Sunday, May 13, 2012
[Start][Previously on]

I settled in a residential neighborhood, in an elegant, European house. I discovered – it was impossible not to and not to do so quickly – that this country had been made to be European. And it even managed. (With these digressions of little import I only put off telling you what I should have already told you. Here, in Argentina, only one thing, a single intolerable event happened to me and only that should I tell you. I won’t be long.)

Suppose I pause for some paradoxes. Let’s suppose that having suggested (does a father suggest?) not deciphering this country I’m obliged to decipher it for you. I’ll do the (im)possible.

A European country, I said. Unreservedly they named themselves the Silver Athens, also the Paris of Latin America. It was correct: the sectors in charge (those called oligarchy) built Parisian palacetes, exquisite public buildings and even an immoderate opera theater, of an offensive opulence. These people, the oligarchy, speak in French and sell meat and wheat to England. Then, the military; last year they had a coup d'état; something that, almost with a simplistic quality, they call golpe. Last year’s was “el del ‘43”. It seems that earlier, there was another: “el del ‘30”. It seems they expect more. Like the sun rises or it rains. Like cattle fatten, like wheat grows, so they expect them. They are a natural part of the country; a disgrace, a benediction. Or neither of those things: How can one morally qualify a natural event?

El del ’30 was pro-Germanic. I’ve been told, proudly, that the general that presided over it even managed to talk over the telephone with Marshall Hindenburg, informing him, through that medium, the good news and his admiration for the German nation. At times it is difficult to believe the events that manage to fill men with pride. I learned that the pro-German general from ’30 read a proclamation the day of the golpe, written by a bard that was said to be the national poet; his name, Leopoldo Lugones. This man, already in 1924, had eulogized, as symbol of the military soul, the sword. His hour, once again and for the good of the world, he said, had arrived. The day of the golpe, the pro-Germanic general, another poet, or, shall we say, feverish orator, specialist, I was told, in a peculiar lyrical genre (by chance native to these latitudes) that was called, by him, patriotic harangue, had gathered a group of cadets and, I was told, with a booming voice, he harangued them patriotically in the following way: “I will direct you my words, quick like a rifle shot”; a sentence worthy of the Duce.


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