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It was in 1920 and in Rio Gallegos (Santa Cruz) there was a “benign” center of wool production for export. This was from foreign capitals and numbered 1500 workers, who worked on agricultural farms and English flag refrigerators.
Things started to get ugly for workers after World War I . With the fall in sales and exports, the quality of work for them fell . They begin to be mistreated , they increased the number of working hours and lowered their wages . Unhealthy work begin to “weigh” them, and the comings and comings with the stanciers resulted in an unexpected situation.
It was in November 1920 when the first workers' protest broke out, which included boycott of merchants linked to the Rural Society. Rio Gallegos, Puerto Deseado and Puerto San Julian were the center of a general strike by hundred of employees tired of so much abuse. Days later, the first reprisals begin and a policeman killed the first striker , Sunday Olmedo.
The taking of police as hostages, the quarrels between staffs and reprisals against workers became, like this, a thing every day. Under the order of President Yrigoyen, the cavalry regime arrived in Rio Gallegos on November 10 .
With a large army of 200 soldiers, Lieutenant Colonel Hector Benigno Varela gave the order to fire all the pawns and striking workers . His great ally was the Chilean government, which closed the border boundaries so that no one could escape their final destination.
The mass massacre ended on January 10, 1922. It is estimated that between 1000 and 1500 workers were brutally murdered . Those who managed to survive received a reduction of more than a third in their salaries and saw this murderer awarded by President Yrigoyen.
And, as the popular song by La Princesa says, it was “with the same coin. ” That's how he was paid for unhappy. The ajustification came to Benigno Varela in a bloodthirsty way. It was on January 27, 1923 in the neighborhood of Palermo (Buenos Aires), a year after the murders in Santa Cruz.
They say that while the military was walking down the street, anarchist Kurt Gustav Wilckens intercepted him, threw a bomb and shot him four shots. These emulated the four shots he himself ordered to give, to end the life of each of the strikers.
Publication Date: 09/08/2020
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