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What is Loyalty Day in Argentina and why this year it is celebrated in a climate of divisions

The militancy commemorates the liberation of its leader, Juan Domingo Perón.

Peronism celebrates this Monday the 79 anniversary of its birth wrapped in an internal fracture led by the president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and that is reflected in the organization of different events in which, despite everything, the militants will ratify their unconditional loyalty to an old party that knew how to become one of the most important political movements in Latin America.

Some even describe it as “a feeling”.

The sector closest to the president will hold an event at the Obras Sanitarias Stadium, located in the north of Buenos Aires, while the groups that support the vice president will march to the Plaza de Mayo in the afternoon under the slogan ‘National Unity for sovereignty with social justice’. However, neither of the two leaders will be present at the events.

Another group of militants will hold an Open Town Hall in a town in the province of Buenos Aires, while in the rest of the country they will replicate meetings and commemorations at a time when the ruling Peronist alliance is beset by an economic crisis, disappointment on the part of its electorate, fights and a pessimistic climate towards the presidential elections of 2024.

The underlying problem has to do with Fernández de Kirchner’s claims for the economic policies adopted by the president. Although the discussion calmed down last July with the appointment of Sergio Massa as Minister of Economy, the internal debate over the high rates of poverty, inflation and devaluation are still latent.

Added to this is the commotion that caused the attack suffered by the vice president on October 1 and that deepened the political polarization in a country in which anti-Peronism is a force of its own.

The story

Every year, Peronists celebrate Loyalty Day in memory of the 17 October 1943, when hundreds of thousands of workers left to demand the release of its leader, Juan Domingo Perón, who had been detained on the orders of the de facto government to which he had belonged.

The day completely marked the history of the South American country, since it had never Before, the working class had manifested itself in this way, nor had it shown its strength and adherence to a leader.

Perón was then a colonel of 50 who had participated in the coup of 1943 and that, already as Secretary of Labor, he began to accumulate power thanks to his closeness to the union movements. He became a danger to the de facto government, which decided on October 8 to remove him. Four days later they arrested him and sent him first to Martín García Island and then to the Military Hospital located in Buenos Aires.

The crisis and political tension was total. And it finished exploding in the early hours of 17 October, when hundreds of thousands of workers and workers from multiple sectors began to organize not to go or leave their workplaces and march towards the Plaza de Mayo. During the whole day massive and spontaneous columns paraded that put pressure on the Government.

Their only and forceful demand was Perón’s freedom. They made it. The colonel left the Military Hospital and, at night, he went to the balcony of the presidential Casa Rosada and asked the protesters to leave in peace. The crowd obeyed him after cheering him on.

Peronism was born.

“There are two kinds of loyalties: the one that is born from the heart, which is the most valuable, and the one of those who are loyal when not It is convenient for them to be disloyal “Happy Loyalty Day, colleagues and colleagues pic.twitter.com/cNpLFnk1SC

– Faroles (@LaRubiaOk) October 17, 2022

Four months later, without any surprise, Perón became president by winning the elections. In 1945 he won re-election with a resounding 63, 5% of the votes, but his second government was interrupted by a coup that took place in 1955.

Since then, Peronism was outlawed. You couldn’t even name Perón or his wife, Eva Duarte, who had died in 1952. But instead of disappearing, as his detractors wanted, the Peronist mystique grew stronger.

In 1973, Perón returned from a long exile and won his third presidential election, but he only served for a few months, since he died on July 1, 1974, at 79 years of age.

During the wake, which was held in Congress, hundreds of thousands of people paraded. Many others crowded the streets, as they had done that 17 October of 1945 that gave them a sense of belonging, of identity.

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