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José Ignacio Rucci
José Ignacio Rucci (Alcorta, Santa Fe Province, 15 March 1924 – Buenos Airesmarker, 25 September 1973) was an Argentine politician, general secretary of the CGT (General Confederation of Labour) starting in 1970. Close to Juan Perón, and a representant of the syndical bureaucracy (the trade-union movement's right wing); he was assassinated in 1973.

Trade unionist career

The son of modest Italian immigrants , José I. Rucci emigrated to Buenos Aires Capital as a young man to find work. He became a steelworker in the La Ballester-Molina weapons' factory. There, he met Hilario Salvo, leader of the recently founded UOM steelworking union .

Rucci was present on Plaza de Mayomarker , as well as thousands of workers, on 17 October 1945, a historical date of Peronism. Elected for the first time trade unionist delegate in 1947, he retained this function until 1953 .

Following the so-called "Revolución Libertadora", a military coup which ousted Perón in 1955, Rucci progressively acquired fame by participating to the Peronist Resistance movement, and was jailed several times for breaching decree 4,161 which proscribed the sole pronunciation of the name of Perón . Following the creation of the 62 Organizations, the political branch of the CGT, to which he collaborated, Rucci quickly progressed inside the unions' hierarchy, alongside Augusto Vandor.

At first a unionist leader in the strong SOSIMA steelworking factory, in San Nicolás de los Arroyosmarker-Ramallomarker, he assumed the press secretary of the Unión Obrero Metalúrgica (UOM, the steelworkers' union) in 1960, sitting in the UOM alongside the general secretary of the CGT Augusto Vandor, Paulino Niembro, Avelino Fernández and Lorenzo Miguel. He was named inspector in 1964 for the San Nicolásmarker section, where he later became the general secretary.

José Ignacio Rucci strongly opposed himself to the unionist Agustín Tosco, the leader of the Cordobesemarker trade union Luz y Fuerza, who shared a more leftist position than Rucci and opposed the syndical bureaucracy's "participationist" stance towards the military government, following Juan Carlos Onganía's coup in 1966.

General secretary of the CGT

In July 1970, Rucci was elected general secretary of the CGT, by 544 delegates on 618 present , during the Normalization Congress, which lead to the split between the CGT-Azopardo and the CGTA (CGT de los Argentinos), which claimed a more radical leftist stance opposed to the military junta. Among those 618 delegates present at the Congress, 544 voted for him; those who voted against were the Vandoristas, on the right-wing (Vandor had spoken in favour of a "Peronism without Perón", supporting the "participationist" tendency among the workers' movement), and the Cordobeses, who were in favour of armed struggle against the junta .

New general secretary of the CGT (hereafter CGT-Azopardo), Rucci launched the slogan "Nothing Without Perón" (Nada sin Perón) and opposed Lanusse's National Agreement (Gran Acuerdo Nacional - general Lanusse headed the junta from 1971 to 1973), henceforth unifying Peronist forces in Argentina working for Perón's return from exile .

On 17 November 1972, the old general briefly returned to Argentina, underneath a strong rain, with Rucci holding his umbrella . During Héctor J. Cámpora's presidential mandate (March-June 1973), the "Revolutionary Tendency" of Peronism managed to have several representants in the government, while the "Peronist Right-Wing" was represented by the minister of Social Welfare José López Rega. Rucci signed the Social Plan with the Minister of Economics José Ber Gelbard and the Confederación General Económica (CGE) . The agreement, which proposed a price freeze and an increase of wages, was opposed both by the Peronist Left and by the employers' organizations, who claimed it went against free market . Although Rucci was depicted by the Peronist Left as representant of the Syndical Bureaucracy, according to the author Berzaba, he did not receive support, following the Social Plan agreement, neither from Gelbard, nor from Lopez Rega, nor either from Lorenzo Miguel, also an important member of the Syndical Bureaucracy .

Along with other representants of the syndical bureaucracy (Lorenzo Miguel, etc.), Rucci did set up, however, the tribune from which Perón was to talk in Ezeiza airport. Perón's return was tragically marked by the Ezeiza massacre, during which snipers shot on the crowd from the tribune, following orders from Lopez Rega. The massacre definitively divided the Peronist movement among its revolutionary left wing and its right-wing, supported by José Lopez Rega, counsellor of Isabel Perón.

In the context of increased social conflicts and strong tensions, and opposition towards the Social Plan, Rucci's personal secretary, Osvaldo Bianculli, was assassinated, leading Rucci to live in a confined building of the CGT in an attempt to protect his life . Rucci was increasingly isolated and well aware of the threats on his life .

During the truckdrivers' strike in Chile against Salvador Allende's government, Rucci sent to the Chilean president a letter supporting him against this distablization attempt supported by the CIA .

Nevertheless, Rucci was also killed, in the Floresmarker neighborhood of Buenos Aires allegedly by Roqué, a member of the Montoneros (Left-wing revolutionary Peronists), on 25 September 1973, a few days after Perón's election. The assassination , which has not been entirely cleared , appears to have been a controversed operation, which had not been agreed by the entire direction of the Montoneros. Carlos Hobert, one of the oldest leader of the Montoneros, thus heard about the assassination by the radio. Some, such as El Barba Gutiérrez, leader of the Peronist Workers' Youth, as well as Juan Carlos Dante Gullo then thought that Rucci had been assassinated by the CIA, in an attempt to distabilize Peronism. Perón himself declared at Rucci's death: "They killed my son. They cut my right-arm."

Years later, the Montoneros' leadership unofficially recognized their responsibility in Rucci's assassination, which thoroughly marked Perón, who cried for the first time in public. The majority of the Montoneros held this killing for a major political mistake. Vandor himself had also been assassinated the preceding year.


  1. José Ignacio Rucci, El precio de la lealtad, review of Luís Fernando Beraza's biography of Rucci (Vergara, 2007) by Soles Digital, 10 December 2007
  2. Interview with Rucci (1972), Revista Gente, on-line by El Historiador


  • Beraza, Luís Fernando. José Ignacio Rucci, Editorial: Vergara, 2007
  • Garbely, Frank: El viaje del arco iris. Buenos Aires: El Ateneo, 2003.

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