Pedro Eugenio Aramburu

Pedro Eugenio Aramburu Silveti (May 21, 1903 – June 1, 1970) was an Argentine Army general. He was a major figure behind the Revolución Libertadora, the military coup against Juan Perón in 1955. He became 31st President of Argentina from November 13, 1955 to May 1, 1958. He was kidnapped by the radical organization Montoneros on May 29, 1970 and murdered, allegedly in retaliation for the June 1956 execution of General Juan José Valle, an army officer associated with the Peronist movement, and 26 Peronist militants after a botched attempt to overthrow his regime.

Pedro Eugenio Aramburu
31st President of Argentina
In office
November 13, 1955  May 1, 1958
Vice PresidentIsaac Rojas
Preceded byEduardo Lonardi
Succeeded byArturo Frondizi
Personal details
Pedro Eugenio Aramburu Silveti

May 21, 1903
Río Cuarto, Córdoba, Argentina
DiedJune 1, 1970(1970-06-01) (aged 67)
Carlos Tejedor, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Resting placeLa Recoleta Cemetery
Political partyUnión del Pueblo Argentino (UDELPA)
Spouse(s)Sara Lucía Herrera
Military service
Allegiance Argentina
Branch/service Argentine Army
Years of service1922–1958
Rank Lieutenant general

Military career

  • He studied at the National Military College
  • 1922: Sub-lieutenant
  • 1939: Major
  • 1943: Teacher in the Escuela de Guerra
  • 1951: Brigadier
  • Director of the Escuela de Guerra
  • 1955: Commander in Chief of the Army
  • 1958: Lieutenant general.

15 years of anti-Peronist political power

In September 1955, Aramburu participated in a military coup called the "Revolución Libertadora". He led the hardliners and assumed the Presidency of Argentina himself, on November 13, 1955, after the resignation of moderate General Eduardo Lonardi. Admiral Isaac Rojas, was appointed Vice-President.

The Revolución Libertadora which overthrew Juan Domingo Perón was triggered in part by the Perón's public confrontation with the Catholic Church over divorce laws, his actions towards the press, as well as the imprisonment of opposition leaders and economic instability. For example Perón incited his followers to wreck the offices and printing presses of newspapers who criticized him and he jailed the leader of the opposition, Ricardo Balbin, of the Radical Civic Union party.[1] The military Revolución Libertadora against Perón for these actions led to three years of military rule under Aramburu, who allowed elections to be held in 1958 (won by Arturo Frondizi.)

Aramburu's military government forced Perón into exile and barred the Peronist party from further elections. Known Peronists were persecuted and often imprisoned, or murdered; the mere mention of Juan or Eva Perón's names was declared illegal under Decree Law 4161/56. Perón lived in exile in Spain until 1973 under the protection of Generalísimo Francisco Franco.

After the end of his presidential term in 1958, Aramburu retired from the military career and devoted himself entirely to politics.

He ran for president in 1963 as leader of the Union of the Argentine People (Union del Pueblo Argentino, UDELPA), with the slogan "Vote UDELPA and HE won't return" ("Vote UDELPA y no vuelve"), referring to Perón.

With the Peronists banned, the Presidential elections resulted in Arturo Umberto Illia becoming president, with Aramburu coming in third.

Yet the military retained much real power, censoring both Peronism and its leader. The fragility of Argentine democracy was shown when Illia was overthrown in 1966 by a military coup led by General Juan Carlos Onganía.

In all those 15 years, Pedro Eugenio Aramburu was popular with much of the press. He often gave his opinions on society and politics (especially in Gente magazine, representative of Argentine high society).

In 1970, he was mentioned as a possible Presidential candidate.


In the 1960s, rumors about Perón's return to Argentina were circulating daily. From his exile in Spain, his voice grew stronger and stronger. At the same time, leftist strength grew in Argentina as in much of South America. The example of Che Guevara influenced a generation of students in schools and universities that supported international socialism.

It was in this background that the group Montoneros, led by Fernando Abal Medina were formed to support Peron's return to Argentina.


On May 29, 1970 at noon, Aramburu was snatched from his apartment in Buenos Aires by two members of Montoneros posing as young army officers. Montoneros dubbed the kidnapping Operación Pindapoy, after a company that produced citrus in the 1960s. Aramburu's disappearance kept Argentinian society on tenterhooks for a month before it was discovered that Aramburu had been murdered three days after his abduction, following a mock trial and his corpse hidden inside a farmhouse near Timote, Carlos Tejedor, in Buenos Aires Province. He had been shot twice in the chest with two different pistols.

In the following weeks, statements from the Montoneros flooded the media. Among other things, they claimed historical reasons for their actions such as "the murder of 27 Argentines after an unsuccessful Peronist rebellion in 1956," as the José León Suárez massacre; those executions had been described by journalist and writer Rodolfo Walsh in his novel Operación Masacre.

Aramburu's murder and the coldness with which it was carried out shook Argentine society to its core. On the one hand, the Montoneros, claiming to represent Peronism, felt the murder was justified by Aramburu's execution of Peronists who had attempted to overthrow his unelected military regime. On the other hand, many members of Argentine society liked and respected Aramburu and some observers felt that he had modified his political position and might have been a voice for the return of democracy at a time when the military was still unwilling to allow elections. For a sympathetic view of Aramburu see the Argentine newspaper, La Gaceta, out of Tucumán, Argentina, for the period May 30 through July, 1970. Also see Los Andes, out of Mendoza, Argentina, for this same time period.[2]

In 1974, Aramburu's body was stolen by Montoneros. The corpse was to be held until President Isabel Perón brought back Evita Perón's body. It was also an act of revenge for the previous removal of Evita's body. Once Evita's body arrived in Argentina the Montoneros gave up Aramburu's corpse and abandoned it in a street in Buenos Aires.[3]

See also


  1. On Perón's incitement of his followers to violence against the press and his treatment of opposition leaders see Leslie E. Anderson, Social Capital in Developing Democracies: Nicaragua and Argentina Compared, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2010 esp Chap 3 and Susan and Peter Calvert, Argentina: Political Culture and Instability, Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989. Perón also undermined opposition voices from within his own party and tried to eliminate anyone who disagreed with him and might be a competitor for power within Peronism. On Perón's treatment of the opposition inside Peronism see Raanan Rein, In the Shadow of Perón: Juan Atilio Bramuglia and the Second Line of Argentinas Populist Movement, Translated by Martha Grenzeback, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008. Originally published as Juan Atilio Bramuglia: Bajo la sombra del Lider. La segunda linea del liderazgo peronista (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Lumiere, 2006).
  2. La Gaceta, Tucumán, Argentina; Los Andes, Mendoza, Argentina
  3. Negrete, Claudio R. (2010). "Canjeando muertos". Necromanía: Historia de una pasión argentina (in Spanish). Sudamericana.
Political offices
Preceded by
Eduardo Lonardi
President of Argentina
Succeeded by
Arturo Frondizi
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