Trabajo especial realizado para la materia Inglés en el Instituto Superior de Periodismo DeporTEA.
This work is a short fast journey through the most recent political history of Argentina. This is done by having a look at seven of the last presidencies. Focussing the attention on positive and negative aspects of each one. Each group of journalists has chosen the president whom they considered the most representative and has put their attention on positive and negative aspects of each one.
To understand the present of Argentina is important to learn about its recent past, and this is the main goal of this e-magazine.
The new face of democracy
By Colantonio, Valentin; Pedraza, Facundo; Pinto Mineo, Luciano & Gómez, Nahuel
On October 30, 1983, a different atmosphere was felt as, after seven harsh years of a dictatorship filled with tragic events and one year after the Falklands War, the Argentine people once again chose their representatives. The last of the seven presidents of the military junta was Reynaldo Bignone. And once again, the old debate between Radicalism and Peronism returned. The question was who would govern for the next six years and become the first president in the return to democracy, and the winner was Raúl Alfonsín. His opponent was Ítalo Lúder, a Peronist representative who obtained 40.16% of the vote against his adversary ‘s 51.75%. Therefore, Alfonsín assumed office on December 10th of the same year, a historic day for the country, and he began his term until 1989.
Raúl Alfonsín began his government with a historic phrase: «With democracy, we eat, we live, and we educate.» His economic governance was marked by a high external debt, which defaulted in 1988. Additionally, he implemented cost controls to stabilize prices. The price increases were validated until July 1988, freezing the values till August 2nd. 1.5% increases were authorized in the second half of August and 3.5% in September. There was a 30% increase in public utility tariffs. Alfonsín’s mandate is initially remembered for the trial of the Military Juntas, as well as the peace treaty between Argentina and Chile and negotiations with Brazil that led to the formation of Mercosur.
During his presidency, Raúl Alfonsín developed an economic plan called the «Plan Primavera,» which was aimed to stabilize the Argentine economy. It was launched in August 1988 with the purpose of halting the economic recession that the country was experiencing, and it promoted the opening of the economy through the privatization of state-owned companies. However, this plan received little support from the industrial and labour sectors.
Subsequently, a hyperinflation ensued, which affected the entire productive system and deteriorated the most vulnerable sectors of the country, generating an atmosphere of mistrust and uncertainty. Inflation brought an 80% of increase in prices, the exchange rate of the dollar multiplied eightfold, and shortages occurred.
However, despite all his efforts to progress the country, these economic and political problems led Raúl Alfonsín to announce on June 12, 1989, that he had decided to resign from his position as president on the 30th of that same month. This decision arose from the frustration of not being able to solve the government’s long-standing problems, an issue that worsened with Carlos Menem’s victory, who won with 47% of the votes, bringing hyperinflation and the early resignation of the president’s position five months before the end of his term.
Raúl Alfonsín was a turning point in Argentinian history. For years the citizens lived under a dictatorship that repressed the entire population, leaving no freedom. That is why he is so important to this country; he brought back something that had disappeared: democracy. Additionally, one of the most important achievements under his presidency was successful prosecution of those who committed torture, murder, and forced disappearances in the name of the Army.
Carlos Saul Menem’s time
By Beltran, Luna; Delgado Lucas; Greco, Santiago & Jaramillo, Rocío
Carlos Saúl Menem was an Argentinian lawyer and politician, president of Argentina between 1989 and 1999. He was also the governor of La Rioja in the periods 1973-1976 and 1983-1989. From 2005 to 2021, Menem was a national senator, in representation of the La Rioja province.
During his first mandate, he became president in the middle of a hyperinflationary process. Menem’s administration implemented economics politics like massive privatizations and a monetary regime of convertibility with the Argentinian peso. All of this was designed by the economy minister, Domingo Cavallo. Economically, his politics reduced inflation to historical lows close to zero.
The GDP per capita turned from 8.149 dollars to 10.935 dollars in 1999, the external debt went from 65,000 million dollars to 151,000 million dollars and the industrial production was halved to the half (from 42% to 26% of the GDP).
Socially, the policies of the Menem government introduced mass unemployment, a phenomenon that the country was not aware of, which led to an exponential growth in crime, which went from 560,000 crimes in 1990 to just over 1 million in 1999.
Unregistered employment increased from 32% to 37.6%, and a large sector of people excluded from the labor market stood out, which in turn led to the appearance of the so-called piquetero (picketers) movement.
Internationally, Menem arranged to go to war with Iraq in the Golfo War, without authorization from Congress, and smuggled weapons to Croatia and Bosnia in the Yugoslav wars. During their governments, there were terrorist attacks of foreign origin against the Israeli embassy in Argentina and the AMIA, as well as the intentional blowing up of the Río Tercero arms factory, which caused dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries.
In his ten years of government, Menem began with high expectations. He sorted out the hyperinflation crisis, but the model “1 peso = 1 dollar” finally failed. The crisis blew out in 2001, when Fernando de la Rúa was the Argentinean president.
Nowadays, there are some economists that rate Menem’s first presidency as the best in Argentinian history. However, the second was the sad ending of the “golden 90’s”
Sources: https://elpais.com/noticias/carlos-menem/ https://www.casarosada.gob.ar/nuestro-pais/presidentes/93-nuestro-pais/presidentes/47092- carlos-saul-menem-i-1989-1995 https://www.lanacion.com.ar/tema/carlos-menem-tid46846/ https://www.nytimes.com/es/2021/02/16/espanol/carlos-menem-argentina.html
Néstor Kirchner’s presidency
By Ronchi, Nicolás; Roble, Iara & Caldeira, Brisa.
Néstor Kirchner, who governed Argentina from 2003 to 2007, is remembered for being the one who recovered the country from the 2001 political, economic and social crisis.
On December 10th of 2007, Néstor Kirchner handed the baton to Cristina Kirchner, who officially became the first woman president elected by the popular vote.
Néstor Kirchner won the presidential elections in Argentina in 2003, representing the Justicialista Party (also known as the Peronista Party), after Carlos Menem withdrew from the runoff due to his poor chances of re-election. It is worth noting that Kirchner succeeded Eduardo Duhalde and remained in power until the end of 2007.
When he began his presidency, the country was facing a deep economic and social crisis. In the late 1990s, Argentina implemented a series of neoliberal economic policies, which led to rapid economic growth but also increased social inequality and debt. In 2001, the country experienced a severe economic collapse, resulting in the widespread of poverty, unemployment, and social instability. For these reasons, Kirchner inherited a deeply divided country and faced significant economic and political challenges.
His presidency was marked by several positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, Kirchner implemented policies that helped to stabilize the country’s economy after the severe economic crisis of 2001. He increased social spendings, implemented debt restructuring, and renegotiated contracts with foreign companies. He also made efforts to address human rights abuses committed during the military dictatorship in Argentina and strengthened the judicial system by increasing judicial independence.
On the negative side, his tenure was marked by a confrontational and polarizing political style that often resulted in a lack of dialogue with the opposition. This led to a lack of consensus on important issues, such as tax system reforms and the nationalization of some companies. Additionally, he was criticized for his handling of inflation and the country’s energy sector.
After the end of his term, his presidency was largely remembered for job creation to reduce social inequality. When he took office, the unemployment rate was 17.3%, and he managed to reduce it to 7.9%. Furthermore, his government is associated with the country’s recovery from the political, economic, and social crisis of 2001 through improvements in the industry, economic development, and strong Latin American unity in the so-called «Patria Grande,» with Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, and Uruguay.
Sources: «Néstor Kirchner» – Wikipedia / «Néstor Kirchner: un gobierno de cambios» – Clarín / «Kirchner, el presidente de la recuperación» – La Nación / «Los logros económicos del gobierno de Néstor Kirchner» – Infobae / «La gestión de Néstor Kirchner: balance y legado» – Página/12
By Musmeci, Mirko; Aguilar, Santiago; Tolosa, Reinaldo & Quinteros, Ramiro
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was chosen president of the Nation on December 10th of 2007. In those elections, Cristina obtained 43.9% of the votes, which meant that she was elected at the end of the first round with a wide victory over Carrio. This also represented the second victory for Kirchnerism, which kept one of its greatest leaders in power. It should be remembered that before Cristina the president of the Nation was Néstor Kirchner, her husband, who won in 2003. CFK was president from 2007 to 2015, with one re-election in 2011.
Among the achievements of Cristina’s political project, it can be mentioned the recovery of political autonomy as a result of the payment of the external debt, the renewal of the Supreme Court of Justice, the annulment of the laws of “Obediencia Debida, Punto Final e Indulto”, the creation of a new economic model of a diversified matrix with social inclusion, and the claim of sovereignty on the Malvinas islands.
Some positive aspects of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s terms were that the benefits of the medical insurance “PAMI” were extended from 40/50% of their prices to 70/80 percent. In 2004, PAMI assisted only 9 thousand people who could withdraw 100% of the medication, reaching 1.102.450 people in 2014. On the other hand, the periods were characterized by the overpricing in the public works, most of them given to Lázaro Báez, for $46 billion with overpricing of 387%.
Finally, there are many facts for which the presidency of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is remembered, and most of them are for the social security and the creation of new ministries. For example, the formation of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, the passing of the law 26.552 “Servicios de Comunicación Audiovisual”, and the implementation of the “Asignación Universal por Hijo” which allowed that more than 3.500.000 million boys and girls can receive a social security.
Sources: https://www.archivorta.com.ar/asset/primera-asuncion-presidencial-de-cristina-fernandez-de-kirchner/ https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidencia_de_Cristina_Fern%C3%A1ndez_de_Kirchner https://www.telam.com.ar/notas/201412/88265-cristina-fernandez-de-kirchner-hechos-destacados-gobierno.html https://www.clarin.com/ediciones-anteriores/439-votos-cristina-presidenta-electa-segunda-vuelta_0_Sk7gQJJAKg.html
Mauricio Macri is elected
by: Franco, Matías; Albornoz, Julián; Del Grosso, Enzo & Rojas, Ailén.
Mauricio Macri assumed the presidency of the Argentine Republic on December 10th, 2015. The first voting instance was on October 25th which was won by the candidate Daniel Scioli, who represented “Frente para la Victoria”.
Mauricio Macri became the Argentinean president.
However, Scioli didn’t get the percentage necessary to become president, therefore, a second instance, also known as ballotage, took place. This time the outcome was completely different and the former president of Boca Juniors was the winner with 51.34% of the votes.
Macri assumed the presidency after 12 years of Kirchner’s government, 4 with Nestor Kirchner in power, while the remaining 8 corresponded to the mandates of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s terms.
Some of the positive point of Macri’s government was that Argentina was able to integrate itself with the rest of the world’s countries due to the support that the president received from his peers. This happened thanks in part to his neoliberal policy of reducing state intervention in the national economy. In addition, the government made important investments in infrastructure and public projects.
On the other side, when talking about negative aspects, two fundamental but related points can be found. Inflation and the devaluation of the Argentine peso, which can be mentioned as the unique aspect of the country’s economy because the raising in dollar value increased the prices of essential products that are required for personal or group satisfaction.
The four-year term between 2015 and 2019 that had “Cambiemos” as the official party will be remembered mostly for two fundamental points. One good and one bad: the positive is the reintegration of our country in a global setting and the high international respect it acquired; on the other side, for Macri’s detractors the only legacy he’s left behind is an incredible high external debt contracted as a result of the loan requested to the “FMI”.
Sources: “Macri ganó el ballotage y es el nuevo presidente electo” https://www.telam.com.ar/notas/201511/127984-resultado-escritinio- balotaje.html “El gobierno de Macri, entre lo nuevo y lo malo” https://nuso.org/articulo/el- gobierno-de-mauricio-macri-entre-lo-nuevo-y-lo-viejo/ “Balance de gestión: los 12 logros del gobierno según Mauricio Macri” https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/para-mauricio-macri-estos-fueron-10- principales-nid2313147/ “Fin de mandato: así termina el gobierno de Mauricio Macri en Argentina” https://www.france24.com/es/20191017-gobierno-mauricio-macri-argentina- balance
|DEL GROSSO, Amadeo|
|PINTO MINEO, Luciano|