The “Authority” is above the laws

Eduardo Goligorsky’s story, “Hierarchical Order” (1975), begins with a persecution. Abáscal chases the Cholo, a killer minor, through the low funds of Buenos Aires. Persecutor and persecuted are at the service of the same organization. In contrast to the Cholo, Abáscal is a mercenary with ambitions of greatness and has orders to kill the Cholo. The organization has made a mistake and needs to erase its tracks. The Cholo is the weakest piece of the chain, it is not a professional, and it has received the task only because the professionals are currently outside the country, and, therefore, there is no other alternative. Abáscal follows him at dusk and witnesses his tours of cabarets and sordid streets. Finally, he manages to finish it with a shot with his Luger pistol in a miserable alley, and is lost in the shadows of the night; He has orders to disappear after committing the crime. The Doctor, a more important piece within the organization, has urged him to do so. Abáscal has an air ticket to go to Venezuela and he does so. Upon arrival, he is killed, when he is going down the ladder of the plane, by the anonymous firing of a Browning rifle. The Doctor finds out about his death without surprise, from his office in Buenos Aires. He knows it by a cable that came to his office, and that communicates, under the encrypted code of “We sign contract”, the successful execution of Abáscal. He understand that this is how the hierarchical order works, that it is essential not to leave loose ends. It had been necessary to get rid of the Cholo; then, of his murderer. The Caracas subsidiary of the organization mandated that the crimes be simple and practical, with no waste of time or useless shocks. The Doctor knew that it was impossible not to leave any trace. In fact, he was aware of Abáscal’s execution. After these thoughts, the Doctor opens an envelope that his secretary has left on the desk, with a stamp that identifies him with the city of New York. In the moment what he open it to read the instructions that could mark the start of a new operation, he has cut the thread of a detonator: in a few seconds the explosive charge contained in the envelope explodes the room and leaves only a cluster of rubble.

Goligorsky’s story allows questioning about how power works, how it is built, and how it acts. In “Orden Jerarquico”, power is remote and unpunished, and its impunity is grounded on the basis of anonymity and the complexity of its action devices. This story takes the subject of anonymity but instead of placing it on an individual applies it to an entire criminal organization.

Crime is the mirror of society, that is, society is seen from the crime. Everything is corrupted and that society is a jungle. There is no longer any mystery in causality: murders, robberies, scams, extortion, the chain is always economic. “Money that legislates morals and upholds the law is the only reason for these stories where everything is paid.”

The society represented in the story is overwhelmed by violence. The death of an individual is the beginning of a series that leads to another death or an unexpected consequence, but always marks a possible continuation and never an end point. Violence generates more violence. The corruption of society and the absence of justice, meanwhile, determine the impunity of criminal actions.

The organization that proposes the story has a mechanism of operational complex, and this complexity gives impunity in its action, thanks to the different members in many cases ignore the authority to which it responds. This implies reinsurance, since it eliminates the possibility of delation. The hierarchy works at the same time as a chain of command, guarantees effective action, since each of its members has a goal to fulfill, unknown to its subordinates. The title refers to this hierarchical order, and here the word “order” takes on a determining meaning: it refers not only to the strict organization of command levels, but also to the neatness and perfection in the execution of crimes. Everything turns out as planned, everything goes according to rigorous and planned procedures.

However, despite the narrator’s statement, in the story the machine fails and a repair is necessary. Goligorsky’s story, then, does not tell the usual and daily functioning of that organization, but its exception. The exception gives rise to the story, as it produces a conflict and the need for its reparation.

“Orden Jerarquico” creates in the reader the impression that there is something beyond words, a corrupt power that permeates the highest spheres of society. The text indicates that the true device of power is in an unnamed area. His ability to keep secret is also the reason for his strength and the guarantee of his impunity.


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