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Argentina Travel Guide

Argentina History - Part III



Menem enforced a peso-dollar exchange to stop the economic crisis, promoted economic austerity measures, implemented a privatization program, liberalized the Argentine economy, also pardoned top military leaders. These reforms contributed to increase the investment and the economic growth through most of the 1990s.

In May 1995, Menem was reelected to a second four-year term (he changed the re-election law to allow himself to remain in power by a long period). In September 1998, Argentina entered its worst recession in ten years. Large fiscal deficits, tolerance of corruption, the pardon of military officers of the "junta", the "playboy" life of the president, the pressure to make changes to the constitution so Menem could can postulate for a third term in 1999; these problems and corruption had made Menem very unpopular.

In 1999, Fernando De la Rua Bruno became president, De la Rua stood for the center-left Concertación La Alianza (The Alliance), formed from the Radical Civic Union (UCR) and a newer party, Frepaso, a confederation formed by the parties Frente Grande, Socialista Popular, Socialista Democrático, Intransigente y Demócrata Cristiano. De la Rua tried to repair the battered economy and restore confidence in the public institutions which had become corrupt under Menen.

The IMF gave Argentina $13.7 billion in emergency aid in January 2001 and $8 billion in August 2001. The international help was not enough, the IMF pressed Argentina to pay its external debt, forcing to devalue the Argentine peso. Minister of Economy Domingo Cavallo (also minister of Menem) passed regulations restricting withdrawals, freezing the bank accounts (it was informally called "El Corralito"), submerging millions of people into poverty, Cavallo was forced to resign on December 20, 2001. In December 2001, after protests turned violent, plunder and chaos appeared, followed by police repression. De la Rua also resigned, the political situation was extremely critical.

In fourteen days, different presidents followed in quick succession: the president of the Senate became interim president, two days later, Adolfo Rodríguez Saá was elected as interim, finally Eduardo Duhalde was designed president by the National Congress, Duhalde enforced new policies based on import substitution, increased exports, re-industrialization, and consistent fiscal and trade surpluses. The economy began to stabilize. Duhalde governed until May 2003.

In April 2003, Néstor Kirchner was elected president. In the first round of the election, the surprise was Menem, who received the first place in the votation among of other presidential candidates, with 24% of the vote, meanwhile, Kirchner, came in second with 22%. The growing anti-Menen sentiment and the support of other candidates switched to Kirchner, made Menem withdrew, leaving Kirchner to gain the election by default.

Kirchner took office on 25 May 2003, during his presidency has continued Duhalde's economic policies, vowed to reform the courts, police, and armed services, Argentina restructured its defaulted debt, renegotiated contracts, nationalized some privatized industries, economy has been recovering since its break in 2001. Currently, Argentina is enjoying a period of increasing economic development and political stability.

« Argentina History - Part I
« Argentina History - Part II





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