The fall of Juan Peron took place in accordance with the basic rhythm of Latin American politics. The dictator is gone; the historical reasons for his emergence remain.
Peron was a stop-gap, a shrewd schemer who by suppressing the problems of his country created the illusion of having solved them. But it would be a mistake to suppose that he was merely another vest-pocket despot, or that with his fall everything will return to “normal.” The tensions and contradictions that spewed him into political being continue to operate—and with increasing force.
For the “normal” of Latin America is itself abnormal: twenty republics that began their national revolution in the first quarter of the nineteenth century have been unable through the intervening hundred and twenty-five years to complete it. The “normal” of Latin America is a society resting on a landed oligarchy, buttressed by foreign capital (primarily American) and defended by comic opera armies....
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