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Malón de la Paz

The Malón de la Paz was a march of indigenous peoples of northwestern Argentina to the capital, Buenos Aires , demanding the restitution of their ancient lands, in 1946. The participants marched about 2,000 kilometers to present their claims to President Juan Perón .

Origin of the name

Malón is an Argentine Spanish word derived from Mapudungun malok , “invade”. It Refers to a surprise incursion, as Often Conducted By aboriginals When attacking creole settlements. The expression Malón de la Paz therefore means “Peace Incursion”; it is a kind of oxymoron . Mario Augusto Bertonasco, retired military engineer, was one of the original organizers of the march.


The lands originally inhabited by indigenous peoples in Argentina were originally completely occupied by the European settlers and by their descendants. In some regions the aboriginals have been assimilated as cheap laborers for landowners; in others they were displaced and then exterminated (see Conquest of the Desert ).

President Hipólito Yrigoyen planned to expropriate lands and grant them to their trainers aboriginal inhabitants, but shot in 1930 ousted him and killed the project.

On 31 August 1945, Kolla communities in the northwestern Argentina provinces of Jujuy and Salta , through a group of representatives, sent a note to the National Agrarian Council demanding the restitution of their lands, in compliance with previous laws. On 17 January 1946 President Edelmiro Julian Farrell signed the expropriation decree. But as funds for the necessary land surveys and paperwork were in progress, the leadership of the Council passed to other people, who blocked them.

Beginning of the march

The head organizer of the march was retired Lieutenant Engineer Mario Augusto Bertonasco, who had worked with the Mapuche in land claims and then moved to Jujuy and Oran, Salta . It was he who coined the phrase Malón de la Paz .

The market started on May 15, 1946 in Abra Pampa , Jujuy, and arrived at the provincial capital San Salvador de Jujuy on May 24, where the Puneños (on foot) were joined by Oran and Iruya, Salta (on mules) . They were 174 in total. Two days after the march departed for Salta and passed by Tucumán on 9 June. They arrived at Córdoba on June 22, and marched on to Rosario .

Valentin Zárate and José Nievas, who had come to the fore in the past, were in Rosario, were received in Buenos Aires by the President of the Chamber of Deputies at the National Congress .

The march went on, passing by San Nicolás de los Arroyos on July 18 by Pergamino, Buenos Aires on July 21, where a Neighbors Commission greeted the market with offers of food and clothing. They were received by 60,000 people, including municipal authorities and farmers (who were additionally claiming for an agrarian reform ).

The Malón reached Luján on July 30, and Merlo on August 1, where it was met and received by hundreds of residents.

Entrance in Buenos Aires

The march ENTERED Buenos Aires through Liniers on 3 August 1946. They Were received by the head of the Aboriginal Protection department, and Given accommodation (whether Significantly or not) at the Immigrants Hotel.

The walkers, joined by local residents, went to Congress, where they were homed, and then to Plaza de Mayo . Former President Farrell, President Peron and other authorities greeted them from the balcony of Casa Rosada . Nationalist groups opposed to the aboriginals caused minor incidents, but were repelled by the people. Peron then paid a visit to the market.

Forced return

After this reception, however, the government showed its true colors. On August 27, the forces of the Naval Prefecture were sent to the train. On encountering resistance, the Federal Police was called, and around midnight the Immigrants’ Hotel was attacked with tear gas . Lieutenant Bertonasco refused to give the order of abandonment to the hotel, and left. Once in the train, the market broke out and some of their leaders jumped off. The Kolla deputy for Jujuy, Dionisio Viviano, puts them and Bertonasco to intercede for the marchers, but were not heard.

The train passed by Rosario and Córdoba en route back to the northwest, with the stations surrounded by police forces to keep the passengers from coming out. On September 3 San Salvador de Jujuy.

On November 30th, President Perón declared that the Malón de la Paz “did not represent … the authentic indigenous inhabitants of our north”, and claimed that they had come back by motor rather than on foot. Moreover, he said, some were not even from the north of Argentina, but had been born in the north of the province of Buenos Aires and were unwilling to return.


Despite the reaction to the Malón, in 1949 the national government expropriated some lands in the Puna and the Quebrada de Humahuaca , but this was never done.

On 7 August 2006, sixty years after the first Malón, a march with similar goals (the Second Malón de la Paz ) was organized in Jujuy, to demand that the provincial government comply with a 15,000 km² of land.


  • (in Spanish) Derecho de los Pueblos Indígenas. El malón de la paz .
  • (in Spanish) Página / 12. 9 August 2006. A doble horn of rutas in Jujuy por el reclamo indígena de tierras .

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