Undoubtedly the most notable figure of expropriating anarchism in Argentina, along with Severino Di Giovanni, was Miguel Arcángel Roscigna, secretary of the Committee for Prisoners and Deported and an anarchist metallurgical leader. Roscigna and his group strike the first blow on October 1, 1927.
With head bandages and posing as patients, They assault the man in charge of paying salaries at the Rawson hospital door and take 141,000 pesos. That loot will be destined to the aid of the prisoners and to undertake an old project of the anarchists: the counterfeiting of banknotes. It was for them a way of attacking capitalism at its roots.
In connection with Di Giovanni’s group, Roscigna and his people also they will dedicate themselves to doing “justice by their own hand” against the police chiefs identified as torturers of anarchists and unionized workers.
Severino di Giovanni (1901-1931), Rosigna’s contemporary, was one of the best known of the anarchist figures. / Clarín Archive
The great escape
While Severino was shot in Buenos Aires, Roscigna was about to land one of his most spectacular shots: free his companions detained in the jail of Punta Carretas, Uruguay.
Money from Rawson and other raids made things easier. He allowed Gino Gatti to settle with his partner and their young daughter in a house bought by the group in front of the jail.
There, Gatti installed the El Buen Trato coal factory, from where construction begins on one of the most perfect escape tunnels, with ventilation and electric light along its 50-meter route. Roscigna, Andrés Vázquez Paredes, “captain” Paz and Fernando Malvicini participated in the work.
On March 18, 1931 the escape was made. Prisoners come out comfortably to the coal factory where three cars are waiting for them heading to a house on Curupí street.
Former Punta Carretas prison, now transformed into a shopping center, Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo EFE / Raúl Martínez
In 1970, the same tunnel was used by the Tupamaros to carry out one of the most notorious escapes of political prisoners in Latin America. 118 Tupamaros escaped through the tunnel designed by the “engineer” Gino Gatti, but not before leaving a sign that said “Thank you, fellow anarchists.” Signed. “MLN-Tupamaros”.
On March 21, 9 days after the escape, an agent from the municipal kennel entered the anarchists’ house chasing a dog. The agent is a former convict who recognizes one of the escapees, lets go of the dog and goes out to report to the Police who know where the most wanted men in Uruguay are hiding.
The same tunnel was used in the 70s by the Tupamaros to star in one of the most notorious escapes of political prisoners in Latin America.
Felipe Pigna, historian
In minutes, 53 policemen storm the house and arrest Roscigna and his men. The Uriburu dictatorship requests extraditions. The anarchists decide to indict themselves before the Uruguayan courts to be sentenced there and avoid the application of martial law in Argentina.
The strategy works and the anarchists will be condemned and imprisoned in Montevideo. They will stay there until December 31, 1936. Faced with the refusal of the eastern justice to grant extradition to the detainees, they are issued an expulsion decree.
Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, the detainees are transferred to the Central Police Department, where They are first savagely interrogated by the men of Commissioner Fernández Bazán and then “legally” by judges Lamarque and González Bowland, who overcome them for the causes of the assault on the Rawson hospital.
From that moment the trail of the detainees is lost. Several months after the disappearance, an officer opens up to the Pro Prisoners Commission and he tells them in a confidential tone: “Don’t break any more guys: Roscigna, Vázquez Paredes and Malvicini were given the Bazán law, they were anchored in the Río de la Plata.” (one)
A dark Argentine tradition was being inaugurated.
Quotes: 1. Osvaldo Bayer, The expropriating anarchists, op.cit.