Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Lugones family

My friend Paddy arrives tomorrow for a 10-day visit. Before I left we searched for a decent hotel not too far from my apartment and settled on Rooney's boutique hotel (warning: link leads to a page with slightly annoying music).

One of the hotel's claims to fame is that it is the former residence of 'well-known Argentine author Leopold Lugones'.

A cursory google search leads to the Wikipedia entry on Lugones, which makes it clear that he led a fairly tortured existence, culminating in his death by suicide after ingesting a draught of cyanide and whisky. (This took place at an entirely different hotel in another part of town).

A contributing factor may have been the realization that Leopold's only son, Polo Lugones, was a nasty piece of work indeed, whose main claim to fame was that, during his tenure as chief of police during the dictatorship of Uriburu in the 1930s, he introduced the electric cattle prod as a method of torture.

In an ironic twist of fate, one of the "beneficiaries" of Polo's innovation was his own daughter (i.e. Leopold's granddaughter) whose anarchist views caused her to run afoul of the military dictatorship during the 1970s, at whose hands she eventually perished.

A grim reminder, if any were needed, of Argentina's uniquely violent history.

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