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Vandor, Augusto Timoteo (1923–1969)

Vandor, Augusto Timoteo (1923–1969)

This Argentine union leader and politician was a former officer in the Navy and a worker in the Buenos Aires metallurgical industry, who made a name for himself as a union leader beginning in the 1950s. When Juan Domingo Perón was unseated in 1955, the General Workers Union (Central General de Trabajadores) was taken over and Vandor was sent to prison for six months.

Vandor consolidated his position as the principal leader of the powerful Metal Workers Union (Unión Obrera Metalúrgica—UOM) during the presidency of Arturo Frondizi (1958–1962) and took part in the Peronist Resistance. But he gradually distanced himself from Perón because he believed that Perón's leadership from exile compromised the unions too much. Vandor tried to make the union movement into a political power that would recognize Perón as its leader while having as much independence as possible. He challenged Perón unsuccessfully in the restricted elections (Peronism was unable to compete entirely freely) during the administration of Arturo Illia (1963–1966) and then openly backed Juan Carlos Onganía's coup d'état in 1966. All this created a crisis within union leadership that resulted in successive divisions of the labor movement. In 1968, the moderate Azopardo CGT (General Labor Confederation), led by Vandor, focused on talks with the military dictatorship without ever abandoning the option of controlled measures of force. Meanwhile, the Argentines' CGT, led by Raimundo Ongaro, adopted a tough, combative stance.

Peronist political and union sectors were already viewing Vandor as a traitor to Peronist precepts and an obstacle to Perón's return to Argentina, and Perón made known his distrust of Vandor. On June 30, 1969, Vandor was assassinated in his union office. The crime was never fully solved, but the perpetrators belonged to some Peronist factions that saw danger in Vandor's actions as a union leader.

See alsoArgentina: The Twentieth Century; Frondizi, Arturo; Illia, Arturo Umberto; Onganía, Juan Carlos; Perón, Juan Domingo.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abós, Álvaro. Cinco balas para Augusto Vandor. Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 2005.

Cavarozzi, Marcelo. Autoritarismo y democracia, 1955–1996. La transición del Estado al mercado en la Argentina. Buenos Aires: Ariel, 1997.

O'Donnell, Guillermo. El Estado burocrático autoritario. Buenos Aires: Editorial de Belgrano, 1982.

                                  Vicente Palermo

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