Francoist Spain's Spiritual Quest and Argentine Authoritarianism during the Cold War

Friday, January 5, 2018: 9:10 AM
Virginia Suite B (Marriott Wardman Park)
Daniel Kressel, Columbia University
The article analyzes how the dictatorship of Francisco Franco influenced Latin America’s far-right intellectual world during the Cold War era, by proposing a tool-kit of spiritual movements and concreteintellectual apparatuses. For one, it examines Franco’s key agency of intellectual cooperation: El Instituto de Cultura Hispánica (ICH). During the 1950s this organization coordinated several other tangible undertakings that echoed a neo-imperial fantasy of a Latin American spiritual, political and economic amalgamation. Moreover, it will be suggested that Franco’s “Hispanidad politics” reached the Americas through an even more sophisticated apparatus, for instance the ICH’s education organization La Oficina de Educación Iberoamericana (OEI). Directed from Madrid, this overlooked organization aimed to indoctrinate generations of Latin Americans according to the “Hispanic spiritual values,” as they had been defined by Franco’s ideologues. For another, the article examines how Franco’s aggressive “Hispanic” strategy gave place to a new emphasis on economic cooperation, as well as to rather “soft-power” ideological infiltrations, during the 1960s. Here, the article discusses the reactionary Catholic organization Opus Dei, and illuminates the influence of its intellectual apparatus and chief political figures (the “technocrats”) in Latin America’s Southern Cone during the late-1960s. Ultimately, this analysis proposes Juan Carlos Onganía’s regime (1966-1970) as a showcase for the implementation of an array of Francoist “spiritual” formulas, a result of a decade-long cooperation between Spanish and Argentine intellectuals.
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