The term unicato is not recognized by the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). This is a concept widely used in Argentina with reference to the abuse of power exercised by an authority.
The notion was coined during the presidency of Miguel Ángel Juárez Celman (1886-1890). His personalist style and the location of men he trusted in all spheres of power made his government known as a unicato, since “the only one” who made the important decisions was the president himself. A unicate, therefore, is a presidential regime. The president assumes all power and directly intervenes in most decisions, minimizing the importance of congress or parliament and often leaving aside what is established by the National Constitution.
For the development of a unicate, it is necessary for the supreme authority to resort to perks and sanctions, rewarding those who obey it without question and punishing those who try to maintain a certain autonomy. In addition to referring to the specific historical period of Juárez Celman as Argentine president, the idea of a unicato is often used when an individual holds great power, does not delegate decisions and does not consult other leaders. For example: “We cannot accept that this leader manages the union as a single member: we have thousands of members who want to express themselves through voting in assemblies” , “It is unfair that they only criticize me: this is not a single member, the decisions that all we take”. Juárez Celman’s presidency Julio Argentino Roca assumed the presidency of Argentine territory until October 13, 1886, when he ceded the position to his brother-in-law Miguel Juárez Celman, until then a senator. This bond did not last long, as soon afterward Celman rebelled against Roca. The term unicato emerged from the performance of Celman, who simultaneously became president of the National Autonomist Party (also known by the acronym PAN) and of the Nation, and began to be used by both the people and the press to describe the situation that the country was in. experiencing. One of the most evident characteristics of the unicato was the granting of privileges to the province of Cordoba, where Celman was born. Historians have found that Celman did this in part because of the advice he received from his circle of friends. To cite an example, four years before assuming the presidency, he received a letter from José Miguel Olmedo, then deputy for Córdoba, in which he encouraged him to use his power without allowing personal or sentimental issues to stop him, as this would prevent him from doing so. . be equivalent to suicide.
On the other hand, the poet Lucio Vicente López also influenced him not to put his friendship with the Roquistas before his Juarista identity, indicating that it was necessary to clearly distinguish between the two groups, regardless of the consequences. As can be seen, the unicate carries a series of ideas opposed to loyalty and moral principles. In fact, Celman was not concerned with popular prestige, but focused on accumulating more and more power. The people who were part of the Jaurista circle, called “clique”, were, among others: Lucio V. Mansilla, as president of the National Chamber of Deputies; Norberto Quirno Costa, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship; Luis V. Varela and Salustiano J. Zavalía, president of the Federal Supreme Court and chambermaid in civil matters, respectively; José Miguel Olmedo, José Figueroa Alcorta and Pablo Rueda, who formed the group of “friends of Córdoba”.