Argentina. President Fernando de la Rúa’s first year in power has been dominated by economic problems, and in November he warned that Argentina was facing an economic disaster. The $ 1.4 billion budget cuts that he was forced to implement at the beginning of his term to cope with a growing financial deficit were followed by further $ 600 million reductions in May. The problems have been exacerbated by the fact that the economic recovery has been worse than expected. At the end of the year, central government debt amounted to $ 123 billion, and next year almost $ 20 billion is only needed for interest payments. At the same time as 85% of export income goes to debt payments, growth is not expected to exceed 1.6% in 2001.
As a remedy, both tax and labor law reforms have been implemented, as well as a five-point program for social and economic development. But the prospects for a strengthened budget do not look promising; Neither tax increases (dependent on growth, which is currently low), privatizations (not much left to sell), loans (already over-utilized) or expenditure reductions (leading to social unrest) can be seriously considered. An agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $ 13 billion loan to deal with the acute budget crisis was concluded in November. The provinces, which are financially dependent on the central government, accepted a halt to increases in their state contributions, but two general strikes as well as protests and several riots with death victims occurred during the year, especially in the province of Salta in the northwest. Unemployment remains unchanged at a high level; In total, 30% of the workforce is unemployed or underemployed, and 18% of the population is said to live on less than $ 2 per day.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Offers three letter and two letter abbreviations for the country of Argentina. Also covers country profile such as geography, society and economy.
1984-89 Transition to parliamentary democracy
The new head of UCR, Raúl Alfonsín, got 52% of the vote against the 40% of the Peronists. During the election campaign, Alfonsín revealed the existence of a secret agreement between the military and the peronists’ LO (CGT). He advanced on a message of legality and life to chance and death. That gave him the victory – even in much of the industrial area around Greater Buenos Aires, which had traditionally been a Peronist bastion.
The new government went for a frontal attack on inflation, which had reached an alarming level – 688% by the end of 1984. In 1985 it stabilized at around 25% monthly. Public spending showed a deficit of $ 70 million annually and was therefore drastically cut. The military’s expenses, for example. reduced from 30% to 18% of the total budget. At the same time, financial citizenship reaped profits greater than anywhere else in the world.
The share of the working class and middle classes of national income fell from 48% to 35%. In this situation, the Peronist CGT tried to play on several horses. a strike among the smaller farmers, in return for recognizing CGT’s wage demands and professional control over “social projects” – especially in health care and national tourism.
In mid-June 1985, the authorities launched the Austral Plan, which froze the prices, service tariffs, salaries and at the same time introduced a new coin – Austral – which was linked to the dollar.
In the conflict with Chile over the Beagle Channel in the southernmost part of the country, an agreement was signed that reduced the risk of war between the two countries. The Vatican had acted as mediator in the dispute, and the agreement had been sent to a referendum and here approved with 80% of the vote.
Studies from the Comisión Nacional sobre Desaparición de Personas(CONADEP, the National Commission for the Discovery of Persons) provided new ammunition to the public trial against the nine dictatorship commander accused of giving orders to the criminal acts carried out during the dictatorship. The verdict on several high-ranking military personnel – including President Videla – and the subsequent prosecution of other officers led to severe military pressure. During Easter 1987, several military units drove out of their barracks toward the capital to put power behind their demands for further litigation and amnesty to the convicted. Although the military rebels constituted only a military minority, afterwards great questions were raised about the willingness of the “loyal” forces to fight the rebellion.
President Alfonsín convened for a demonstration at the Plaza de Mayo in the center of Buenos Aires in defense of democracy. A call that was followed by 1 million Argentinians. The crisis was resolved on Palm Sunday when Alfonsín personally went into dialogue with the rebels in the Campo de Mayo military deployment. Nevertheless, several of the senior military personnel were replaced in the following days and the president drafted a congressional proposal for “imposing obedience” exempting most of the military accused or convicted of human rights violations on the grounds that they acted on orders from above.
During the following two years, inflation continued to reduce real wages for the majority of the population. Between December 83 and April 89, thousands of jobs were eliminated, wages had dropped drastically and the recession worsened the situation for SMEs. CGT was at the forefront of opposition to Alfonsín’s economic policy and conducted 14 general strikes during the period. The social costs of this development were still rising, reaching a point where around 10 million – almost 30% of the population – was largely marginalized in the consumer market.
In the summer of 88, another military uprising – albeit of minor importance – was carried out in the Monte Caseros facility. Its leader was Lieutenant Colonel Aldo Rico, who was put on trial and thrown out of the army. In the winter of that year, Colonel Mohamed Alí Seineldín was at the head of the third military uprising. The rebels could explain that the purpose of this rebellion was a loose internal contradiction in the military, split between a “nationalist” trend that backed around Seineldín, and another trend of “liberal” observance that followed the army leadership. Although both rebellions were well enough overcome, the internal contradictions remained unsolved.
In February 89, an armed group from the left-wing organization Movimiento Todos por la Patria (MTP, the Movement for the Fatherland) launched an attack on a military raid on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, allegedly to prevent a military coup. MTP had until then operated in full legality. The repression was completely out of proportion and the survivors were sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. Some of the surrendered members were executed and others “disappeared”.
According to COUNTRYAAH, the population of Argentina in 2000 was 36,870,676, ranking number 31 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.150% yearly, and the population density was 13.4728 people per km2.