Fray Mocho was the pen name for the Argentine writer and journalist Jose Ciriaco Alvarez (also known as Jose Sixto Alvarez). He was born in the remote village of Gualeguaychu in the Entre Rios Province of Argentina on August 26, 1858. He came to Buenos Aires first in 1876 and then again (to stay) in 1879 at the age of 21. He was known to his friends as Mocho (blunt) and later added the title Fray . He wrote for several newspapers including El Nacional, La Pampa, La Patria Argentina, and La Razon. He also wrote for magazines such as the short-lived Fray Gerundio, El Ateneo and La Colmena Artistica. He wrote essays about life in Buenos Aires in the latter part of the 19th century, including Esmeraldas (polished), Cuentos Mundanos (Ordinary Stories), La vida de los ladrones celebres de Buenos Aires y sus maneras de robar (The life of celebrated robbers of Buenos Aires and their manner of robbing") and Memorias de un Vigilante (Memoirs of a policeman). In 1898 he wrote the book En el Mar Austral (In the Southern Sea").
One of his most interesting works was the book En El Mar Austral (On the Southern Sea). This is a tale of a year spent traveling on a whaling boat around the southern tip of Chile and Argentina (Tierra del Fuego) beginning in the town of Punta Arenas in Chile. It describes in great and loving detail the scenery and life in the southernmost tip of South America. It does not appear that Fray Mocho ever got within 500 miles of Tierra del Fuego and yet his descriptions are extremetly accurate, and the source of his information is still not known.
Fray Mocho died on 23 August 1903, just 3 days short of his 45th birthday, an illness that had troubled him for years eventually causing his death. It is said that "he feared no one and nothing because he had damaged no one and had a pure heart (as is stated in an edition of En El Mar Austral published in 1960 by The University of Buenos Aires). His last words were I die fighting. His magazine lived on until 1941.
Memorias de un vigilante
Caras y caretas
Cao Luaces & Fray Mocho, caricaturistas
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