Ever wonder why Argentina’s government is so backward and backwater? BBC recently pulled together this timeline which sheds a light on how to make a government corrupt: Argentina style.
A chronology of key events:
1916 – Hipolito Yrigoyen of the Radical party is elected president. He introduces a minimum wage to counter the effects of inflation. Yrigoyen is elected again in 1928.
1930 – A coup involving all services of the Argentine armed forces and led by General Uriburu overthrows Yrigoyen. Civilian rule is restored in 1932.
1939 – Outbreak of World War II. Argentina proclaims its neutrality.
1942 – Argentina, along with Chile, refuses to break diplomatic relations with Japan and Germany after the Japanese attack on the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour.
1943 – Military regime seizes power. It is known to favour Japan and Germany. One of its leading figures is Colonel Juan Peron.
1944 – Argentina breaks diplomatic relations with Japan and Germany and declares war on them in 1945.
1946 – Juan Peron wins elections for the presidency. He had promised workers higher wages and social security. His wife, Eva Peron – ‘Evita’ – is put in charge of labour relations.
1949 – A new constitution strengthens the power of the president. Congress – dominated by Peron’s supporters – passes legislation providing jail terms for anyone showing disrespect for the government. Regime opponents are subsequently imprisoned, independent newspapers are suppressed.
1951 – Peron is re-elected president with a huge majority.
1952 – Peron’s wife dies of cancer. Peron’s support begins to decline.
1955 June – An attempted coup by the Argentine navy is crushed as the army remains loyal to Peron.
1955 September – Coup by all three branches of the armed forces succeeds after three days of fighting, during which thousands are killed. Peron resigns and takes refuge on a Paraguayan gunboat. He subsequently goes into exile in Paraguay, and later in Spain. The federal constitution of 1853, based on that of the United States, is restored.
1966 – Military rule is imposed again with a coup led by General Juan Carlos Ongania.
The return of Peron
1973 – The Peronist party wins elections in March. Hector Campora is inaugurated president. Argentina is wracked by terrorist violence. Peron returns to Buenos Aires in June. Campora resigns and Peron becomes president in September.
1974 – Peron dies in July. His third wife, Isabel, succeeds him. Terrorism from right and left escalates, leaving hundreds dead. There are strikes, demonstrations and high inflation.
1975 – Inflation rises to more than 300%.
1976 – A military junta under General Jorge Videla seizes power. Parliament is dissolved. Opponents of the regime are rounded up in the ‘Dirty War’, which is to see thousands of people ‘disappear’.
1981 – General Leopoldo Galtieri heads the military regime.
The Falklands War
1982 April – Argentine forces occupy the British-held Falkland Islands, which Argentina calls Islas Malvinas and over which it had long claimed sovereignty. The United Kingdom dispatches a force to re-take the islands, which it does in June. More than 700 Argentines are killed in the fighting. Galtieri is replaced by General Reynaldo Bignone.
1983 – Argentina returns to civilian rule. Raul Alfonsin becomes president. Argentina begins to investigate the ‘Dirty War’ and charge former military leaders with human rights abuses. Inflation is running at more than 900%.
1989 – Carlos Menem of the Peronist party is elected president. He imposes an economic austerity programme.
1990 – Full diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom are restored, with Argentina still maintaining its claim to the Falklands.
1992 – Argentina introduces a new currency, the peso, which is pegged to the US dollar. A bomb is placed in the Israeli embassy, 29 people are killed.
1994 – A Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires is bombed. 86 people are killed and more than 200 injured.
1995 – Menem is re-elected.
1996 – Finance Minister Domingo Cavallo is dismissed. Economic hardship leads to a general strike in September.
1997 – A judge in Spain issues orders for the arrest of former Argentine military officers on charges of participating in the kidnapping and killing of Spanish citizens during the ‘Dirty War’. Argentine amnesty laws protect the accused.
1998 – Argentine judges order arrests in connection with the abduction of hundreds of babies from women detained during the ‘Dirty War’.
1999 – Fernando de la Rua of the centre-left Alianza opposition coalition wins the presidency, inherits 114 billion-dollar public debt.
2000 – Strikes and fuel tax protests. Beef exports slump after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Soya exports suffer from concerns over the use of genetically modified varieties. The IMF grants Argentina an aid package of nearly 40 billion dollars.
2001 February – Argentina recalls its ambassador to Cuba after President Castro accuses Argentina of ‘licking the yankee boot’. Castro made the remarks in an apparent reference to Argentina’s support for US condemnation of Cuba’s record on human rights.
Argentina and the United Kingdom agree that Argentine private aircraft and vessels may now visit the Falkland Islands again.
2001 March – President de la Rua forms a government of national unity and appoints three finance ministers in as many weeks as cabinet resignations and protests greet planned austerity measures.
2001 July – Former president Carlos Menem is charged with heading an ‘illicit organisation’ that violated international arms embargoes against Croatia and Ecuador in the early 1990s. A court throws out all arms trafficking charges against Menem, freeing him after five months of house arrest.
2001 July – Much of the country is brought to a standstill by a general strike in protest against proposed government spending cuts. Country’s credit ratings slip.
Return of the Peronists
2001 October – The opposition Peronists take control of both houses of parliament in Congressional elections.
2001 November – President de la Rua meets US President George W Bush in a last-ditch attempt to avoid an economic crash in Argentina. Share prices reach record lows.
2001 December – Economy Minister Cavallo announces sweeping restrictions to halt an exodus of bank deposits. The IMF stops $1.3bn in aid.
2001 13 December – A 24-hour general strike is held in protest at curbs on bank withdrawals, delayed pension payouts and other measures.
2001 20 December – President Fernando de la Rua resigns after at least 25 people die in street protests and rioting.
2001 23 December – Adolfo Rodriguez Saa named new interim president. He resigns on 30 December, citing a lack of support within his party.
2002 1 January – Congress elects Peronist Senator Eduardo Duhalde as caretaker president. Within days the government devalues the peso, ending 10 years of parity with the US dollar.
2002 April – Banking and foreign exchange activity suspended; Duhalde says the financial system could collapse.
2002 June – Two killed in anti-government and IMF protests in Buenos Aires. The protesters, known as ‘piqueteros’, are highly organised groups of unemployed who block the main road bridges into the capital.
2002 July – Duhalde calls early elections for March 2003, later put back to April, to try win public support for the government’s handling of the economic crisis.
2002 November – Argentina defaults on an $800m debt repayment to the World Bank, having failed to re-secure IMF aid. The World Bank says it will not consider new loans for the country.
Kirchner sworn in
2003 May – Nestor Kirchner sworn in as president. Former President Carlos Menem gained most votes in first round of elections but pulled out before second round.
2003 August – Congress, Senate vote to scrap laws protecting former military officers from prosecution over human rights abuses during military regime.
2003 September – After weeks of negotiations Argentina and IMF agree on debt-refinancing deal under which Buenos Aires will only pay interest on its loans.
2004 April – Judge issues international arrest warrant for former President Carlos Menem, over allegations of fraud.
2004 September – Court clears five men accused of involvement in 1994 bombing of Jewish centre in Buenos Aires.
2004 December – Former President Carlos Menem returns from self-imposed exile in Chile after two arrest warrants are cancelled.
188 people are killed and around 700 are injured in a fire at a Buenos Aires nightclub.
2005 March – President Kirchner declares the restructuring of the country’s debt to be a success. Argentina offered to exchange more than $100bn in defaulted bonds.
2005 June – Supreme Court scraps an amnesty law protecting former military officers suspected of human rights abuses during military rule between 1976 and 1983.
2005 November – Argentina hosts the 34-nation Summit of the Americas, an event accompanied by sometimes-violent protests against free trade and US President Bush.
2006 January – Argentina repays its multi-billion-dollar debt to the IMF.
2006 May – Citing environmental concerns, Argentina files a complaint against the construction of two pulp mills in neighbouring Uruguay at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The court rules in July that the project can continue.
2006 October – Violence mars the reburial of former President Juan Domingo Peron at a new mausoleum outside Buenos Aires.
2007 January – Spanish police arrest former President Isabel Peron in connection with an Argentine investigation into the activities of right-wing paramilitaries in the 1970s.
2007 October – Former Roman Catholic police chaplain Christian Von Wernich is convicted of collaborating in the murder and torture of prisoners during the ‘Dirty War’.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is elected president, succeeding her husband Nestor Kirchner in the post.
2007 December – Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner sworn in as president.
2008 April – A Spanish court rejects a request from Buenos Aires to extradite former Argentine president Isabel Peron, wanted for alleged human rights abuses.
2008 July – President Fernandez cancels controversial tax increases on agricultural exports which sparked months of protests by farmers.
2008 August – Two former generals are sentenced to life imprisonment for their actions during the period of Argentina’s military rule – known as the Dirty War – during the 1970s and 1980s.
2008 November – Lower house of parliament approves government’s controversial plan to nationalise pension funds. President Fernandez says the move is necessary to protect pensioners’ assets during the global financial crisis.
2009 January – Government declares state of emergency over worst drought in decades.
2009 February – Farmers threaten to halt livestock and grain sales in protest at agricultural export taxes.
2009 July – Legislative elections result in President Fernandez’s Peronist party losing its absolute majorities in both houses of parliament.
Row with UK
2009 April – Argentina hands documents to UN formally laying claim to a vast expanse of the ocean, as far as the Antarctic and including island chains governed by Britain.
2009 March – Britain rejects calls from Argentina for talks over the future sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
2009 December – Argentine parliament passes law claiming Falkland Islands and several other British overseas territories in the area.
2010 February – Argentina imposes new controls on ships passing through its waters to Falkland Islands in response to plans by a British company to drill for oil near the islands.
2010 June – Argentina’s creditors agree to new debt swap deal worth around $12bn. Under the new agreement, two thirds of the country’s outstanding bad debt will be exchanged for new bonds.
2010 July – Argentina becomes first country in Latin America to legalise same-sex marriage.
2010 October – Ex-President Nestor Kirchner, the president’s husband and predecessor, dies. He was seen as a key presidential contender for 2011.
2010 December – Exploration firm says it fails to find oil at Falkland Islands.
Former military ruler General Jorge Videla is sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity.
2011 October – Benefiting from strong economic growth, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wins a second term with a landslide 54% of the vote.
Former naval officer Alfredo Astiz and 11 other former members of the security forces are given life sentences for crimes against humanity committed during the 1976-83 period of military rule.
2011 December – As the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands approaches, tensions with Britain increase after Buenos Aires persuades members of the South American trading bloc Mercosur to close their ports to ships flying the Falkland Islands flag.
2012 February – Argentina makes an official complaint to the UN that Britain is “militarising” the area around the Falkland Islands after the UK announces that it is sending one of its newest destroyers to the region. Argentina also accuses Britain of sending a nuclear-armed submarine to the area. British officials dismiss the accusations as “absurd”.
2012 May – The European Union files a suit against Argentina’s import restrictions at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a row over Argentina’s nationalisation of energy company YPF, which was majority owned by Spain’s Repsol.
2012 July – Two former junta leaders found guilty of overseeing the systematic theft of babies from political prisoners during 1976-1983 dictatorship. Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone sentenced to 50 and 15 years in prison respectively. Trial follows years of campaigning by rights group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, which says 500 children stolen and raised by families close to the regime.
2012 September – The International Monetary Fund warns Argentina it could face sanctions unless it produces reliable growth and inflation data by mid-December. Economists say annual inflation in Argentina is running at 24%, much higher than the official 10% figure.
2012 November – Congress approves a law to lower the voting age to 16. The government says it is an extension of democracy that will enfranchise more than a million young voters. President Fernandez is courting the youth vote, and critics say the change is designed to boost her party’s chances in the key mid-term congressional elections in 2013.
2013 January – Argentina and Iran agree to set up a joint commission to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, despite Argentine courts having blamed Iran for the attack in which 85 people died.
2013 March – Falkland Islanders vote overwhelmingly in favour of remaining a British overseas territory. Argentina describes the referendum as pointless.
- Jorge Videla (telegraph.co.uk)
- Argentina’s Former Military Dictator Videla Dies in Jail at 87 – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Former Argentina dictator Videla dies in prison (irishtimes.com)
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