Cooke, John William (1920–1968)

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Cooke, John William (1920–1968)

John William Cooke (b. 14 November 1920; d. 19 September 1968), principal Argentine theoretician of revolutionary Peronism, or justicialismo. Cooke was elected to Argentina's Congress in 1946 as a member of the Radical Party. He quickly gravitated to the charismatic Juan Domingo Perón, whom he supported in the pages of De Frente, a publication that to many Peronists became the political and moral conscience of the movement. With Perón's ouster in September 1955, Cooke developed a plan of resistance that had as its focus guerrilla warfare followed by general insurrection. Arrested in October 1955, he clandestinely directed from prison the Peronist resistance against both military and civilian governments. A dramatic escape in 1957 was followed in 1959 by exile in Cuba, where he arranged for the training of Argentine guerrillas.

By 1962 Cooke, still in Cuba, and Perón, in exile in Spain, had moved to different political positions and adopted different strategies. Cooke remained on the violent extreme left of the Peronist movement and felt that Perón had become little more than a symbolic memory. Perón considered Cooke "too Cuban" and unrepresentative of justicialismo, Perón's political and social philosophy. Cooke returned to Argentina in the mid-1960s, where he died of cancer.

See alsoArgentina: The Twentieth Century; Argentina, Political Parties: Justicialist Party; Argentina, Political Parties: Radical Party (UCR); Frondizi, Arturo.


Daniel James, "The Peronist Left, 1955–1975," in Journal of Latin American Studies 8, no. 2 (1976):273-296.

Richard Gillespie, John William Cooke: El peronismo alternativo (1989).

Donald C. Hodges, Argentina's "Dirty War": An Intellectual Biography (1991), pp. 73-4, 78-9.

Additional Bibliography

Duhalde, Eduardo L., compiler. John William Cooke: Obras completas. Buenos Aires: Colihue, 2007.

Goldar, Ernesto, ed. John William Cooke y el peronismo revolucionario. Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de América Latina, 1985.

                                        Paul Goodwin