Argentina Recent History

In 1928, under the presidency of Ippolito Irigoyen, representative of the radical party, Argentina saw its sources of wealth grow in an extraordinary way.

He based his policy on elements of a personal nature; it had peaked when it claimed neutrality in the country; but over time he saw his prestige decrease due to his attitude towards internal and international politics; with his behavior he had, among other things, and to a large extent decimated the ranks of his personalist party. This resulted in a coup d’etat that led conservative general Uriburu to the head of the provisional government.

According to Abbreviationfinder, the latter established a regime of dictatorship which at first encountered no opposition as he adopted measures deemed particularly suitable for the country at that time.

Over time, however, he accentuated his already so authoritarian character and planned to make his dictatorial regime lasting. Then his supporters also rebelled and demanded new elections. Uriburu was dissuaded from submitting his candidacy and General Augustin Justo was elected for the period 1932/38.

On February 15, 1938, his Minister of Finance, Dr. Roberto Ortiz, took office, precisely for the merits obtained in the Justo administration, so much so that he was considered his continuator.

A few years earlier, and precisely in 1920, Argentina had suspended its collaboration with the League of Nations. In September 1933, however, he re-established these relationships in order to be able to use the Authority against the expansionist aims of the United States of America. In the Pan-American Montevideo Conference, held in December of the same year, the differences between Argentina and the USA were considerably smoothed out and indeed a convention was adopted that prohibited a state the right to intervene in the affairs of another state with interference in its freedoms, l Argentina was particularly happy with this and in fact signed a pact with the other American republics not to recognize territorial occupations acquired by force.

Even relations with the Catholic Church were excellent and very well seen was, in 1935, the appointment as cardinal of the then archbishop of Buenos Aires, Monsignor Capello.

Also in the field of education various reforms were made which achieved good results.

Argentina Recent History

When Italy entered the war with Ethiopia, Argentina, while sympathizing with Italy, had to sign the “Sanctions” which however were never applied. Indeed, in May 1936 Senator Sanchez Sorondo proposed the lifting of the Sanctions to the Senate and asked for a Assembly to be held to discuss and settle the reasons that had led to the conflict.

President Ortiz, a conservative devoted to the institutions, fearing some connivance between the anti-liberal forces and foreign institutes, in May 1938 placed the educational institutions under surveillance by prohibiting the teaching of principles contrary to the constitution.

In February 1939, together with France and Great Britain, he officially recognized the government of F. Franco in Spain.

When the Second World War broke out, Argentina, which was not in very prosperous economic conditions, saw the market closed with Germany, thus accusing the blow of the further increase in the budget deficit. Fortunately Great Britain came to his aid with the intensification of the purchases of foodstuffs and also the United States proposed themselves as substitutes for the German market, also granting considerable credits and increasing all exports from Argentina, except that of frozen meats.
For Great Britain and France there were not only good commercial relations, but also many feelings of sympathy which, however, broke, as regards France, due to the sudden collapse of the Maginot line with consequent surrender to Germany. The Argentine people divided into two factions: “Pro Francia libera” and “Pro Francia di Vichy”. The latter went to feed the ranks of those who hoped for a victory of the totalitarian states, that is, of those conservatives who were not only animated by the aversion towards the communists but also by resentments towards the United States. These conservatives were, above all, convinced that any outcome had the war, the Argentine interests would not have been affected in any way and, moreover,

However, in May 1940 there were anti-German demonstrations in Buenos Aires following the sinking of an Argentine steamship, the “Victoria”.

To the arguments incurred for foreign policy were added those relating to domestic policy. In 1941 and 1942 Argentina found itself in the uncomfortable position of having to maintain American solidarity and of not losing its neutrality, being at least a third of its population made up of Italians and counting about 250,000 German units.

In December 1941, in the Rio de Janeiro Conference, they deliberated on breaking diplomatic relations with the Axis, and with the precise understanding that each state would consider itself free to apply this point when and how it deemed it necessary.

There was then in the country a state of moderate euphoria for the trend of the foreign policy adopted; but it did not last long because Germany’s apology for the sinking of the steamer Victoria was followed shortly after the sinking of another ship.
The government voted to break diplomatic ties with Germany and despite this, both Argentina and Chile were denounced by the United States as German espionage centers, known and tolerated by their respective governments.

In June 1943 a sudden coup d’etat gave power to a group of senior officers, under the presidency of
General A. Rawson, for a few days, then replaced by General Pedro Ramirez, who also retired after a short time.
On 8 July of the same year, Juan Peron, Minister of Labor, was appointed Vice-President, who immediately began pleading for improvements to workers’ wages and facing the various strikes and plots in progress, which culminated in an insurrectionary movement led by General Avalos and by Admiral H. Vernengo Lima who replaced Peron and arrested him.
This led to other strikes and demonstrations, also supported by the police, which forced the two to release Peron and form another Ministry in which Peron did not take part in order to be able to stand as candidate for the next presidential election. He was, in fact, elected and officially became President of the Republic on June 4, 1946.
Peron, concerned about ensuring the country’s social, political, economic and military improvements, immediately set out to eliminate the opposition. He accused the judges who at the time of the rebellions had sanctioned the validity of the labor courts. Then he concluded commercial agreements with Belgium, Ecuador and Brazil; established pacts for navigation with Chile and Great Britain and developed the so-called “Peron Plan” which provided, first of all, for ”

This plan was presented to Congress in October 1946; it included the total reorganization of the country’s structure, the approval of the vote for women (which took place in September 1947), the reform of public education, the establishment of special administrative and military justice, the stay in the army up to 50 years for men and the employment of women in auxiliary services, the establishment of a vast insurance system, health care through state doctors, subsidies for the poorest, a significant increase in hospital beds, construction of accommodation, institutions for the technical preparation of citizens, the regulation of rents for farmers, the industrial increase for the production of tin, wool, cotton and silk yarns,

As a result of this plan, he established trade agreements not only with South American countries, but also with all of Europe, plus India and Canada.

Despite the improvements that occurred due to the implementation of the plan, there were several negative criticisms and appreciation from the experts; moreover, shortly thereafter, inflation increased considerably because the exorbitant military expenses exceeded the forecasts of the plan itself.

However, this had no effect on the partial elections of March 1948 and Peron became even more popular, so much so that he managed to get a new Constitution approved in March 1949, with 101 votes against zero, since the opposition did not participate in the vote.
All this strengthened even more the authority of the President who, in 1950, allowed himself to be granted full powers, with an anti-communist program. The semi-dictatorial regime, supported by the workers’ unions, opposed by the great agrarian, aroused lively controversy especially for the limitations of the freedom of the press. “La Prensa” newspaper in Buenos Aires, in January 1951 was expropriated and resumed publications only eight months more late.

In August 1951 the Labor Confederation proclaimed a general strike to solicit the candidacy for the presidency and vice-presidency of General Peron and his wife Eva, respectively, who however renounced the candidacy and on November 11th Peron was re-elected.

In February 1952 an Anglo-Argentine incident broke out for control of Graham’s Land in Antarctica. On July 26 of the same year Eva Peron died, mourned by everyone.

As the economic situation had worsened, in February 1953 Peron announced a “five-year plan” and
appealed to workers for an increase in production. In April of the same year an attack took place against him, followed by arrests of radical and socialist opponents.

In the second half of the year there were symptoms of relaxation and resumption of commercial relations with foreign countries, compromised by a long autarchic policy; trade agreements were made with Germany, the USSR, Yugoslavia and Uruguay, while relations with the United States of America and Great Britain remained cold.

In 1954 Peron wanted to promote a campaign against the Church, establishing: the abolition of religious teaching, the approval of the divorce law, the opening of brothels, the suspension of subsidies to some churches and the abolition of some religious holidays.

For a deeply Catholic nation this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. On June 16, the Vatican excommunicated Peron who in 1955 was overthrown by an army insurrection and forced to flee abroad. He took refuge in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

The new elections, on February 3, 1956, led to the presidency of the Argentine Republic Arturo Frondizi.

From the beginning, he was inspired by national integration by composing the government in a mixed form, with the right-wing extremists and those on the left, peronists and communists.
He immediately had to face the oil problem; in this regard he increased production thus decreasing imports with great relief for the country’s budget, and also accepted aid from the United States.

To combat inflation, he made cuts in public spending and imposed an austerity regime. Of course this brought unpopularity to his government which was opposed with strikes and demonstrations. The Church also challenged him as an intransigent radical.

In January 1959 he went to Washington and before the Congress he delivered a speech that pleased the United States and all the Latin American republics very much and that earned him the solidarity of all on that April 27 of the same year when he declared all activities illegal. Communists who were therefore banished from Argentina.

He happily brought his country into the Montevideo Treaty to be part of the “Free Trade Zone” and to strengthen relations between Argentina and the European countries. In June-July 1960 he embarked on a journey to visit Europe obtaining great prestige and various financial credits.

In domestic politics he proved to be very skilled in restoring, in 1961, the unions the control of the Confederation of Workers and the Church the privileges removed by Peron.

For what followed his nationalistic policy in relation to oil, he understood that to increase production, monopoly had to be abolished and he did so by signing agreements with foreign partners, especially with the USA, England and Holland. The immediate results confirmed the goodness of his decisions.

But despite everything, the economic situation became more difficult and Frondizi had to succumb to two events of the utmost importance: one that occurred in January 1962 was the expulsion of Cuba from the Organization of American States and the second, in March 1962, was the readmission in the elections of the “Frente Justicialista” of pure Peronist brand. In the first Frondizi did not sign the resolution for Cuba and in the second he was fiercely contested by the military who, again in that March 1962, dismissed him and sent him to exile in the islet of Martin Garcia.

After a short temporary presidency, in July 1963 new elections were held in which Arturo Illia was elected, candidate of the radicals. He canceled all contracts with oil companies and refused World Bank loans. The economic situation precipitated and the catastrophe was almost avoided as the situation was saved by two exceptional grain harvests in 1964 and 1965.

In June 1966 the inept Illia was replaced by General Juan Carlos Ongania who dissolved the Parliament, abolished the political parties, decreed the end of the autonomy of the universities, guilty of welcoming communists and Jews, and closed many companies run by Jews. This attracted him to the protests of the Church, intellectuals, students and unions and all this in 1969 became open hostility. Armed groups formed, a guerrilla state began, there were excellent assassinations and when Ongania accentuated the dictatorial style of his government, the military coup of 8 June 1970 overthrew him and replaced him with General Levingston, who immediately proved not to height of the situation. For which the March 25, 1971 was in turn replaced by the generates Alejandro Lanusse.

Meanwhile, from Madrid the old dictator Peron, taking advantage of the military’s inability to govern the nation, had managed to maintain his prestige among his supporters and, by plotting against government forces, managed to impose the attention of the electorate on the his lieutenant Campora, who was in fact elected by a large majority, on May 25, 1973.

A month later he went to Madrid from which he returned with Peron (78 years), and then resigned leaving the place after a triumphant popular consultation.

Peron’s wife, Maria Estela Martinez, was elected to the vice presidency to ensure the continuity of Peronism in the government, given her husband’s late age. This event had the consent of the military and opposition parties. On July 1, 1974, Juan Domingo Peron suddenly died and assumed, as expected, the position of President of the Republic Maria Estela Martinez, for the Argentineans Isabelita.

When the then Minister of Social Welfare, Josè Lopez Rega, Isabelita’s personal advisor, but unpopular with the Peronists, was confirmed as Secretary of the Presidency, the struggles between the parties and the guerrillas were rekindled.

There were bloody reprisals and assassinations; following all these violence the government on November 6 decreed a state of siege.

In March 1976 Isabelita was dismissed and was presided over by General Videla who composed the government with a prevalence of the military.
These chased ambitious programs for the realization of which the elimination of the Peronist unions was necessary; so there were unprecedented repressions throughout the duration of the dictatorship (1983).
In these years Argentina also experienced the shame of a military defeat due to the attempt to take away the possession of the Falkland-Malvinas islands from England through a war.

In recent times, then, organizations were formed that debated the issue of human rights and a particular movement that claimed knowledge of the fate of about 20,000 “Desaparecidos”, victims of the dictatorship.

In October 1983, democracy returned with the election of R. Alfonesia who immediately restored the rule of law. Then he presented the “Plan Austral” which proposed to cure all the evils of the Argentine economy, in a climate of national pacification.

His goals were not reached and after 6 years the Argentines were again called to the ballot box. The victory came to the Peronist candidate Carlos Menem who, in December 1989, in advance, assumed the post he left for health reasons.

Menem has expanded its policy of “national reconciliation” by extending the amnesty to the top of the military dictatorship.

Menem had inherited a rather shaky economic situation and started immediately with proposing his anti-inflationary and liberal program. Although he had based his election campaign on a program of wage increases and industry revival, unemployment continued to rise. He was assisted in his work by the Minister of Economy, D. Cavallo, appointed in 1991, who carried out the privatization of public enterprises and the tax reform, works already undertaken by the predecessor AE Gonzales. He also instituted a fixed exchange rate against the US dollar.

Following the significant reduction in inflation and external debt, Menem managed to obtain strong loans from the International Monetary Fund and foreign capital also flowed massively. Then, with the considerable support of the United States, Argentina also acquired a certain international prestige, so much so that it could participate with its own elements in many of the resolutions decreed by the United Nations, such as in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. He was also able to reestablish diplomatic ties with Great Britain and through this he was able to enter into trade agreements with the European Union.

On a national level Menem achieved success both in the partial renewal of the Chamber of Deputies in September 1991 and in that of October 1993. In November 1994 a Constituent Assembly could be elected which assigned the relative majority to its Justicialist Partido. This, together with the Union Civica Radical, was able to revise the Constitution and in August 1994 the re-election of the president was made possible, bringing from 6 to 4 years of a mandate, the number of senators from 48 to 72 and the institution an autonomous government for the capital with the direct election of the mayor. In the elections of May 1995 Menem was confirmed as president.

However, in the meantime, in 1994, following a severe crisis that had touched Mexico, all the states of Latin America had suffered its repercussions, including Argentina. So in the summer of 1995 there had to be an exceptional unemployment rate of 15% and a large part of the population was on the verge of poverty.

Menem’s economic program had borne no fruit in education or health care, much less in the more impoverished rural communities than ever. Moreover, even the amnesties granted by Menem to the main leaders of the dictatorship, alienated the favor of his supporters. And all this, together with other resolutions decided in the economic and social field, meant that the municipal elections of Buenos Aires in June 1996 assigned the victory to the radical candidate. Still other unpopular maneuvers, especially related to the military, resulted in a crisis in 1997, so much so that the October partial legislatures handed over the victory to the center-left Alliance, led by GF Meijide.

Also around October 1997 the question of the amnesty with which the crimes committed during the period of the dictatorship, even against Spanish citizens, returned to the fore. And it was precisely the Spanish judiciary that issued international arrest warrants concerning L. Galtieri and E. Massera, guilty of having caused the disappearance of many Iberian citizens.

In June 1998, in November of the same year and in January 1999, after the withdrawal of the notorious amnesty, General Videla, Admiral Massera and General Bignone were arrested respectively. The accusation was that of having stolen all the children of the “desaparecidos”, born in captivity and given up for adoption to military families.

In October 1999 the presidential elections brought radical Fernando de la Rua, candidate of the center-left Alliance, to office.