Argentine Civic Legion (LCA)

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Argentine Civic Legion (LCA)

A right-wing paramilitary product of the 1930 revolution that installed General José Félix Uriburu in power, the Argentine Civic Legion arose in early 1931. Its first leader was Dr. Floro Lavalle, a medical doctor, landowner, and founding member of the Argentine Patriotic League; by 1933 Carlos Ribero, a former naval officer, became its head, followed by David Uriburu in the 1940s. The Legion absorbed other paramilitary groups that had been active in the coup and enlisted young aristocrats, Conservative Party members, civil servants (often coercively), military officers, upper-class women, and even schoolchildren. Its opposition to liberal democracy, partisan politics, leftism, and immigration, and its support for hierarchy, family, and religion won the favor of the Uriburu government, which gave it juridical personage and official recognition as its partner in creating order. It also allowed the Legion to use government buildings and services. The group received military instruction at army installations, and weapons and uniforms from the Ministry of War. When thousands of uniformed Legionarios paraded through Buenos Aires in April and May 1931, Uriburu praised the group for protecting the revolution against its enemies.

The Legion became a focus of controversy. Many, including some fellow right-wing nationalists, criticized its ties to the government, military, and Conservative Party. Its spying activities and repression of students suggested that the Legion was an official tool against opponents of the regime, or a means by which Uriburu could perpetuate his rule or bring Conservatives to power. Even potential sympathizers disapproved of recruiting women and children into a militarized organization.

After 1932 the Legion no longer enjoyed official ties to the government. Nevertheless, it continued to occupy government-owned buildings and carry out terrorist acts with impunity. By the mid-1930s it added opposition to Jews and imperialism, and support for state regulation of capital and labor, to its original goals. The Legion's decision to reach out to labor organizations signaled a move away from its elite origins. Furthermore, the Legion adopted a populist rhetoric and critiqued the conservative regime for working too closely with the British. However, it did not hide its sympathy for European fascism and the Axis powers.

See alsoFascism .


Carlos Ibarguren, La historia que he vivido, 2d ed. (1969).

Alberto Ciria, Parties and Power in Modern Argentina, translated by Carlos A. Astiz with Mary F. McCarthy (1974).

Sandra McGee Deutsch, Counterrevolution in Argentina, 1890–1930: The Rise and Fall of Radicalism (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Béjar, María Dolores. El régimen fraudulento: La política en la provincia de Buenos Aires, 1930–1943. Buenos Aires: Siglo Veintiuno Editores Argentina, 2005.

Deutsch, Sandra McGee. Las Derechas: The Extreme Right in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, 1890–1939. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Klein, Marcus. "The 'Legión Cívica Argentina' and the Radicalisation of Argentine 'Nacionalismo' during the 'Década Infame'." Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe 13, no. 2 (2002): 5-30.

                                       Sandra McGee Deutsch

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Argentine Civic Legion (LCA)

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