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On the street where you live: or, What’s in a name?

17 August 2012

It’s not really Perfidious Albion Week here at MexFiles, but thanks to a commentator on a post having nothing to do with Britain at all (rather with Argentine discussion of the Mexican electoral mess) , I ran across  Block Usado, a wonderful English-language website on Argentina’s political and cultural history.

If it WERE Perfidious Albion Week,  Mila’s recent post on the  vagaries of Argentina’s official position towards all things British would be particularly apt:

Nothing’s left to luck when trying to clarify your political position. Not even the streets’ names, if you are the official government. Your every decision, your every move, should reflect coherency with your ideals.

And that’s what’s been happening here in Buenos Aires for the last century.

There is one concurred and commercial avenue reaching Palermo. It even has it’s own subway station. The name’s Scalabrini Ortiz. But, many still remember when that street was named ‘Canning’ […]  [for] George Canning, [who] was the responsible for the UK’s recognition of freedom from the Spanish Kingdom of: Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, and the one who pushed the recognition of Brazil as independent from the Kingdom of Portugal, all of this in 1825.

[…] this wasn’t just out of Canning’s good and pure heart.

“Spanish America is free, and if we do not mismanage our affairs, she is English”

Gral. Juan Domingo Peron […] replaced the name of the English liberal, diplomat, and even Prime Minister for a little time, with the name of an Argentinian nationalist writer and thinker: Raúl Scalabrini Ortiz.


During the military’s illegal stay at the head of the country, and faithful to it’s admiration towards England, Scalabrini Ortiz Av. became Canning again…

In 1984, after a failed war against England (coherence?) for the Malvinas Islands […] the illegal government called for presidential elections… in 1985, the government renamed the avenue after the nationalist and revolutionary thinker, Scalabrini Ortiz.

Scalabrini Ortiz looks a lot like the main streets in Polanco… which thankfully were named for ancient Greek philosophers and unlikely to become politically inconvenient. (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

One Comment leave one →
  1. 17 August 2012 6:04 pm

    Woah, just… Woah. Thank you!
    Glad to see you enjoyed it, and that it got you thinking about this.
    Un abrazo!

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