Carlos Manus

Barquina, a character of Buenos Aires

arquina was one of the typical characters of the «fauna porteña» whose true name was Francisco Loiacono. Due to his boastful way of walking, Carlos Muñoz (El Malevo (tough guy) Muñoz) named him Barquinazo (an awkward movement made by a vehicle), but Loiácono himself shortened the nickname that made him popular.

Barquina entered the Crítica daily paper where he started as elevator boy, later he was secretary to Ulyses Petit de Murat and, finally, Natalio Botana’s right hand.

He managed to reconcile Carlos Gardel with Carlos de la Púa after they had broken up because of a note published by the latter when Gardel sang a canzonetta (a Neapolitan song). In it he ironically advised Gardel: «Stop with the mandolin, Carlitos!»

He helped many of his friends in difficult situations, including Petit de Murat. He saved the latter from the torturing executioners working in the Special Division of the Federal Police.

Several composers dedicated tangos to him, among them, “Barquinazo” by Roberto Firpo and “Dos lunares” by Francisco Canaro.

Loiácono is the author of the lyrics of the tangos “Cantor de mi barrio” and “N.P.”, both with music by Juan José Riverol. They were recorded by the Aníbal Troilo Orchestra, the former with Roberto Goyeneche on vocals and the latter with Raúl Berón as vocalist.

He is remembered by his nickname by Cátulo Castillo in the tango “A Homero” with music composed by Aníbal Troilo:

vení de nuevo a las doce...
que está esperando Barquina...
¿No ves que Pepe esta noche,
no ves que el viejo esta noche
no va a faltar a la cita?...

(Come on, come here again at twelve... Come on, that Barquina is waiting...come on, don’t you see that this evening Pepe, don’t you see that this evening the old man won’t miss the date?..)
Pepe and el viejo (the old man) refer to José Razzano.

According to Petit de Murat (La noche de mi ciudad, Editorial Emecé. Buenos Aires, 1979), when Loiácono met for the first time the then colonel Juan Domingo Perón, Barquina, with his usual lack of embarrassment, told him «Were you not fond of politics, what a hit you’d be among women! Because of your look a greater number than those who worked for the Gallego (Spaniard) Julio would work for you». (The Gallego Julio was the nickname used by Julio Valea who, together with Juan Nicolás Ruggiero (Ruggerito) represented the heads of the underworld in Avellaneda. Ruggierito was a killer hired by Alberto Barceló, the political leader of the Conservative Party, and the Gallego Julio was a hired tough guy in the Unión Cívica Radical’s service. From Folino, Norberto: Barceló y Ruggerito patrones de Avellaneda, Centro Editor de América Latina. Buenos Aires, 1971.)

But Helvio Botana (Poroto) tells us in a way rather different that prompt saying by Barquina. According to Botana (in: Memorias. Tras los dientes del perro, Peña Lillo publisher. Buenos Aires, 1985), when Perón was president, Loiácono paid him a visit and flattered him with this phrase: «What a pity that you got this job as president! With the look you’ve got what a pimp you’d have been!»