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Category: Politicians

106. llavallol

Llavallol, Recoleta Cemetery

Occupying an unusually large chunk of real estate, the Llavallol family vault appears to have seen better days. Founders of the family line receive praise with engraved tombstones on the façade… Jayme Llavallol y del Riú was originally from Barcelona & his wife, Gertrudis Merlo, was 100% porteña:

Llavallol, Recoleta Cemetery

Llavallol, Recoleta Cemetery

Felipe Llavallol, son of Jayme & Gertrudis, was the most famous family member, occupying several high-ranking business & government positions in Buenos Aires. As Vice-Governor of the short-lived State of Buenos Aires (named so after seceding from the Confederación Argentina), Llavallol assumed the top spot after the Battle of Cepeda in 1859. Urquiza’s forces won the fight, Buenos Aires was re-incorporated into the nation, Governor Valentín Alsina resigned, & Llavallol took over for the next several months. No doubt he is buried here as well, but the interior only shows a lot of structural damage & neglect… no sign of Felipe:

Llavallol, Recoleta Cemetery

The most decorative part of the vault can be found on the top with a chubby cherub bearing a wreath. Other symbols present are an ouroboros, an hourglass with wings, & an exceptional skull & crossbones:

Llavallol, Recoleta Cemetery

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101. victorino de la plaza, update

After a little research at the Instituto Histórico, I was able to discover that Victorino de la Plaza was indeed buried in Recoleta Cemetery. The vault undergoing restoration in the previous post belonged to the former President of Argentina, but evidently his family decided he would be more comfortable elsewhere. All traces of De la Plaza have been removed.

I find it odd—and a little sad—that such an important historical figure would be moved from the most pretigious cemetery in the nation. I’m sure the family has their reasons.

Anyway, the new occupants have already moved in… the family of José María Vila Penalta:

José María Vila Penalta, Recoleta Cemetery

Update (10 Dec 2012): Victorino de la Plaza had no children, but Rocco Reynal pointed me to an interview on YouTube with Dinorah de la Plaza, a great-grandniece. She states that it was difficult to maintain the family vault in Recoleta, so in 2004 they transferred Victorino’s remains along with those of his mother & first wife to the Cementerio Parque Memorial in Pilar. They considered a burial inside the Salta cathedral, but since most of the family has lived in Pilar since the 1970s they decided to keep him close. Mystery solved!

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096. carlos f. melo

Carlos Francisco Melo, Recoleta Cemetery

Born in the province of Entre Ríos in 1872, legal studies brought Carlos Francisco Melo to Buenos Aires by the end of the 19th century… just when the city & the nation were coming into their own. Melo received acclaim for his doctorate thesis & was rewarded with important government positions. A brief stint as a representative in Congress for the UCR party lead to appointment as president of the University of La Plata in 1920. Melo returned to politics as candidate for Vice-President in national elections but his ticket failed to get the vote. After the military coup of 1930, he was appointed head of the National Library, a position Melo held until his death in 1931.

Carlos Francisco Melo, Recoleta Cemetery

Besides his political & educational duties, Carlos Melo was recognized during his lifetime as a writer & poet. Although his works are not yet available online, a short verse from Melo’s “Piedras Rotas” (Broken Stones) can be found over his tomb:

Cuida tu hora. Porque hay en cada vida una hora única, es la de la gracia, o de la caída, de la justicia o de la iniquidad, la del amor, de la inspiración, de la torpeza, la de la muerte. Descuidado: cuida tu hora.

“Take care of your hour. Because there is in each life one unique hour, it is that of grace or of downfall, of justice or of vice, of love, of inspiration, of clumsiness, that of death. Careless one: take care of your hour.”

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089. sepulcro obligado y familia

Pastor Obligado, Recoleta Cemtery

A small gallery of niches holds the remains of Pastor Obligado, a key player in national politics after gaining independence from Spain. Born in 1818 in Buenos Aires, Obligado studied law & received his degree in 1845. Juan Manuel de Rosas ruled the new nation with an iron fist at that time, & Obligado was a firm supporter due to his upper-class background. But as time passed, he made allies with the anti-Rosas faction but continued to defend the rights of Buenos Aires above that of the nation. Obligado associated with fellow cemetery residents Adolfo Alsina, Valentín Alsina, José Mármol, & Carlos Tejedor. He also made friends with future presidents Bartolomé Mitre & Domingo Sarmiento.

All the above alliances paid off for Obligado in 1853 when Rosas was forced into exile. Obligado became the Governor of Buenos Aires & maintained the province’s separation from the Confederación Argentina. In 1857, he presided of the inauguration of the first train line in the city of Buenos Aires & made major improvements in providing basic utilities such as water & gas.

Remaining active in national events after his term as Governor ended in 1858, he later served in Congress as well as in the military. Obligado died in Córdoba while on vacation in 1870. He forms part of a long list of historical figures that were very important in their day but unfortunately have faded away from public memory.

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070. passo

Juan José Paso, Recoleta Cemetery

A lawyer who became politically active after the First British Invasion in 1806, Juan José Paso was one of the most outspoken founding fathers of Argentine independence.

Lack of free trade as well as the occupation of Spain by France were key factors in Argentina proclaiming independence. Paso worked in the tax office for the Viceroy but did not hesitate to join the nascent revolution. Forming part of the 9-member Primera Junta (First Council) on May 25, 1810, Juan José Paso served as one of the secretaries. Soon after in Montevideo, he tried to convince the sister city of Buenos Aires that independence was in everyone’s best interest. Not many were willing to listen. Disagreement among factions in the region would lead to the collapse of the council.

Paso later became part of a brief-lived triumvirate, then joined sides with independence heroes José de San Martín & Carlos Alvear. Missions to Chile & defending Admiral Guillermo Brown in court occupied his time soon after. Even though Paso never resumed a top political position after the triumvirate, he was a key figure in the new nation’s development. Paso worked on the first draft of the Argentine constitution in 1819 & continued to represent the interests of Buenos Aires in Congress for the remainder of his life.

Juan José Paso died in 1833 with little fortune to show for the service given to his country. In fact, the Governor of Buenos Aires at the time decided to raise funds for this tomb in gratitude for Paso’s dedication.

There are two distinct spellings of his last name: Paso & Passo. With ancestors from northern Spain, their last name in gallego was Do Pazo. The “z” was later replaced with either one “s” or two. Take your pick.

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067. panteón de don manuel alcorta

Manuel Alcorta, Recoleta Cemetery

Manuel Alcorta, Recoleta Cemetery

Governor of the province of Santiago del Estero in 1830, Manuel Alcorta relocated near Buenos Aires after being ousted from office by a local military uprising. He & his brother, Amancio, owned much of the land west of Buenos Aires, later becoming the district of Moreno. Now part of the urban sprawl surrounding the capital city, Moreno is 17 km directly west of BA.

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