Its very nice to see things turning up good for the Arabs.

Political union, modernization, less Islamic extremists.
Yeah. There are still a lot of tensions, though, since the UAR's neighbors (especially a little country that's almost completely surrounded by it) are pretty nervous to say the least.
 
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If the UAR wants to protect its coast they will need lots and lots of corvettes and frigates. Speaking of which do you any plans for advances in domestic production of the arms industry in Brazil? (I know that I am annoying please forgive)
 
If the UAR wants to protect its coast they will need lots and lots of corvettes and frigates. Speaking of which do you any plans for advances in domestic production of the arms industry in Brazil? (I know that I am annoying please forgive)
Don't feel bad, if anything I'm glad you have questions since it means you're really invested in my TL. I do have plans for the Brazilian arms industry, especially since IOTL we had a pretty impressive military-industrial complex, one that unfortunately withered in the economic crisis of the 1980s and 90s.

BTW, can you read Portuguese? If so, I think you'll like these:


 
Don't feel bad, if anything I'm glad you have questions since it means you're really invested in my TL. I do have plans for the Brazilian arms industry, especially since IOTL we had a pretty impressive military-industrial complex, one that unfortunately withered in the economic crisis of the 1980s and 90s.

BTW, can you read Portuguese? If so, I think you'll like these:


Dude I'm nordestino, Fortaleza nascido e criado.
 
Foreign Snapshot: Our Big Neighbor
Special thanks to @minifidel for helping me with my WI on Perón.
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Foreign Snapshot: Our Big Neighbor


Despite the friendly "rivalry" it has with Brazil nowadays, the history of Argentina from the late 19th century onward is extremely similar to that of its larger northern neighbor. After decades of being torn by foreign and especially civil wars since its independence from Spain, the country, once it was finally united for good from the 1860s onward, was governed by an oligarchic regime which maintained its power through fraudulent elections where the ballot wasn't secret, much like in the Brazilian Old Republic. This isn't to say that the period was uniformly bad - for example investments in public education quadrupled during the presidency of Doming Faustino Sarmiento (1868-1874) - but the system that sustained it was wholly undemocratic and corrupt.

The voto cantado ('vote song') lasted until 1912, when it was finally abolished after decades of political pressure by the Radical Civic Union, the main opposition party, which tried to overthrow the government three times (1890, 1893 and 1905) and, despite failing every time, was now poised to take power through free and fair elections, which took place in 1916. The UCR's leader, Hipólito Yrigoyen, scored an easy victory and presided over a term marked by economic growth and progressive labour reforms - though not bereft of strife, as shown by the events of the Tragic Week and Patagonia Rebelde, which killed around 700 and 1.500 people respectively - and was succeeded by Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear in 1922, consolidating the Radicals' dominance of Argentine politics.
640px-Yrigoyen_y_Elpidio.jpg

President Yrigoyen (center, wearing a bowler hat) alongside other prominent figures.
Radical Era was obviously far from perfect, but it seemed that Argentina, now a promising democracy (albeit one that still denied its women the right to vote), was ready to abandon its oligarchic past for good. These hopes were dashed in 1930, when the now elderly Yrigoyen, who had been elected for a second, non-consecutive presidential term, was overthrown by a military coup, ushering the very aptly named Década Infame - the Infamous Decade. Electoral fraud came back with a vengeance and corruption soared, greatly worsening the effects of the Great Depression, and those who opposed the Concordancia (the ruling conservative coalition) were persecuted and intimidated - although the UCR did score some victories here and there, the most important of them being Amadeo Sabattini's election to the governorship of the province of Córdoba in 1935.

All in all, the Infamous Decade created an environment that made the rise of an ambitious, charismatic leader not only possible, but extremely likely. That leader, of course, was Juan Domingo Perón. An army colonel, Perón's political career started in 1943, when he was made Secretary of Labour after another military coup deposed the Concordancia government, and not only did he use his new position to cultivate links with the trade unions, he also led the relief efforts to the earthquake-stricken city of San Juan, something that earned him widespread national acclaim. Thus, it was no surprise that, once he ran for president in 1946 - Argentina's first genuinely democratic election in eighteen years - he won the race by a comfortable margin of ten percentage points, even though all of his opponents (from communists to conservatives and even the American ambassador, Spruille Braden) united behind the Radical candidate, José Tamborini (1).​

800px-Museo_del_Bicentenario_-_%22Retrato_de_Juan_Domingo_Per%C3%B3n_y_Eva_Duarte%22%2C_Numa_Ayrinhac.jpg

Juan and Eva Perón's official portrait during the former's first term. This is the only Argentine presidential portrait to feature the First Lady.
Perón's first term is among the most successful and popular administrations in Argentine history. During its six years, the country's railways, previously mostly owned by the British, were nationalized, as was the merchant marine, the central bank (whose debts were paid off) among many other utilities and services, while important infrastructure works such as the Ezeiza International Airport (one of the largest of the world at the time) and a gas pipeline linking Buenos Aires to Comodoro Rivadavia were built. On the social front, where its most celebrated feats were located, 8.000 new schools were established, along with 650.000 new homes, wages were increased and the number of people covered by social security more than tripled.

The president was aided in his efforts by his wife, María Eva Duarte de Perón - best known as Evita - a former actress who was loathed by the elites thanks to her humble origins and adored by the ordinary people to an almost religious degree. Seen as the link between her husband and the descamisados (the "shirtless ones"), Evita's influence and popularity were so great that the period stretching from 1946 to 1952 is seen by some historians as a dual presidency, and the charity she led, the Eva Perón Foundation, which helped hundreds of thousands of people, especially children, had better funding and organization than some departments of the state.

But early Peronism had one fatal flaw, one that would only become more and more prominent as the years progressed: it was highly authoritarian. People who voiced opinions contrary to that of the incumbent administration were fired from their jobs or imprisoned, even those who were once staunch Peronists like the union leader Cipriano Reyes (who was tortured during his time in prison), while opposition newspapers like La Prensa were shut down or put under heavy censorship. The government also turned Argentina into a safe haven for Nazi war criminals, the most infamous cases being that of Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele and Ante Pavelić, and although the men in question eventually faced justice, many others didn't.

The authoritarianism of the Perón era was best shown in the education system, where more than 2.000 university professors were fired and the children were given school books that... well... see for yourself.
livro peronista.jpg

The first page says: "The children are well dressed. The Eva Perón Foundation gives clothes to those who need them."
The last one says: "Mom and Dad love me. Perón and Evita love us."

Thanks to a new constitution which consolidated the measures put in place by his administration, allowed women to vote and, most importantly, abolished term limits, Perón was able to run for and easily win a second term in 1951 with a whooping 63% of the vote, while his main adversary, the Radical congressman Ricardo Balbín, spent much of the previous year in prison and wasn't allowed to campaign properly. On the local level, nearly all provinces had Peronist governors, all except for one: the old UCR stronghold of Córdoba, which was governed by Arturo Illia, a protégé of Amadeo Sabattini (2). The legislature was just as lopsided in the president's favor, with the Peronist Party controlling all seats in the Senate and 135 out of 149 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

Despite these overwhelmingly favourable results, however, Perón's position slowly began to weaken. Evita's premature death from cancer at the age of thirty-three deprived the president of a valuable political ally, and the economy, after years of continuous growth and fiscal profligacy, suffered a slump thanks to the decline of agricultural prices, a drought and the depletion of foreign currency reserves. The government enacted austerity measures to remedy the situation, which made people's lives more difficult since the services and programs which took them out of poverty suffered the brunt of the budget cuts.

Violence ensued. On April 15, 1953, an unidentified terrorist group detonated two bombs at a Peronist rally in the Plaza de Mayo, killing six people and wounding 90 others. From the balcony of the Casa Rosada (the presidential residence), Perón simultaneously urged the crowd to calm down and return to their homes to avoid further bloodshed, and also promised that justice would "come swiftly" to the perpetrators (3). True to his word, the president declared a state of siege and thousands of people were detained in Buenos Aires alone, including the parliamentary leader of the UCR, Arturo Frondizi, who had been Balbín's running mate in the 1951 presidential race. After several days, the people behind the attack were identified and, after being "thoroughly interrogated" (read: tortured), confessed their crimes and were promptly sentenced to life in prison for murder and treason.
1280px-Detenci%C3%B3n_del_presidente_argentino_Arturo_Frondizi_tras_el_golpe_de_Estado_de_1962.jpg

Frondizi is taken prisoner.
Things stabilized somewhat in 1954, when it seemed that the austerity finally began to have its desired effects, namely inflation levels that were in the single digits, smaller imports that turned a trade deficit into a surplus and a GDP that was growing at a slow (at least when compared to the euphoria of 1946-49) but steady pace. On the political front, a snap election was called to replace the late vice-president Hortensio Quijano, which was won by the president's favorite candidate, former admiral Alberto Teisaire, by a margin of two to one, and a similar victory was scored in the legislature. Perón, believing his position was finally secure, embarked on a program of attracting foreign investments to stimulate economic growth, with companies like Fiat and Kaiser Motors establishing factories in Córdoba, while an exploration contract with Standard Oil was signed in May 1955 (4).

At the same time it cozied up with international conglomerates, however, the government never ceased to invest in the national industry, especially in the automotive sector, whose birth and rise were best symbolized by the Justicialista car, a pet project of Perón which began to be produced in 1953 but only really took off in 1956 (5). That same year, a new state company, Yacimientos Carboníferos Fiscales (YCF), was founded with the purpose of managing the processing, transport and selling of coal (a vital resource which Argentina would no longer need to import) extracted mostly from the mining town of Río Tubio (6). This policy of large investments in infrastructure and industry, known as developmentalism, dominated Argentine economic thought until the outbreak of the Saudi Civil War and the oil shock it caused.
800px-Imagen102.jpg

The IAME Justicialista.
But turmoil was never far away. Despite the censorship the press it had been put under since the beginning of the Perón administration, gossip pages from multiple newspapers began to publish details of an affair between the 59 year old president and an underage girl named Nélida Rivas, something Perón never denied, but instead joked about - when asked if she was 13 years old, he replied that he was "not superstitious". This image problem, which strained but did not break his relations with the mighty Catholic Church (7), was the far from being the only issue he had to deal with: an ultraconservative wing of the military, led by army general Pedro Eugenio Aramburu, was scheming to depose him.

The conspiracy was discovered in June 14, 1955, when it became public that the putschists intended to use airplanes belonging to the Navy and the Air Force to bomb the Casa Rosada and kill Perón, after which a "Revolución Libertadora" ("Liberating Revolution") would be proclaimed (8). The president wasted no time and immediately declared a state of siege, arresting several plotters and people who "looked suspicious", while Aramburu and his allies led an all out uprising in several areas of the country, a desperate final attempt to overthrow the government, before being ultimately defeated after three days of fighting. With the rebellion crushed and its leaders either dead, imprisoned or exiled, Perón would never face another coup ever again, and he made sure of that: all three branches of the Armed Forces were thoroughly purged of any suspicious officers, who were then replaced with people who were loyalists at best and sycophants at worst.

By 1957 Perón was at the pinnacle of his power. The economy was now growing and industrializing at a stable rate due to the steady stream of foreign and national investments, Argentina no longer had to import petroleum thanks to the contract with Standard Oil, the people were more than satisfied with their lot in life and, most importantly, the opposition was completely powerless - save for governor Illia of Córdoba, who was kept around to give the UCR the vain hope they could possibly defeat him in the upcoming presidential election. He seemed invincible, and Perón, who had at this point been brainwashed by his own successes and propaganda, announced his intention to run for an unprecedented third term in office.
425px-Museo_del_Bicentenario_-_Afiche_%22Forjador_de_la_Nueva_Argentina%22.jpg

The poster reads: "Founder of the new and great Argentina"
But he had spent so much time and energy dealing with the threat posed by his opponents that he didn't pay attention to that of his own allies. One such ally was Domingo Alfredo Mercante, governor of the critical province of Buenos Aires. A fellow military man and a close friend of Perón since 1943, Mercante's gubernatorial tenure as mirrored that of his benefactor in the Casa Rosada, with multiple progressive social reforms, the most important of them being the redistribution of more than 1.400.000 acres of unused land, and he became so popular that he was nicknamed "the heart of Perón". With his second term as governor coming to an end, Mercante now wished to become president, an ambition that clashed with Perón's intention to perpetuate himself in power (9).

A split broke out in the Peronist Party, dividing those who remained completely loyal to the incumbent and those who, although still agreeing with most of his policies, believed he should retire and hand over power to a new generation. The first group, which was larger and had the control of the party machinery, easily prevailed and expelled Mercante and his supporters. Nevertheless, the governor continued to organize his candidacy, sending out feelers to UCR and other opposition parties to help him, promising to give them a spot in the cabinet if he reached the Casa Rosada. By August 1957 a wide coalition of dissident Peronists, Radicals, Communists and Socialists, which was given the name of "Renovación Democrática" ("Democratic Renewal"), was assembled.
640px-Biblioteca_del_Senado_de_la_Provincia_-_13_-_Los_partidos_del_norte_de_la_provincia_recibieron_la_visita_del_Gobernador_Mercante.jpg

Mercante on the campaign trail.

The race was, predictably, grotesquely imbalanced in Perón's favor. With the state apparatus completely under the president's control, public employees were forced to campaign on his behalf lest they be arbitrarily fired from their jobs, while government militants threatened and attacked opposition newspapers and local campaign committees, with local police forces watching everything when they weren't actively breaking up political rallies. Having spent almost twelve years in the Casa Rosada, backed by all of Argentina's major labour unions and most provincial governors, Perón was now eerily lethargic, sure of his imminent victory, and was already planning his moves for the next six years.

Mercante, on the other hand, hit the streets hard. His gubernatorial record gave him a considerable following in the country's largest and wealthiest province, and his insistence on leading a clean campaign bereft of attacks despite the treatment he was subjected to attracted the attention of loyal Peronist voters who were less than excited about the possibility of being ruled by the same person for eighteen years straight. The Radicals and other opposition members, eager to deliver a defeat to the man they now simply called "the tyrant", campaigned for him enthusiastically, turning out for Mercante in massive numbers in their traditional strongholds.
Argentina 1957.PNG

Perón won, as expected, but Mercante's performance was nothing short of admirable, winning a majority of the votes in Buenos Aires and Córdoba along with respectable results in other provinces, greatly exceeding expectations. The results were received first with shock then celebration from the opposition, who came within just nine percentage points of unseating the president and made noticeable gains in the legislature, with the UCR caucus in the Chamber of Deputies jumping from 14 to 52 legislators in the lower house and 9 new seats in the Senate - still a clear Peronist majority, but not an overwhelming one anymore.

The president was woken from his power-induced stupor, and he knew his days were numbered - he would leave the Casa Rosada on June 4, 1964. But Peronism would survive beyond his days in office, he'd make sure of that.

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Notes:

(1) Braden's interference actually hurt Tamborini, since it allowed Perón to frame the race as between him and the US.

(2) IOTL Illia lost that race by a relatively narrow margin. Even so, he performed much better than other Radical candidates.

(3) IOTL Perón urged the crowd to retaliate and they burned the headquarters of the opposition parties to the ground. Here he tries to maintain some plausible deniability.

(4) This is OTL, and Arturo Frondizi would continue this policy during his brief presidency to great success.

(5) IOTL the Justicialista was cancelled after the 1955 coup d'état so that only a few cars were produced.

(6) YCF was founded in 1958 IOTL.

(7) IOTL Perón sanctioned a law that legalized divorce in late 1954, breaking his once friendly relations with the Church for good. They still deteriorate here by the way, just not as severely.

(8) Basically the bombing of the Plaza de Mayo and the coup that happened in September 1955 rolled into one.

(9) IOTL Mercante was forced to resign and was subequently expelled from the party in 1952 because of the threat he posed to Perón, even though he was one of the guys who organized the demonstrations for his release in 1945.
 
Very good update @Vinization, and a very believable alternative trajectory post no-coup-1955; the 1959 midterms may be a lot rougher for the government, especially if Mercante's example leads to even more defections, or worse, the unification of dissident peronists and other opponents could challenge for leadership of the CGT. And the thing about gerrymandering and FPTP is that once you lose, you lose it all at once (see the GOP wave in the US House in 1994).
 
What do you think @minifidel?
It's always been rumored that the British were negotiating the sale of the islands, but there's ample reason to doubt it and little proof of it before or since. But it would certainly help the Argentine case to not go to war over it, not that Perón is the kind of president to lead any kind of delicate negotiation with the British to secure the islands peacefully. But who knows, the UK might agree on a diffuse timetable to "return" the islands like they did with Hong Kong, they are considerably less valuable than that city was.
 
Regardless of repression, this scenario still has a better Argentina than OTL since the justicialista car was release. That makes everything better.

All hail the justicialista car!
 
I swear to God, every time I have to make a new wikibox I gain a new ounce of respect for people whose TLs are nothing but wikiboxes. Especially when maps are involved!
 
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It's always been rumored that the British were negotiating the sale of the islands, but there's ample reason to doubt it and little proof of it before or since. But it would certainly help the Argentine case to not go to war over it, not that Perón is the kind of president to lead any kind of delicate negotiation with the British to secure the islands peacefully. But who knows, the UK might agree on a diffuse timetable to "return" the islands like they did with Hong Kong, they are considerably less valuable than that city was.
Maybe Brazil could help? both are getting strong and probaly could join forces to level the play field.
 
Argentina only invaded the Falklands in 1982 because it was led by a horrific military dictatorship that was desperate to maintain any semblance of popularity.

Since one of its most important 20th century events (the proscription of Peronism and the instability it caused) has been averted, its history from 1955 onward will be completely different. As shown by the fact Perón will remain in office for 18 uninterrupted years.
 
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Really good seeing Argentina getting it's own chapter! Peronism is something very interesting and seeing the alternate path here makes me wonder of how will it affect the world.
 
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