Argentina. The organized protests of the unemployed (“piqueteros”) increased during the year. In early February, the Ministry of Labor building in Buenos Aires was occupied, while a seven-day hunger strike was carried out and one of the city’s main streets was blocked. The main demands of the protesters were the reintroduction of the state unemployment allowance which was withdrawn in July 2003 due to suspicions of cheating.
It was also tense in Tucumán on National Day July 9, and the week after, the Provincial Congress in Buenos Aires was occupied.
On September 1, riots broke out outside the Interior Ministry building and over 100 people were arrested when “piqueteros” demanded the release of one of their leaders, who was arrested in August.
Another grassroots movement was formed around the demands for more effective combating of the markedly increased crime. Above all, the kidnappings have increased, and prosperous entrepreneur Juan Carlos Blumberg, whose son was kidnapped and murdered, has been at the forefront of a protest movement that has gathered thousands of Argentines.
In April, 130,000 people demonstrated in Buenos Aires, where crime has increased most, including against police being involved in the kidnapping business. The very chief of the police department investigating kidnapping crimes, created as late as November 2003, was arrested on suspicion of withholding evidence against an employee of the federal police.
According to CountryAAH, the total population in Argentina is 45,195,785 people in 2020. The government has admitted problems with corruption within the police force and has responded with a law enforcement program and new laws (popularly called the Blumberg Laws).
A number of measures have been taken to clean up corrupt police in the province of Buenos Aires. The government has been striving to keep a low profile and avoid confrontations, which has led to further protests and suspicions that President Néstor Kirchner has no control over either “piqueteros” or the crime.
The fears of a wave of violence increased in mid-November when several bomb attacks were carried out against banks in Buenos Aires, probably caused by the authorities deciding that the banks are not obliged to compensate the small savers who lost their money during the difficult financial crisis of 2001–02.
1989-95 Menem to power
The last three months of Alfonsín’s reign were characterized by hyperinflation of 100-200% monthly. The economy was in ruins because of the recession and the outgoing president’s lack of prestige. A number of businesses in the capital and cities in the interior of the country were plundered. The attackers stole food and other basic items. In the May 89 presidential election, peronist Carlos Saúl Menem won 47.6% of the vote against radical candidate Eduardo César Angeloz ‘38.4%. The economic chaos was such that the government takeover was advanced by several months. Menem had previously been governor of the Rioja province, and from August 89 launched a comprehensive privatization program based on the State Reform Act. The program opened up the privatization of state-owned enterprises, the deregulation of markets and the decentralization of administration. During his first year of government, the privatization of the state oil company, several communications companies, the administration of the telephone company and the state carrier were carried out. Furthermore, Menem resumed diplomatic relations with Britain, referring to the central question of the supremacy of the Malvinas archipelago for an ambiguous provision on “umbrella protection”. Finally, in two stages he abandoned the responsible military people for the “dirty war”. the central question of the supremacy of the Malvinas archipelago was referred to an ambiguous provision on “umbrella protection”. Finally, in two stages he abandoned the responsible military people for the “dirty war”.
The continuing economic and social crisis as well as Menem’s change of the traditional doctrine of the Peronists led to shaking in the country’s institutions. In the CGT, a deep divide took place between the sectors that supported the government and those that fought it. In addition to the mentioned divisions within the military, similar divisions took place within the main political parties. The church distanced itself from the government and overthrew the leadership of the political parties and public institutions, all characterized by a growing mistrust of the population. In December 1990, a riot among sub-officers was carried out in Buenos Aires. It lasted 24 hours and cost more civilians and soldiers.
During the Gulf War, the Argentine government sent troops to the area in support of the anti-Iraqi coalition led by the United States. It happened without Parliament’s approval. In 1991, the Menem government announced that Argentina was withdrawing from the Alliance Free Movement, and in the first months of 1992, the country joined the United States in criticizing the human rights situation in Cuba. A long Argentine tradition of non-interference was thus broken.
Right from the start, the Menem government was characterized by scandals. Several of his closest advisers were forced to leave their positions after being accused of laundering drug dollars or receiving bribes to favor certain companies ifbm. tenders or privatizations. Despite corruption scandals and loss of prestige, Menem was able to maintain his image. In the elections of governors and provincial parliamentarians in 1991, peronists retained power in 13 out of 23 provinces, UCR won 4 and local parties won 6. At national level, peronists received 40% of the vote – 7% less than in 1989. The defeat was not greater due to the implementation of an economic stabilization plan that drastically reduced government spending, introduced a new currency – the peso – and turned it 1: 1 into the North American dollar.
At the 1993 parliamentary elections, the Peronists scored their 4 consecutive electoral victory. They got 42.3% of the vote against UCR’s 30%. The UCR subsequently agreed to an amendment to the constitution that allowed the re-election of an incumbent president, in return for reducing the reign from 6 to 4 years.
In the economic area, considerable growth took place. Despite this, industrial production remained at a lower level than in 1987. The distribution ratio between the different regions of the country deteriorated, and by the end of the year, public servants in several provinces conducted protest demonstrations after not being paid for months. In some cases, the public buildings burned down and looted the houses of politicians and clergy. The biggest surprise of the 1994 constitutional assembly election was the breakthrough for the left-wing coalition Frente Grande(The Great Front), which became the third strongest political force, won in the metropolitan area by 37.6% of the vote and won the southern Neuquén province. In Buenos Aires, with 16.4% of the vote, it became the second largest political force. Still, Peronists and Radicals (UCR) were able to gain a majority and thus adopt the constitutional reform.