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Argentina Travel Guide

Argentina History - Part II



Evita died at the age of 33, on July 26, 1952. The new government hid Evita's body and its whereabouts was a mystery for years. After sixteen years, the location of Evita's body was finally revealed. It had been buried in a crypt in Italy, In 1971, Evita's body was exhumed and flown to Spain, the corpse was maintained by Perón.

In 1973, Juan Perón came out of exile and returned to Argentina and was triumphantly re-elected as president in 1973, his third wife Isabel Martinez de Peròn was elected vice-president. After Perón death, in 1974, Isabel assume the control of a nation on economic and political collapse, during this period an estimated of 700 people were killed by terrorist acts by left and right-wing groups. On March 1976, a military junta led by army commander General Jorge Rafael Videla removed her from office.

The armed forces took power through a junta led consecutively by Videla, Viola, Galteir and Bignone until 1983, the "junta" dissolved Congress, repressed opposition and mounted a concerted campaign against leftist groups, began the "dirty war", using the terrorist tactics, torturing and executing dissidents, that meant to liquidate students, intellectuals and labor organizers. Many military officers also kidnapped babies and gave them to adoption agencies.

Many of the military leaders that took part in the "dirty war" were trained in the U.S. "School of the Americas". Meanwhile, they set a complete liberalization of the economy, but the serious economic problems, which remained in triple digits for most of this period, charges of corruption, public revulsion in the face of human rights abuses and, finally, the country's defeat by the UK in the Falklands War of 1982 bring into discredit the Argentine "Junta Militar".

Under public pressure, the Military Government restored some basic rights. The Commission for Human Rights of Argentina, found responsability of the Junta Militar in 2,300 political murders, over 10,000 political arrests, and 20,000 to 30,000 people "disappeared". Few dared to speak out, except the group Mothers of the Plaza De Mayo, mothers of the dead and "disappeared", demanding (unsuccessfully) justice for these crimes.

Argentina returned to democracy, with the presidential election of October 1983, where Raul Alfonsín; leader of the Radical Civic Union (Union Civica Radical UCR); received 52% of the popular vote and was elected president. After taking office on December 10, 1983, Alfonsín saw the need to close the cycle of military intervention and political instability by consolidating the democratic institutions, he created the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (Comision Nacional sobre la Desaparicion de Personas CONADEP) integrated by independent personalities (Ernesto Sábato, Magdalena Ruiz Guiñazú, Graciela Fernández Meijilde, and others).

Some military officers of the "junta" were prosecuted and sentenced, at this time an abortive military uprising spread to a number of bases and the continuous military pressure forced that Alfonsín get approval from Congress in December 1986, for the Full Stop Law ("Ley del Punto Final"), guaranteeing amnesty to the acts committed before December 1983. Alfonsín also tried to stop the rampant inflation with the Austral Plan ("Plan Austral"), this plan froze prices and created a new unit of currency, the Austral. However, constant friction with the military, failure to stabilize the economy, who left his office six months before his term to be completed.

1989 was the year of the return of Peronism with the election of Carlos Saúl Menem, who was elected with 47% of the popular vote.

» Argentina History - Part I
» Argentina History - Part III




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