking a drink.
Arturo Umberto Illia taking a drink.

Perón supported and sympathized with the coup.

The evidence can be found in the archives. At the end of June, while general Juan Carlos Onganía took the oath of office as the new president, Perón welcomed at Puerta de Hierro journalist Tomás Eloy Martínez, sent by the Primera Plana Magazine, and told him: “As far as I am concerned this coup is a friendly movement because it has cut short a situation which could not go on. Every Argentinean felt this way. Onganía put an end to a phase of true corruption. Illia had held up the country enforcing structures of the nineteenth century, when the middle-class demo-liberalism appears, fragmenting political parties. If the new government acts well, it will succeed.”

“The coup d’état of 1966 didn’t have only two actors, among other things, because of the destabilizing role played by Peronism.”

As proof of the Peronist support to the coup, it has been usual to point out that important leaders, such as the metallurgist Augusto Vandor, were present when the new dictator took the oath of office at the Casa Rosada. However, the leader’s word seems more significant that the political gestures of that trade-union leader, afterwards a rebel, who finished his days assassinated by a guerrilla cell.

What was published by Primera Plana on June 30, 1966, appears in the site El historiador, by Felipe Pigna, who is not usually defined as a gorilla by Peronist historiography. There Perón says: “I sympathize with the military movement because the new government puts a stop to a disastrous situation. As an Argentinean I would have supported any man ready to put an end to the corruption of the Illia Governement. As with fish, corruption started in the head. Illia used fraud, deceit, prohibitions; he thought that politics was to play with advantage, and in politics, as in life, all cardsharps finish at Villa Devoto. The man who put an end to this, I must find him agreeable of course, but I don’t know if this will go in future. The fault with the present government is that it does not know exactly what it wants, but the problem will come when it opens the parcel, because they don’t know what is in there.”

A fragment from Pablo Mendelvich for La Nación.

Link to the original article in Spanish:

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