If one of the tasks facing Argentina in its reclamation of democracy is the reclamation of its own history, then Miguel Perez must be counted in the forefront of the campaign. In Part One, completed in 1983, he traced Argentina’s political past of the 1930-1976 period. Now, returning to the scene of the crime, he begins with the return of Peron to Argentina.
<i>La Republica Perdida</i> is of tremendous importance to an understanding of recent Argentine history. Rather, Perez makes his own perspective clear with a narrative voice at once pointed and mocking, ironic and grieving, with Maria Elena Walsh (Argentine writer and lyricist) the perfect partner. Much of the material Perez includes comes out of the official files of this era of brutal repression, but some interviews and testimonies were filmed specifically for the occasion. With rigorous accuracy, Perez charts the evolution not only of military actions, but also of military rhetoric: “we are all guilty . . . our society is to sick to recover quickly.” Thus, <i>La Republica Perdida</i> becomes not merely a chronicling of history but a forceful interrogation of its trajectory.
Perez leads us through the violent and illogical mazes of the military dictatorship and its official representations, until finally stepping out into the light of 1983 and the election of Alfonsin. Most laudably, Perez uses both the editing and the text to insist upon a personal engagement with the material and thus to combat the indifference, noninvolvement, and alienation that were the hallmarks of the Argentine psychology during the repression.
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