Raúl Alfonsín

Raúl Alfonsín

Infobox_President | name=Raúl Alfonsín

order= 47th President of Argentina
term_start=December 10 1983
term_end=July 7 1989
predecessor=Reynaldo Bignone
successor=Carlos Menem
birth_date=birth date and age|1927|03|13
birth_place=Chascomús, Buenos Aires
party=Radical Civic Union
vicepresident=Víctor Martínez

Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín Foulkes (born 13 March 1927 in Chascomús) is an Argentine politician, who was the President of Argentina from 10 December 1983 to 9 July 1989.


Early life

Alfonsín was born in the city of Chascomús, in the eastern Buenos Aires Province of Argentina and raised in the Roman Catholic faith. Straight after his elementary schooling he took up studies at the General San Martín Military Academy, where he graduated after five years as a second lieutenant. In 1945, he entered the Radical Civic Union (UCR) while taking an active role in the reform group Movimiento de Intransigencia y Renovación. In 1946, he lost to Perón and at about that same time, he entered law school graduating in 1950 at the National University of La Plata and went back home in his birthplace. In 1950 he also married María Lorenza Barrenchea. ["Raul Ricardo Alfonsin." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2006.] Back in his hometown, he took up a role as an attorney, newspaper publisher ("El Imparcial"), and an elected member to the city council. In 1955, a coup d'état (self-styled "Revolución Libertadora") brought Perón's reign to an end, and that gave the UCR more political strength."Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín." Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.]

Entering politics

A member of the Radical Civic Union, he was elected to the Buenos Aires provincial legislature in 1958. He stood for the Radical Party nomination for the 1973 presidential election, but lost to Ricardo Balbín.After the collapse of the military junta of the National Reorganization Process in 1983 (among other reasons due to the disastrous Falklands War ( _es. Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur), new presidential elections were held. Alfonsín, who had been elected leader of the party in July that year, became president.

His government sponsored the Trial of the Juntas, prosecuting some of the top members of the previous military regime for crimes committed during the Dirty War, and created the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons to document their human rights abuses, but found resistance from the military and was plagued by economic and labour problems. Soon afterwards, he sponsored the passing of two laws, the "Ley de Obediencia Debida" (Law of Due Obedience) and the "Ley de Punto Final" (Full Stop Law), which rolled back and halted the prosecution of most Dirty War criminals.In 1984, he signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1984 between Chile and Argentina, ending a border dispute over the Beagle Channel after mediation of the Holy See. In 1985, he was awarded the first Prize For Freedom of the Liberal International.

In 1985, in an attempt to control the country's chronic inflation, his government launched the Austral Plan, by which prices were frozen and the existing currency, the "peso argentino", was replaced by the Argentine austral. It introduced a mechanism called "desagio", by which creditors who received payments after the date of the start of the plan received a minor sum, the difference being the built-in inflation that was assumed when the transaction was agreed upon. The main figure behind the plan was his Minister of Economy, Juan Sorrouille.

End of term

Alfonsín's government endured the rebellion of Army factions, the most notable of them during the long weekend of Easter in 1987, when a group identified as Carapintadas (lit. "painted faces", from their use of camouflage paint) and led by Army Major Aldo Rico took position in the Army's grounds of Campo de Mayo. After negotiating with the rebels, Alfonsín returned to the Casa Rosada, where an anxious population was waiting for news, and he uttered a then-famous sentence, "La casa está en orden" ("The house is in order"), to signify the end of the crisis.

In 1989 the Alfonsín administration faced more problems. In January, a leftist armed organization attacked the Regiment of La Tablada in Buenos Aires Province; 39 persons were killed. At this point, the economic situation in Argentina had deteriorated to the point of causing hyperinflation (over 200% monthly), and in some large cities (particularly Rosario) there were riots and looting. Alfonsín decreed a state of emergency, and soon after the situation was controlled, he resigned, leaving office six months before the end of his term to President elect Carlos Menem, of the Peronists.In 1994, Alfonsín was instrumental in the signing of the Olivos Pact, through which the two largest Argentine parties agreed to support a constitutional reform which (among other things) paved the way for President Menem's reelection. Alfonsín resigned as leader of the Radical Party after their poor performance on the 1995 elections, but continued to be an important figurehead. By 2000, he was again leader of the Party. [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2000/10/10/p-00315.htm] In 2001 he was elected a Senator for Buenos Aires Province, but stepped down after a year to be replaced by Diana Conti.

As of 2006, Alfonsín supports a faction of the UCR that favours the idea of carrying an independent candidate (in all likelihood, President Kirchner's former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna) for the 2007 presidential elections.

Member of the Club of Madrid [http://www.clubmadrid.org] . [en [http://www.clubmadrid.org The Club of Madrid is an independent organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world by drawing on the unique experience and resources of its Members – 66 democratic former heads of state and government.]

ee also

*Alfonsín stamps


External links

* [http://www.cidob.org/es/documentacion/biografias_lideres_politicos/america_del_sur/argentina/raul_alfonsin Biography by CIDOB Foundation] es
* [http://www.project-syndicate.org/contributors/contributor_comm.php4?id=122 Raúl Alfonsín's Project Syndicate op/eds]

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