"Cambio de armas," Luisa Valenzuela much anthologized story, has been read as an allegory of the Argentine’s last military dictatorship and its grip on the nation’s psyche as well as bodies. In this essay, Martínez-Raguso proposes that the story is narrated from the perspective of a desaparecida whose memory has been erased, or is under erasure, by the military officer she had attempted to assassinate. Now in full control of the situation, the officer who was once her target wants to prove that he can fully reform (and re-form) the young and attractive former subversive before the dictatorship collapses. But his mission as a hardline reformer will only be complete when he succeeds in turning his once armed attacker into a disarmed would-be wife and a lover who desires him sexually. Viewed from this perspective, says Martínez-Raguso, the colonel’s private efforts metonymically and microscopically reflect the military dictatorships efforts to "reorganize" the nation by torturing, disappearing or re-indoctrinating its enemies. The author further argues that the story’s fragmented structure and the narrator’s playful yet ominous sense of a language that does not quite correspond to ordinary reality signal the woman’s subconscious resistance to the colonel’s sadistic plan. Referencing both Lacan’s theories of the role of language in subject formation and Derrida’s notions of différance (deferral/ difference) and sous rature (under erasure), this article offers new interpretative possibilities for a story that resonates in today’s political climate almost as much as it did in the early 1980s when it was first written.

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