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Fuel and Fire: Selected Poems 1956-76$17.95
trans Julia Leverone
Revolutionary voice from Argentina
Francisco “Paco” Urondo (1930 – 1976) was an Argentine poet, writer, activist, intellectual and member of the Montoneros guerrilla organization. He published multiple collections of poetry, short stories, theatrical works, and a novel, as well as La patria fusilada, his famous interview with the survivors of the 1972 massacre at Trelew, a mass execution of 16 political prisoners in Rawson prison by the conservative military government of Argentina. In 1968 he was named General Culture Director for the Santa Fe Province, and in 1973 Director of the Literature Department of the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature of the University of Buenos Aires. On June 17, 1976, he was assassinated by Argentine Security Forces in an ambush.
He was briefly imprisoned in 1973 and that same year published La Patria Fusilada, which recounts through interview the stories of the three survivors of the Trelew massacre, the mass execution of political prisoners at Rawson prison. As his literary fame grew his militancy made him famous also with the regime, forcing him to disguise himself in public and adopt a pseudonym, Ortiz (after Juan L. Ortiz). He carried cyanide pills so that, in the event of capture, he would not be forced to betray his friends under torture.
In 1976 Urondo was transferred by the Montoneros to Mendoza to head the column there, traveling with then-companion Alicia Raboy and their one-year-old child Angela. Of this journey Rodolfo Walsh writes:
There was an encounter with an enemy vehicle, a chase, and a shootout between the cars. Inside were Paco, Lucía (Alicia Raboy) with their daughter, and a female comrade (René Ahualli)….They couldn’t break loose. Finally Paco stopped the car… and said, “I took the pill and I already feel sick.” Ahualli remembers that Lucía said, “But papi, why did you do that?” Ahualli escaped between the bullets and arrived wounded to Buenos Aires, days later. Paco was shot in the head twice, though he was probably already dead.
His assassins were finally convicted in 2011.
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