On the Revolutionary Road: Youth, Displacements, and Politics in the ‘Long’ Latin American Sixties

  • Valeria Manzano
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series book series (PMSTH)


In late 1975, the Argentine Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (ERP, Revolutionary Army of the People), one of the largest guerrilla groups in South America, informed its members of the death of their comrade Hugo Macchi at the hands of a paramilitary organization. Born in 1951 to a middle-class family, Macchi had initially wanted to pursue his father’s profession, civil engineering. However, as soon as he arrived at the National University of Córdoba he engaged in political and social activism, and participated in the popular mobilizations during the Argentine May of 1969 in reaction against the authoritarian political regime of General Juan Carlos Ongania (1966–70). Perhaps as a corollary of his political engagement, at the end of the academic year Macchi embarked on a five-month voyage through northwestern Argentina and the neighboring Andean countries, Bolivia and Peru. Upon his return, Macchi came to repudiate his ‘prior individualistic life’, and he decided to drop out of college and join the ERP.1 As many other young men and women did in the Latin American ‘long sixties’, Macchi used his journey to both ‘corroborate’ previous knowledge and to discover new feelings, notably indignation toward social oppression as well as shame regarding his own privileged middle-class background in a modernizing country. Like many other young people, Macchi concluded that his own country belonged in fact to a Third World geography where revolutionaries foresaw only one political road: the waging of a popular war to forge ‘liberated’ and classless nations.


Young People Southern Cone Cultural Consumption Social Oppression American Historical Review 
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© Valeria Manzano 2015

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