Mendive. Revista de Educación, january-may 2019; 17(1): 140-154

Translated from the original in Spanish

Córdoba: university reform, repercussion, legacy and the imprint of the neoliberal model in Latin America


Córdoba: reforma universitaria, repercusión, legado y la impronta del modelo neoliberal en América Latina


Julio Jesus Sierra Socorro1

1University of Pinar del Río «Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca». Cuba. Email:


Received: September 9th, 2018.
Approved: December 12th, 2018.  



The study was comprehensive of what happened in Cordoba, Argentina in 1918, its impact on the student movement of the time and its immense value for the Cuban revolutionary process, had in the figures of Julio Antonio Mella and Ernesto Guevara de la Serna two of its most important paradigms, which understood that the struggles for a new university should be inserted in the struggles for a new society based on socialism as the supreme ideal. Its objective is directed, together with reflection, to build awareness and contribute to the formation of convictions around the current problems of our region, which in a context of extreme neoliberalism makes the university and its social function is threatened; so the updating of the legacy of Córdoba to the new reality, is presented as a challenge of current generations. The results correspond to the need for the call for definitions, so that the "American hour" materializes in the new university forged in the heat of the inclusive processes of these times that, threatened by retrograde forces, needs the protagonism of Latin American youth, to develop awareness of struggle, intransigence and together with the people to conquer the future.

Key words: university Reform; or niversity Education; Neoliberals.


El estudio realizado abarca lo acontecido en Córdoba, Argentina en 1918, su repercusión en el movimiento estudiantil de la época y su inmenso valor para el proceso revolucionario cubano. Tuvo en las figuras de Julio Antonio Mella y Ernesto Guevara de la Serna a dos de sus paradigmas más importantes, los cuales comprendieron que las luchas por una nueva universidad debían insertarse en las luchas por una nueva sociedad, basada en el socialismo como ideal supremo. Su objetivo está dirigido a contribuir con la formación de convicciones en torno a la problemática actual de la región en que vivimos, en un contexto de neoliberalismo extremo, viendo que la universidad y su función social, esté amenazad. Por lo que, la actualización del legado de Córdoba a la nueva realidad, se presenta como un reto de las actuales generaciones. Los resultados se corresponden con la necesidad del llamado a las definiciones, para que la «hora americana» se materialice en la nueva universidad, forjada al calor de los procesos inclusivos de estos tiempos que, amenazados por fuerzas retrógradas, necesita del protagonismo de la juventud latinoamericana, para desarrollar conciencia de lucha, intransigencia y junto al pueblo conquistar el futuro.

Palabras clave: Reforma Universitaria; Educación Universitaria; Neoliberalismo.



The history of humanity includes events that have marked times and constituted momentous milestones that have promoted changes based on the awareness of its protagonists. One of those events was the Reform University of Córdoba, Argentina, in 1918.

The echoes did not wait. Cuba with the leadership of Julio Antonio Mella, creator of the University Student Federation (FEU), understood the meaning of the struggles for a different university within the framework of a different society; aware that the solution of the problems of the university, were part of the deep solution of the problem that Cuban society was living then.

The study carried out structured in two epigraphs, allows the approach to the events that occurred in Argentina during the first decades of the 20th century. Seen from various sides, it allows the analysis of the historical, economic, political, social and cultural factors of those events that set guidelines in the struggles of America for the claims of its peoples, plunged into obscurantism caused by the heritage of exploitation of colonialism first and neocolonialism later.

There is abundant information about the events being studied. There have been many professionals, not only in university education, who from different perspectives have approached the problemof the Reform University; because the legacy of Cordoba still has much to do in this region and in that sense lies the reason for this study. The history of struggle of the American peoples requires its dissemination to raise awareness about the values that prevail in those who participate in events that transcend their own lives. The approaches to the problem have been very varied, because the ideological currents and interests of those who approach their study are varied.

The interpretation of those facts and the role that youth played in them, can be contradictory because of the complexity of social processes, the national and international contexts in which they happened, the imprint given by those who, from their class positions, did not understand the value of those actions and of the Manifesto itself, which, as a declaration of principles, constitutes a genuine expression of a generation that lived up to its time.

At a distance of one hundred years, the details and the university youth of this centenary can be better appreciated, could drink from the transcendental epic implicit in those young people and as their heirs, expose to the wind the new banners that proclaim another «American time», because it is necessary. Latin American reality demands definitions. The neoliberal and right wing wave of Latin American societies in which scruples have disappeared and violence and discrimination in the name of democracy, freedom and justice are openly magnified must be stopped.

Precisely, to build awareness and contribute to the formation of convictions around the current problems of our region, this study has been done. At the same time, to support the influence that, at the different stages of the revolutionary process, including the construction of Socialism in Cuba, the University Reform had. Likewise, to denounce the dismantling that originates in neoliberal policies in university education, contrary to the legacy of Córdoba and to the guidelines of an innovative university, with a strategic sense and with a democratic, participatory nature and open to the service of the national and Latin American community.




Reflections on the events of Córdoba in 1918, in favor of the University Reform and its legacy

The meaning of Córdoba in 1918 should not be addressed, without first looking at transcendental events that were paving the way, because social processes are chained together by sometimes-invisible links; but that in their essences constitute their objective and subjective causes. More than 400 years of uninterrupted exploitation of a very diverse population, but, fervently motivated to achieve a better future, generated the movement of the youth of a continent, linked by hope. In Córdoba, youth reached a high role, because it gave the timely and accurate response to the imprint of the historical moment.

Already before, in the second half of the nineteenth century, a universal thinker was born to America, who with careful analysis developed ideas for all time. This was without a doubt the Apostle of the Independence of Cuba, José Martí. In his study of the reality that he had to live and the emancipatory struggles of the first decades of the century to achieve the independence of Spanish colonialism, in which the Bolivarian ideal stood out, he developed a whole conception about the exercise of government in the Latin American republics and the role of education in the formation of one's own thinking in favor of American identity. Not that of Anglo-Saxon America, but what he called "Our America," that of the Rio Grande to Patagonia.

   "The government must be born from the country. The spirit of the government must be that of the country. The form of the government has to agree to the country's own constitution. The government is nothing more than the balance of the natural elements of country. (…) How are the rulers to leave the universities, if there is no university in America where the rudimentary art of government is taught, which is the analysis of the peculiar elements of the peoples of America? (Martí, 1975, p.17)

Together with the tyrannical sword and the evangelizing cross, the colonization of the American peoples was consolidated as a cultural process that encompasses the entire structure of their societies. Thus, the Western model was established, essentially exclusive and ignorant of the existence of an ancestral culture, enriched in time by practices in different spheres of society: the economy, politics and culture in all its manifestations, of peoples indigenous natives, of African ethnicities settled in America, as a result of the opprobrious slavery and its "Slave Trade" and that of the natives of the Caribbean.

To consider José Martí as a forerunner of decolonial thought that is spreading in these times with exalting force of values from the philosophy of liberation, is correct, for its revolutionary radicalism, its principles and its vision of a republican America with deep ancestral roots. It is an epistemology from the south that refers to the existence of a critical thought in the colonized that Martí based on thesis as:

   «The European university must yield to the American university. The history of America, of the Incas here, has to be taught by heart, although that of the archons of Greece is not taught. Our Greece is preferable to Greece that is not ours. Immerse yourself in our republics the world; but the trunk must be that of our republics ». (Martí, 1975, .18)

Essential thought that remains in full force and that is enriched with his ideas about the role that youth should play when he expressed:

   «The young people of America put their shirts on their elbows, sink their hands in the dough, and lift it with the yeast of their sweat. They understand that too much is imitated, and that salvation is in creation. Creating is the pass word of this generation ». (Martí, 1975, p.20)

It was very clear that "(...) the real man is being born to America, in these real times" (Martí, 1975, p.20), thus, 27 years later the definitive birth occurred in Córdova.

An approach to the context in which the university student movement that proclaimed the Reform University of Córdoba in 1918 originated cannot be separated from the recognition of the class character of education in general and of university education in particular. Nor can it move away from the criterion that education, while being conditioned by society, is conditioning its future. As Argentina and Latin America of the early twentieth century, despite the process of colonial liberation that had occurred a hundred years before, weighed down with that past in which power elites were formed in their universities. Only their offspring could aspire to access them, thus reproducing the conditions of vassalage, exploitation, misery, racism and exclusion, typical of a colonial society, in this sense Mato (2016) refers that:

   «A century later, we know that universities and other types of Higher Education institutions (HEIs), their ethical, political and epistemic bases, as well as their academic practices, are marked by that colonial and racist legacy. A century later, we know that if these bases and practices are not critically reviewed, they continue to reproduce worldviews, beliefs and future projects that update the colonial and racist matrix. (p.36)

The aforementioned author stops at the explicit understanding made by the Regional Conference on Higher Education held in Cartagena de Indias in 2008 (CRES-2008), in his Final Declaration that acknowledged the "(...) need to address these two problems together, because together they constitute one of the great challenges facing Latin American universities and more in general, for the Higher Education systems of these countries » (Mato, 2016).

So, what content is necessary to give an approach to the current context related to continuous university reform? It must be a content that aims to train and develop critical thinking. The university cannot be separated from that content, because it is a stimulating force for the deep penetration of knowledge about the causes and conditions that propitiate the fact that real power factors take over the university scenario.

The theoretical bases of this content find their primary source in their own philosophical thinking that provides the appropriate gnoseology, logic and methodology to be able to reverse the formative processes in universities; based on making effective proposals for the transformation of society. It refers to the need for a decolonizing philosophical thought, which allows reflection based on the liberating practice of peoples and nations. Because it gives the possibility to elaborate an own emancipatory thought to live in a different way, raising the values of freedom and justice in its deepest human sense. It is known that hegemonic powers reject that critical thinking of their own.

The university of these times is in the duty to teach in thinking, to develop thinking to dissent from the reality that oppresses. The university is in the duty of forming revolutionaries in the sense that they do not accept or adapt to reality, but transform it with their struggles for a better future.

Córdoba in 1918 had repercussions on the Latin American youth that faced asphyxiating reality. In Cuba, student leader Julio Antonio Mella lived at a crucial moment in the history of America. His interpretation of reality radicalized his thinking and could raise his leadership in fervent commitment to action from the teachings of Cordoba. He drank from that source he had in Deodoro Roca, his first ideologist and, like him, considered that the University could not be outside society. In result was a genuine interpreter of the moment and it allowed him "(...) time warn that there could be a reformed into a republic University neocolonized (...)" (Rodriguez, 1984, p.11).

In the article entitled : The socialist concept of university reform  , Mella (1928 ) considers «(...) if the reform is going to be undertaken with seriousness and with a revolutionary spirit can only be undertaken with a socialist spirit, the only revolutionary spirit of the moment ». Essential idea that alerts about the existence of bourgeois ideology in the reformist thinking of the time; because he is aware that: « (...) it is in the universities, in all the teaching institutions, where the culture of the ruling class is forged, where its servants leave in the broad field of science that it monopolizes».

The leadership of that liberating thought in Peru was represented in the figure of Jose Carlos Mariategui, who rightly Kohan (2011) considers that "(...) is the highest summit of Latin American Marxist thought in the first half of the twentieth century (…) »(P.13).

Mariategui, in one of his essays about the Peruvian reality: The University Reform Ideology and claims, analyzes the regional context in which the movement for the reform of the university in Córdoba was developed, where « (…) the birth of the new Latin American generation. (…) » [that] although moved to the struggle for peculiar protests of their own lives, they seem to speak the same language. " (Mariátegui, 2018 , p. 14)

After studying the peculiarities of the reform movement in different countries of Latin America, he concludes that:

   (…) As cardinal postulates of the University Reform can be considered: first, the intervention of the students in the government of the universities and second, the operation of free chairs, next to the official ones, with identical rights, in charge of teachers of accredited ability in the field. The meaning and origin of these two claims help us clarify the significance of the Reformation. (Mariátegui, 2018., Pp. 17-18)

In another of his essays Politics and university education in Latin America, he stops in the analysis of oligarchic tutelage to universities and what this has meant in privileges, academic bureaucratization, existence of caste regime without any creativity and stifled over time; among other evils that prevailing conservatism brought and which the student movement, promoter of the reform, had to face.

Another great from Latin America, Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, heir of the youth of Córdoba, with a high sense of the historical moment could show the youth of Cuba, from the first moments of the revolutionary triumph, the importance of the University being put up to your time.

In reflections on university reform, exposed as early as 1959, he refers to the fact that the "(…) student sectors consider state intervention or the loss of autonomy as the worst word in the world. (... ) »and in that sense (...) they are forgetting the revolutionary duties, they are forgetting the duties contracted in the struggle (...)» ( Guevara, 1970 , p.26)

It is understandable that the struggle for university autonomy is of less importance when the State is represented by a Revolutionary Government at the service of the great masses of people who benefit from the great transformations of the new society that is being built. For this reason we must achieve a united march towards the essential; because the University « (...) can become a backward factor if it is not incorporated into the great lines of the Revolutionary Government. »

Concerns about existing experiences in the region, such as that experienced by him in Guatemala during the events that led to the overthrow of the democratic government of Jacobo Arbenz, when the University of Guatemala, participated in the struggles against despotic and dictatorial governments, by defending in that new context « (...) the sacred right of a group of people to decide on fundamental matters of the Nation, even against the interests of the Nation itself. (...) » (Guevara, 1970, p.27). It served reactionary interests, interested in creating a front of struggle against the new power.

For the current Latin American context, the existing experience is of high importance. As the progressive governments that, with the new century were consolidating with their society projects aimed at paying off the social debt caused by the misgovernments established during more than 200 years of oligarchic domination, at the service of petty interests that have had nothing to do with the ideals of independence, freedom and justice of our liberators, they are being attacked from various fronts; between them, from the universities.

In other of his reflections, he also known in the world as "The Heroic Guerrilla man", on accepting the title of Doctor Honoris Causa granted by the Faculty of Pedagogy of the University "Marta Abreu" of Las Villas said:

   (...) and what do I have to say to the University as an article first, as an essential function of his life in this new Cuba? I have to tell him to paint himself black, to paint himself mulatto, not only among the students, but also among the teachers; that is painted as a worker, and as a peasant, that is painted as a town, because the University is not the heritage of anyone and belongs to the people of Cuba (...). (Guevara, 1970, p.34)

Consistent thought with the principles raised in 1918 by young Argentines. These were times that, as in Córdoba, youth again, as a driving pulley that moves the irredentant masses, was getting ready to build the new history of the homeland, which should be with the deepest conviction that the development and progress of the peoples are that reach it from the culture and its most diverse manifestations. What includes science, technique and technology; that constituted a perfect incentive for the new university to become the fuel that started the engines of the Revolution in Cuba and throughout America.

Latin America and the privatization wave of university education

The dangers and vices that the youth of Córdoba saw and led to radical pronouncements around the transformation of the university of the time, made possible the awareness of the generations that gave continuity to that legacy and enriched it.

A hundred years later, there is a serious threat to the Latin American university that endangers its innovative, strategic, democratic, participatory and open nature, far removed from the services it must provide to the national and Latin American community, the reference is directly to economic neoliberalism.

This in politics is accompanied by the extreme reactionary that shakes all the theoretical and methodological bases of the university and allows the hegemonic power groups to redesign their conceptual bases and place it according to their financial interests, to disarticulate their social function, whose relevance always It has been given for what it pays to training, research and extension to meet the needs related to local, national, and regional social development.

Noam Chomsky (2017), a prominent American political scientist, in observations made on the subject of the neoliberal assault on universities, addresses the ways in which the business world approach to the university world has been produced, absorbing it.

This situation has caused the precariousness of teachers in terms of their working conditions when the academic career disappears and there is temporary hiring. The disappearance of the contract for undetermined work time frees the employer from the obligations generated by the employment relationship. This significantly affects the legal security of that teaching staff that has broken their rights to rest, vacations, assistance and social security; among other benefits achieved during many years of intra and extramural union struggle.

As for the young students, what to say. It is upon them that hangs, the sword of Damocles, represented by the burden of the debt originated by the tuition fees, the loans for the acquisition of the material base of study, to meet the costs of the scholarship, of participation in scientific events, of the communication of scientific results; among other needs that the university management itself generates among the students, which in many occasions, forces them even to combine with the work to be able to afford the studies.

The international community of nations promotes the mechanisms that allow reaching consensus for confronting current trends, even if the "so stubborn" facts allow us to understand the complexity in which the university environment moves, sometimes removed from the realities that people live region of.

With a view to the preparation of the World Conference on Higher Education, previous events of a preparatory nature were promoted «(...) with the purpose of gathering the views of the communities of academics, executives, civil society groups, government entities and other social actors on four key issues: relevance, quality, financing and administration and cooperation (…) »( Rodríguez, 1998 ); There is no doubt that it is a very commendable effort to achieve unity of action around the application of policies linked to universities. However, it is necessary to emphasize that among those four key issues referred to, that of collaboration appears. Public and notorious are the efforts made by universities that respond to the interests of financial groups of power that, with evident hegemonic character, achieve the collaboration of specialists capable of routing their work towards the reach of relevance and quality, two other issues key points needed to monopolize the provision of university educational services. By themselves, they are already guaranteed financing and administration given their monopolistic nature, so that collaboration becomes the "open sesame" to achieve relevance and quality that drives them towards the achievement of their lucrative purposes.

Latin American universities, committed to the Cordoba Reforms and their essential demands, which are updated in new contexts, should refrain from collaborating with private universities born from the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), which with high opportunism tend to the region its tentacles and spurious interests for the recolonization of «Our America».

The collaboration must be established on the basis of principles and values shared in correspondence with the main theses raised from Córdoba and with the requirements approved in the International Congress of Higher Education in 1998, which remains in full force.

Naivety cannot prevail in circumstances in which neoliberal claims are presented as a valid option for the training of professionals for the labor market and not based on solving the historical problems that the university has raised from Córdoba.

It is very eloquent that information such as the following appears in the network of networks: «Santander Bank tops the Global Fortune 500 list, of the Varkey Foundation in collaboration with Unesco, which brings together the first 500 companies worldwide measured by income. (...) »And later it is added that:« Behind Santander, the companies that lead the top ten of this list are IBM, Telefónica, Exxon Mobil , Target, Glaxo Smithkline , Microsoft, Toyota Motor, Rio Tinto Group , and Wells Fargo (…) »( García, 2015 ).

The existence of a trend of penetration of the business world in the preserve of university education, is already a reality backed by the own actions that these large companies develop throughout the world. It corresponds to the heirs of a hundred years ago of the revolutionary Córdoba of the 20th century, to raise their voice and their action to fight for their transformation. The role corresponds to those who must be protagonists in a coenaltecer of virtues of the new American man of the 21st century.

The history of education in Latin America is part of the history of its emancipatory struggles, which nowadays is complicated by the vision that education has because of its inclusion in the Free Trade Agreements.

Thus, "(...) investors and companies find a way in free trade that allows them to establish schools in other countries, partner with local institutions or even buy universities to form international consortia" (Aboites, 2007). The author himself points out that "Education, in particular, is one of the most" noble "services for investors, due to its ability to unfold into an immense amount of sub-services (...)" (Aboites, 2007).

This amount of sub-services is clearly shown in the actions carried out by private banks, whose maximum representation in Latin America is owned by the Spanish financial group Santander referred to earlier. It assumes significant investments in education and has managed to group 1216 universities from 23 Latin American countries, in Mexico alone it integrates 415 universities through Universia in the Santander University Group: the largest university collaboration network in the world »(Santander Universities, 2013. (Table) Aware that "(...) Today's wealth, capable of injecting a new dynamism into a world economy of capitalism in crisis, is largely in education (...)" (Aboites, 2007).

Table - Services provided by the Spanish Financial Group Santander.

Santander Financial Group

Actions in favor of education

  • The best bank in the world, and best bank in Mexico, United Kingdom, Poland, Portugal and Argentina by Euromoney magazine in 2012.

University : Strategic lines:

  • Employment . - Relationship between talent and employment.
  • Knowledge . - Innovation engine, knowledge dissemination.
  • Collaboration . - Links between universities and companies.
  • Future .- University students as protagonists of the future ”.
  • More than 100 million customers and 14,756 branches worldwide and more than 190,000 employees.
  • 1,125 branches in Mexico.
  • The main financial group in Spain and in Latin America.
  • Presence in ten main markets: Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and the United States.
  • More than 90% of the investment in CSR is destined to support programs for Higher Education.
  • More than one billion pesos to support higher education through the different programs of the Higher Education Support Plan.
  • 200 people dedicated to the university.
  • 164 collaboration agreements.
  • 73 university offices.

Higher Education Support Plan (PAES): 
1. Santander Scholarships in Mexico. Each year it awards about 63,000 scholarships. It has a Program with 14 destination modalities and objectives. 
2. Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with support to promote innovation and entrepreneurial culture ; includes: Santander Awards for Business Innovation. 
3. University Technology and Services, with support to favor the incorporation of technology in the university ; Examples: sponsorship of more than 40 Smart Classrooms in different universities in Mexico; the Smart University card (TUI) and the Technological Observatory for TUI. 
4. Collaboration Projects, designed according to the needs of each university. 

  • Existence of more than 95 specific projects in academic, infrastructure and bonding issues.
  • Master in Banking and Financial Markets that is taught with different universities and Santander Bank worldwide.
  • Financial products and services:
    • Santander Zero Credit Card:
    • Super University Account:
    • Supernet Zero:
    • Santander Financial Scholarship:
    • Santander Educational Credit:
    • Super Payroll Universities
  • Bank of Institutions specialized in the university segment:
  • Santander Management specialized in the management and administration of Treasuries, Pension Funds, Funds and Savings Banks.

Source: Own elaboration based on the Marketing summary of the aforementioned Financial Group in relation to the services it offers to expand its business. (Santander Universities, 2013. & # 091; In Line & # 093; Accessed: April 17, 2018.

This author considers that with all this action, the aforementioned financial group « (...) not only achieves millions of clients but also creates the culture of new education as an essentially business and private field» (Aboites, 2007).

Capitalism generates inequality and the university design that it proposes from these financial centers, which in turn respond to the hegemonic centers of power, is exclusive. It obliges undergraduate and graduate students to request the services offered as a means of indebtedness, while generating an individualistic awareness of the competition that prevails among the students themselves to access credits that make it possible to obtain the minimum material base of study essential, opt for scholarships, opt for awards, apply for credits, participate in scientific events and once graduates access employment.

All this action is complemented by the role that is assumed for the evaluation of the quality of Higher Education, because in the case of the exemplified Financial Group, which acts in Mexico as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the evaluation mechanisms are regulated, so that governments lose sovereignty with respect to their universities by not being able to decide, as part of the design of the public training policies of their professionals, about the quality patterns to consider for the University education evaluation.

Another dangerous manifestation for the development of university education in the Latin American region, closely related to the above and that is presented outside the provisions emanating from the educational policy of the States, even violates the provisions of official documents, and recognizes what:

   "Cross-border higher education can also generate opportunities for dishonest and low-quality borrowers, whose action must be counteracted. Spurious suppliers ("diploma factories") are a serious problem. The fight against these "diploma factories" requires multi-faceted efforts at national and international level (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2009).

The conclave refers to the calls in Mexico "Universities Patito" and "Universities Garage", which extend over the countries of the region.

The Latin American university, immersed in the problems generated by the reactionary wave of these times that beats over their countries, presents challenges to comply with the issues addressed in the Congress of Higher Education, which undoubtedly form part of the permanent reform of the current university. For example, one of these challenges refers to « (...) autonomy and responsibility, academic freedoms, objectivity and intellectual rigor. It is pointed out "the academic freedoms of Higher Education and its wide autonomy are essential for institutions to carry out their mission" & # 091; and it indicates that & # 093; «Autonomy presupposes responsibilities towards society» (Rodríguez, 1998).

We must bear in mind that it is not autonomy for free will, it is autonomy to prevent divergent interests that are far from the realities of this America, become a source of vulnerability and impede the real function of the university as it is relevant and respond to its social function and therein lies another challenge to be raised and is stated in Article 6. Long-term guidance based on the relevance of the World Declaration on Higher Education in the 21st Century: Vision and Action:

   «The relevance  of higher education must be assessed according to the adequacy between what society expects from institutions and what they do. This requires ethical standards, political impartiality, and critical capacity and, at the same time, a better articulation with the problems of society and the world of work, based on long-term orientations on objectives and societal needs, including respect for cultures and the environmental protection". (UNESCO, 1998)

Requirements that become a utopia, when it comes to financial interests. These interests originate one of the sources of university exclusion as a manifestation of social exclusion. The absence of financial resources to access university studies is an essential aspect that affects the new vision of higher education than in Article 3 c) about Equal Access, which states that:

"(...) the rapid and wide increase in the demand for higher education requires, where appropriate, that in any policy of access to it, preference be given to the merit-based approach (...)" (UNESCO, 1998)

University youth, in the context of their current demands, cannot divorce from the agenda of struggles of the broad masses. The student movement, the labor movement and the peasant movement must in a tight beam, make common cause to face the tyranny of neoliberalism and cannot be flying the flags of university autonomy and co-government raised in Córdoba in 1918.

The current context is very different, there is an extremely reactionary agenda aimed at rolling back the unitary consciousness of the peoples in America, reached in the last 15 years, in which important steps of rapprochement were taken between Latin American peoples. Precisely in Argentina, with Nestor Kirchner and other progressive leaders, the Washington plan on the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was defeated.

The true popular participation from the democracy, demands the unit in the exposition of the demands to improve the whole society. They are fight flags that are raised and demand the presence of universities. You cannot fall into the trap that, in the name of autonomy, university youth moves away from the town of which they are a part.

If the essential postulates of the Cordoba Reforms in 1918 had as their center the intervention of the students in the government of the universities and the operation of the free chairs, together with the official ones, with equal rights: What will be the university autonomy that may students subordinate to the interests of the real power factors, owners of private universities born with the Free Trade Agreements (FTA)?, require how co-government materialize?. The answer is clear and reference has already been made to the conception that Che Guevara had in this regard in his encounter with Cuban university students in 1959: it cannot be carried out regardless of the struggles of society as a whole.

The most precarious minds of the youth who learned from Córdoba in 1918 and put themselves at the forefront of the struggles for Reform University in their respective countries, always understood that this movement was bearer of a Latin American content closely linked to the political and social context of the peoples and consequently it was part of a «(...) deeper and greater revolutionary process: the one that should free us from the imperialist coyunda and produce in our lands the fundamental transformations that each one would direct along their own path towards socialism» ( Rodriguez, 1984 ).

There are moments of apology derived from the context in which the region unfolds, because of the backward movement of some leftist forces. The onslaught of the neoliberal right through its ideological bombardment, in the name of democracy and at the service of imperialism; criminalizes politics and promotes the so-called coups d'état in new versions, in which chaos and violence originates and feeds even with the participation of students. For these reasons, universities must become impregnable bastions of the struggle for Latin American unity and integration.

The university reform must be permanent to keep pace with the development of society itself. It is the relevance that the university must have in order to respond to the needs of the society in which it is located. In his article The Socialist Concept of University Reform, Mella (1928) expressed:

«We fight for a university more linked to the needs of the oppressed, for a university more useful to science (...) » (p.456) that is why the University Reform of Córdoba and its Latin American legacy remains in full force.



The study of the causes and conditions that generated the events related to the University Reform of Córdoba in 1918, has been a process of extraordinary interest; because it provided necessary and sufficient elements for the understanding of a historical event of transcendental importance, with repercussion for Latin America and the world.

The echo of the revolutionary movement of the university students of Córdoba, made it possible for the struggle for the claims of university students to be assimilated at its best, as claims of the entire society, so that the transformation of the university should be the result of transformations of today's society.

The legacy of the youth of Córdoba remains in full force and its update in correspondence with the new context requires intelligence and unitary spirit to face the new challenges imposed by the neoliberal wave, which accompanied by an insatiable extreme right, spares no resources from No person to drown the protests in blood. In consequence, it urges expose aggressors and develop awareness to build a new university in the service of society.



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