because if you look at actual politics and economics, classical Italian fascism looks a lot more like the right-wing of Peronismo—whose economic outlook was a capitalism based largely on the import-substitution-industrialization model + the giving of the middle finger to the comprador bourgeoisie—than it does to the Let’s-Just-Give-All-Our-Shit-To-The-Imperialists jubilee that was Chile’s military dictatorship. Fascism is a hypernationalist political and economic model, how can one be nationalist whilst handing over one’s national resources to foreign corporations?
Military dictatorship = fascism in the eyes of liberals only.
The problem is that many Western leftists have a very Eurocentric view of fascism, wherein we view it as a necessarily xenophobic and expansionist model because that’s the form it took in European countries which already had legacies of xenophobia and expansionism. As a result, we don’t look at its economic origins and how that outlook would be applied to Latin America; rather, fascism just becomes a keyword for “authoritarian,” “right-wing,” etc. and can describe figures as diverse as Dominican general Omar Torrijos, who helped the Sandinistas come to power in Nicaragua, and Rafael Videla, who was busy hunting down the Argentine leftists that helped kill the then-former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza.
Unlike in Europe, fascism in Latin America has often had an anti-imperialist character and has aimed for the reclamation of national sovereignty, whereas the Europeans wanted to regain national power, often by colonizing the third world and occupying nearby countries. Latin American fascism largely aimed simply for the reorientation of national economies inward and—like Italy—the forced cooperation of necessarily-antagonistic social classes for the sake of national unity.*
This explains why, in Argentina, the oligarchy and comprador bourgeoisie hated Juan Peron. The oligarchs were usually owners of large latifundios, who retarded progress and national development by sitting on untilled lands or by effectively-enslaving wretchedly poor peasants to produce agricultural goods for export. They feared agrarian reform and land redistribution, which would severely weaken their traditional power. The comprador bourgeoisie, which orients itself outward, produced goods and extracted resources on behalf of, or in conjunction with, multinational corporations. Because Peron sought to restructure (read: not smash) the capitalist economy for the fulfillment of domestic needs, the compradors—who are principally allied to imperialism—feared government expropriations of natural resources that they were accustomed to extracting on behalf of foreign interests.
So yeah, moral of the story is that Latin American fascism has to be looked at in its own context, rather than assuming a European context and missing the point entirely.
*The logic behind the way real fascists crush proletarian revolutionary struggle is very different from how/why neoliberal military dictators do, and using “fascism” to describe every authoritarian that you don’t like blurs this distinction.
It’s also worth pointing out that Nazism, which created a central role for xenophobia and which had an economic philosophy far less state-centric than Italian fascism, responded to very different contradictions and found its support among a different socioeconomic strata. Whereas in Europe Nazism and fascism are seen as complementary, I would argue that the distinctions in Latin America are far more pronounced.