1945: Strike Paralyzes Argentina – The New York Times

Credit…International Herald Tribune

Special to The European Edition

BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 19. — Firmly in control of the Argentine government, Colonel Juan D. Peron received a tribute yesterday from country partisans in the form of a twenty-four-hour strike, the worst in Argentine history, which paralyzed the normal life of almost the entire nation.

All factories, offices, banks, theaters, restaurants, stores and other commercial establishments were closed tight here and in other Argentine cities yesterday and railways, buses and taxis were at a standstill. The strike surpassed those of 1919 and 1936, which were designed to promote the cause of labor and were opposed by the government. In contrast, this strike was political and was supported by the government and the police.

An antigovernment political strike was staged by the democratic opposition on September 19, but this endured only for half a day and was only partially effective.

Fear of Reprisals Cited

The most incredible success of the latest nationwide strike was attributed in labor circles not only to Colonel Peron’s strength but to the total paralysis of transportation, and to fear among the population of violent reaction if any one defied the order to support the strike.

The order was issued by the General Federation of Labor. It instructed all workers to suspend activities for twenty-four hours “to demonstrate the thoughts of the working class regarding the exceptional moment in which the nation is living.”

The order was supported by Colonel Peron, who spoke from the government building balcony at midnight Wednesday and advised the workers to support the strike by celebrating the “glory” of their reunion at a mass demonstration.

Close in Self-Defense

Most merchants closed their shops in self-defense, aware of what happened Wednesday to those who failed to do so in La Plata and suburbs of the capital. In these areas, armed bands of “Peronistas,” supported by the police, stoned and threatened establishments which refused to join their strike. The government newspaper “Critica” spurred an attack made with gunfire and flaming torches. The attack began at 1:20 a.m. and lasted almost two hours.

Violence also occurred yesterday at the municipal fruit and vegetable market, where Peron supporters attacked those who wanted to continue working. Six were reported killed and forty injured. Peron men paraded through the deserted streets in groups of several hundred, shouting the name of their leader. They announced that Colonel Peron would be President, and they painted his name on sidewalks, streets, buildings and shop windows.

Colonel Peron departed yesterday for a vacation in the territory of Chubut, in southern Argentina, before opening his campaign. He left the government in the hands of President Edelmiro Farrell, whom he publicly embraced twice at a demonstration Wednesday night.

— The New York Herald Tribune, European Edition, October 20, 1945.

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