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117. ramón falcón & juan alberto lartigau ◊

A fourteen-year-old Yiddish-speaking boy, born in a shtetl outside of Kiev, forced to work since the age of ten, is shot during the 1905 Russian revolution. Wounded, he spends six months in jail. Three years later he moves to Argentina to join his brother. Within a few months he leaves the Jewish neighborhood of Once, learns Spanish, finds non-Jewish roommates, and gets a job as a machinist in an Italian-owned metal shop. He frequents the Biblioteca Rusa where he absorbs the vigorous discussions promoting anarchism.

Barely a year after his arrival, this teenager witnesses the mayhem of the 1909 May Day demonstrations. The police fire upon the protesters. Anarchists shoot back. At least five dead and dozens wounded. The days that follow are a week of violent reprisals and protests. Sixty thousand people march to the funerals for those who died on May 1. Riots continue along with demands for the removal of police chief Ramón Falcón.

Tensions continue throughout the year. Our teenager, Simon Radowitzky, closely follows the movements of the police chief. On 14 November 1909, Coronel Falcón and his aide twenty-year-old Juan Alberto Lartigau ride through Recoleta. As their car approaches the corner of Callao and Quintana, a bomb is thrown inside. The explosion follows. Neither man is killed instantly. Their injuries are severe. Both will die before nightfall.

Appropriately, Falcón & Lartigau are buried next to each other in Recoleta Cemetery, both with fantastic monuments. Lartigau has a group of angels watching over his collapsed body in a Pietà-inspired scene. Beneath his name is the date of the bombing with a note that the tomb was paid for by public donations… wrought-iron gates add a nice touch. The Jewish community in Buenos Aires also donated a plaque:

Juan Alberto Lartigau, Recoleta Cemetery

Juan Alberto Lartigau, Recoleta Cemetery

Juan Alberto Lartigau, Recoleta Cemetery

Juan Alberto Lartigau, Recoleta Cemetery

Juan Alberto Lartigau, Recoleta Cemetery

Alongside is the severe vault of Ramón Falcón. He lies sculpted in effigy while someone above fights a Sphinx… half-woman, half-lion, sometimes winged (not in this case). Two robed statues of women in mourning approach Falcón, & the entire monument is covered in plaques:

Ramón Falcón, Recoleta Cemetery

Ramón Falcón, Recoleta Cemetery

Ramón Falcón, Recoleta Cemetery

Ramón Falcón, Recoleta Cemetery

Some text adapted & used with permission by Jeff Barry, author of Buenos Aires: City of Faded Elegance. To discover the fate of Radowitzky, read the remainder of Jeff’s post.

Published in:Politicians

6 Comments

  1. […] Back in 2006 I wrote a post titled terrorist, assasin, avenger. As blogging goes, I’ve actually forgotten about that post even though the anarchist movement in Buenos Aires is one of my favorite topics of reading. The other day Robert asked if he could use part of that post to highlight the tombs of the victims, Ramón Falcón & Juan Alberto Lartigau, located in a spectacular corner o…. […]

  2. Thiago

    Un único comentario, el grupo escultórico que conmemora el asesinato está en Quintana y Haedo, la bajada justo frente al cementerio porque ese fue el lugar de la bomba, sería un perfecto punto para arrojarla dado que al coche bajar no tendría a dónde ir, también hay un angel caído frente a La Biela.

  3. Me quedó la duda si el asesinato tomó lugar en Quintana y Callao o ahi donde pusieron ese estatua (bastante fea, tambien se encuentra en un estado horrible… letras que faltan, partes rotas, etc). Me parece que hay una placa en Quintana y Callao para recordar del evento.

    Una pena que no puedo ir andando a verificarlo!

  4. Thiago

    Ya lo haré en esta semana, no me olvidaré. ;)

  5. vera

    no sólo fue el q ordenó la represión de la semana trágica (donde las riots q siguieron fueron muchos muertos más en manos de la policía de Ramón Falcón, en el velorio y en el cementerio), también participó arduamente en el genocidio mapuche.

  6. Hola Vera – Desconozco la participación de Falcón en el genocidio mapuche pero tampoco me sorprende. Gracias por el dato. Saludos!

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