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Category: Military

047. argentine flags

Only those who have served Argentina in its top positions reserve the right to be buried with the nation’s flag. Most often used for Presidents, the flag can also be found covering the casket of high-ranking military officers:

General de División, Recoleta Cemetery

Panteón UCR, Recoleta Cemetery

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038. teniente general eduardo lonardi

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Eduardo Lonardi briefly served as de facto President of Argentina after leading a military coup which forced Perón to flee the country. Dubbed the Liberating Revolution, the military’s reaction to Peronism would influence politics well into the 21st century.

The year was 1955, & Perón had been in power for almost a decade. His policies & political style had generated controversy among Argentines for several years, but those differences were heightened after the death of Eva Perón in 1952. Lacking the charisma of Eva & eventually seeing the results of bad economic decisions, Peronism lost its early strength & the military attempted a coup in June 1955. The daytime bombing of Plaza de Mayo & the Casa Rosada resulted in 364 deaths & over 800 casualties… but Perón was not one of them. He managed to escape unharmed.

A few months later in Sept 1955, Lonardi successfully attempted another coup in the city of Córdoba which spread through the rest of the nation. Perón resigned from the presidency & Paraguay granted him safe passage to Asunción. Lonardi was proclaimed President, but his term was to be short… only 50 days. Realizing the seriousness of ousting a populist leader like Perón, Lonardi thought a lenient attitude to Perón supporters was wise. This conciliatory stance was the origin of his most famous quote, “Neither victors nor vanquished.” In other words, the military should not be seen as victorious over the Peronists, nor should the Peronists consider themselves vanquished.

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Unfortunately Lonardi’s Vice-President didn’t agree. Wanting to try over 300 Peronistas for treason, Lonardi was forced by fellow members of the armed forces to step down. Pedro Aramburu took Lonardi’s place & remained de facto President of Argentina until elections were held in 1958. Lonardi died 4 months after leaving office, the result of cancer which many say encouraged him to lead the uprising against Perón. If he had failed, he only had a few months to live anyway.

An Art Deco sculpture from 1928 signed by local artist Luis Carlos Rovatti draws a lot of attention. Depicting a fallen soldier with a sword in his left hand, a cloaked woman helps support him as well as his eternal flame. Provocative enough to get carried away with lots of photos.

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Numerous plaques pay tribute to Lonardi’s role in the Revolución Libertadora.

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Update (30 Nov 2015): Thanks to newly available images on the CeDInCI website (Centro de Documentación e Investigación de la Cultura de Izquierdas), many images of Lonardi’s funeral and a 1964 tribute to the former de facto President are now available online. I’ve uploaded three here… follow the link above for more:

Eduardo Lonardi, funeral, CeDInCI

Eduardo Lonardi, homenaje, tribute, CeDInCI

Eduardo Lonardi, homenaje, tribute, CeDInCI

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029. cause of death

Lots of information can be found out about the occupants of a particular tomb, even with only basic Spanish… just stop & study the plaques. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Luis María de la Cárcova, Recoleta Cemetery

Upper text reads: “To First Lieutenant Luis María de la Cárcova, RIP. He passed away tragically on 03 May 1948.” As is customary in Recoleta Cemetery, this plaque was given on the first anniversary of his death by those who miss him… in this case, fellow military personnel.

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026. pedro josé díaz

Rarely found but interesting to seek out are drawings etched in stone or concrete. This particular spot has no family name or artist’s signature, but the vault belongs to Pedro José Díaz who fought in early wars after Argentina declared independence:

Pedro José Díaz, Recoleta Cemetery
Pedro José Díaz, Recoleta Cemetery

During my initial visits to Recoleta Cemetery several years ago, I remember a bust of someone in military uniform decorating this tomb. Unfortunately it has been removed, & I never took a photograph. The quality of the etching is generally very good, but the miniature swords detract from the strength of the overall image.

Pedro José Díaz, Recoleta Cemetery

Update (24 Jan 2021): Thanks to a book by Oscar Andrés De Masi published in 2012, we can add a photo of the former bust & confirm the author of the tomb. Juan Carlos Oliva Navarro, best known for the monument to Pedro de Mendoza in Parque Lezama (San Telmo), designed this vault… & even signed the photo below:

Pedro José Díaz, Recoleta Cemetery
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