chapter
Argentina
Pages 9

Maj.-Gen. Pedro Eugenio Aramburu Cilveti was installed as President; his administration restored the Constitution of 1853, preventing the head of state from seeking re-election. June 1956: Supporters of Perón led a revolt which was severely suppressed by the armed forces; 38 Peronists were executed, and several thousand more arrested and imprisoned. July 1956: Elections to the Constituent Assembly took place (the Peronists were excluded from participation); the UCR gained the most votes, followed by the Unión Cívica Radical Intransigente (UCRI). 1958: The leader of the UCRI, Arturo Frondizi Ercolí, won presidential elections with the support of Peronist and Communist factions. 1960: The Government became a member of the Latin American Free Trade Association, which aimed to develop trading relations with other countries in the region. March 1962: In legislative elections, the Peronists gained 35% of votes cast. President Frondizi was subsequently accused of sympathies with the Peronist movement and deposed by the military; José María Guido was appointed his successor. July 1963: In new elections, from which the Peronists and Communists were banned, Arturo Illía Francesconi of the Unión Cívica Radical del Pueblo (UCRP), was elected President. June 1966: President Illía was deposed in a coup d’état; a military junta, led by Gen. Juan Carlos Onganía Carballo, subsequently took control. June 1970: Gen. Onganía was deposed by other members of the military junta; Roberto Levingston Laborda assuming the leadership. March 1971: Gen. Alejandro Agustín Lanusse Gelly assumed the leadership of the military junta. 1972: Price rises and agitation by Peronistas caused civil unrest, precipitating the declaration of states of emergency in many of the provinces during the year. Gen. Lanusse announced that legislative elections, in which Peronist groups (although not Perón himself) would be permitted to participate, would be held in March 1973. March 1973: The Frente Justicialista de Liberación (FJL), which was supported by the Peronists, won legislative elections; their candidate, Hector Cámpora Demaestre, was subsequently elected President. 20 June 1973: Perón returned to Buenos Aires; his return precipitated rioting in which some 380 people died. 12 July 1973: Amid increasing unrest among supporters and opponents of Perón, and between extremist elements within the Peronist movement, Campora resigned; new elections were organized for September. September 1973: Perón was elected President, gaining 61% of votes cast; he appointed his third wife, María Estela (Isabelita) Martínez de Perón, as Vice-President. 1 July 1974: Perón died; he was succeeded by ‘Isabelita’ de Perón. Her Government’s programme of economic austerity prompted a revival of civil unrest and strikes, and failed to prevent the deterioration of the country’s economy. December 1975: Units of the air force attempted to rebel against the Government. 24 March 1976: Isabelita Perón was deposed by a military junta, led by Lt-Gen. Jorge party

responsible for 2,300 political murders, 10,000 political arrests and some 30,000 ‘disappearances’. March 1981: Videla (who had left his military position) was succeeded by Gen. Roberto Viola Prevendini, who announced his intention that democratic rule be restored. December 1981: Owing to ill health, Viola resigned; he was replaced by the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri. The regime’s suppression of opposition continued and, in some cases, intensified. 2 April 1982: Gen. Galtieri ordered the occupation of the British-held Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas-an archipelago in the South Atlantic, sovereignty over which had been disputed since the United Kingdom claimed the islands in 1833); British forces were dispatched to recapture the islands. 14 June 1982: The Falkland Islands were recaptured by the British; Gen. Galtieri was forced to resign and Maj.-Gen. Reynaldo Bigone Ramayón was appointed head of state. 30 October 1983: General elections were held. The UCR won 317 of the 600 available seats in the presidential electoral college and 129 of the 254 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The UCR’s candidate, Raúl Alfonsín Foulkes, a lawyer who had opposed the war and was active in defence of human rights during the military regime, was elected President. December 1983: Following the discovery of mass graves, the Government announced the establishment of a National Commission of Disappearance of Persons to investigate the activities of the successive military juntas, which became known as the guerra sucia (‘dirty war’). President Alfonsín also ordered the court-martial of the members of the first three military juntas to rule following the 1976 coup d’état. April 1985: The trials of the former military leaders commenced; witnesses testified to systematic atrocities and accused the former regimes of instigating campaigns of terror. May 1985: The Government concluded an agreement with Chile, regarding sovereignty over the Beagle Islands; it was decided that while Chile would have sovereignty over the islands, Argentina would be able to exploit petroleum and other mineral resources present in the surrounding waters. 15 June 1985: The peso argentine was replaced as the country’s currency by the austral, in an attempt to control inflation (one austral was equivalent to 1,000 pesos argentines). December 1985: Videla and Adm. Eduardo Massera were sentenced to life imprisonment for violations of human rights committed during the country’s period of military rule; five others received shorter sentences. May 1986: Three members of the junta which held power during the Falklands-Malvinas conflict, were convicted of negligence and received prison sentences; Gen. Galtieri was sentenced to 12 year’s imprisonment. December 1986: The Government approved the Punto Final (‘Full Stop’) Law, which authorized civil and military courts to begin the trials of members of the armed forces who had been accused of violations of human rights, within a 60-day period, ending on 22 February 1987. May 1987: Legislation providing for an amnesty for all but the senior ranks of the police

increased its number of seats from 101 to 105. January 1988: Lt-Col Aldo Rico led a rebellion by the armed forces, who demanded an increase in salaries and an amnesty for officers awaiting trial for human-rights violations. A similar revolt was instigated by Col Mohamed Ali Seineldín in December. 14 May 1989: Carlos Saúl Menem Akim, the candidate of the Frente Justicialista de Unidad Popular (FREJUPO), an electoral alliance formed by the Partido Democrática Cristiano (PDC) and the Partido Intransigente (PI) won 48.5% of the votes cast in the presidential election; the alliance was also the largest party in the Chamber of Deputies, winning 66 of the 127 seats. October 1989: The new Government issued a pardon to 210 military officers and soldiers who had been involved in the ‘dirty war’. December 1989: The Minister of the Economy, Nestor Rapanelli, resigned following his failure to prevent hyperinflation. February 1990: Full diplomatic relations were restored with the United Kingdom. December 1990: The release of Videla, Gen. Viola and Adm. Massera by the Government precipitated mass demonstrations in Buenos Aires. January 1991: In an attempt to control inflation and stabilize the economy, the austral, which had experienced a number of devaluations, was fixed at 10,000 to the US dollar, supported by the Central Bank’s reserves. 26 March 1991: The Treaty of Asunción was signed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, committing the four countries to the establishment of a common market, to be known in Portuguese as the Mercado Comum do Sul and in Spanish as the Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosul/Mercosur-the Southern Common Market). October 1991: In an attempt to reduce hyperinflation, the President decreed that all state regulation of the economy should cease. 1 January 1992: The austral was replaced as the country’s currency by the nuevo peso argentino, equal to US $1. November 1992: The country’s largest trade-union organization, the Confederatión General del Trabajo (CGT) announced a one-day general strike. December 1993: The UCR and the Peronist Partido Jusiticialista (PJ) concluded an electoral-reform agreement, which provided for the amendments to the Constitution, including the re-election of a president for a consecutive term, the reduction of the term of office to four years and the abolition of the presidential electoral college. April 1994: In elections to the 305-seat Constituent Assembly, the PJ won 37.7% of the votes cast and 136 seats, the UCR securing only 19.9% of the ballot. 24 August 1994: A new Constitution, which included clauses on the protection of human rights, was promulgated. Under the provisions of the new document, the president was thenceforth to be directly elected, with a second round of voting required if the most popular candidate received less than 45% of the votes cast, but not if that candidate received 40% of the ballot and the nearest challenger less than 30%. Other provisions included the delegation of some presidential powers to a Chief of Cabinet and the reiteration of the territorial claim to the Falkland Islands/Malvinas.