On June 16, 1955, on a cold winter’s day, a large crowd gathered outside of the President’s Residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They were there to express support for their embattled president, Juan Peron. Peron had been the popular leader of the country since 1946. His popularity stemmed at least partially from his incredibly charismatic wife, Eva, better known as Evita. Eva had died after an illness in 1952 and Peron’s popularity waned among the elite even as Evita’s popularity stayed strong among the common people. By June 1955, however, Juan’s position was tenuous at best, especially among the military.
On this date, Argentine naval aviation pilots flew over the gathering and to the shock and horror of those present, indiscriminately strafed and dropped bombs on the crowd – all in an attempt to assassinate Peron. This assault, without thought given to the approximately 300 – 400 civilians killed, marked the start of 30 years of political violence between the Peronists and the anti-Peronists. Yes, this one man would completely dominate politics in the second largest country of South America for over a quarter of a century – even when he was not in power.