Trial of the Juntas
The Trial of the Juntas was the judicial trial of the members of the de facto military government that ruled Argentina during the dictatorship of the Proceso de Reorganización Nacional, which lasted from 1976 to 1983. The trial took place in 1985 and is so far the only example of such a large scale procedure by a democratic government against a former dictatorial government of the same country in Latin America; those on trial were: Jorge Rafael Videla, Emilio Eduardo Massera, Roberto Eduardo Viola, Armando Lambruschini, Orlando Ramón Agosti, Omar Graffigna, Leopoldo Galtieri, Jorge Anaya and Basilio Lami Dozo The Trial of the Juntas began on 22 April 1985, during the presidential administration of Raúl Alfonsín, the first elected government after the restoration of democracy in 1983. The main prosecutors were his assistant Luis Moreno Ocampo; the trial was presided over by a tribunal of six judges: León Arslanián, Jorge Torlasco, Ricardo Gil Lavedra, Andrés D'Alessio, Jorge Valerga Aráoz, Guillermo Ledesma.
The dictatorship was a series of several military governments under four military juntas. The fourth junta, before calling for elections and relinquishing power to the democratic authorities, enacted a Self-Amnesty Law on April 18, 1983, as well as a secret decree that ordered the destruction of records and other evidence of their past crimes. Three days after his inauguration, on 13 December 1983), President Alfonsín signed Decree No. 158, which mandated the initiation of legal proceedings against the nine military officers of the first three juntas, but not the fourth. The National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons was established two days to collect testimonies from thousands of witnesses, presented 8,960 cases of forced disappearances to the president on 20 September 1984. Following the refusal of a military court to try former junta members, Alfonsín established a National Criminal Court of Appeals for the purpose on 14 October; this trial, which began on 22 April 1985, is so far the only example of such a large scale procedure by a democratic government against a former dictatorial government of the same country in Latin America.
It was the first major trial held for war crimes since the Nüremberg Trials in Germany following World War II, the first to be conducted by a civilian court. It succeeded in prosecuting the crimes of the juntas, which included kidnapping, forced disappearance, murder of an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 people during what was called the Dirty War against political dissidents. Opposition to the trial was limited to critical commentary by politicians and media figures sympathetic to the dictatorship; some protest became violent: during the sentencing phase of the trial, 29 bomb threats were made to several Buenos Aires schools, a number of bombs were detonated in key government installations, including the Ministry of Defense. On October 25, President Alfonsín declared a 60-day state of emergency. Prosecutors presented 709 cases. A total of 833 witnesses testified during the cross-examination phase. Witnesses included former President Alejandro Lanusse, writer Jorge Luis Borges, Estela Barnes de Carlotto, President of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.
Closing arguments were heard on September 18. Chief prosecutor Strassera concluded by declaring that: I wish to waive any claim to originality in closing this indictment. I wish to use a phrase, not my own, because it belongs to all the Argentine people. Your Honors: Never again! Sentencing was read on 9 December: General Jorge Videla and Admiral Emilio Massera were sentenced to life imprisonment, General Roberto Viola: seventeen years, Admiral Armando Lambruschini: eight years, General Orlando Agosti: four and a half years. Omar Graffigna, Leopoldo Galtieri, Jorge Anaya and Basilio Lami Dozo were acquitted, though the latter three were concomitantly court martialed for malfeasance in waging the Falklands War of 1982. Charges against 600 others were brought to court, but these lawsuits were hampered by the Full Stop Law of 1986, which limited suits to those indicted within 60 days of the law's enactment, the Law of Due Obedience of 1987, which halted most remaining trials of Dirty War perpetrators.
Between 1989 and 1990, President Carlos Menem pardoned the men, sentenced or court-martialed. President Néstor Kirchner obtained an Argentine Supreme Court ruling permitting extraditions in cases of crimes against humanity in 2003, that same year the Congress repealed the Full Stop Law. In 2005 the Supreme Court ruled that the 1986 and 1987 laws shielding officers accused of crimes were unconstitutional. In 2006 the government tried Miguel Etchecolatz, the first to be prosecuted of 600 defendants. Witnesses and the judges were threatened, after the sentencing, Julio Jorge López disappeared. A victim of state violence and witness for the prosecution, he was feared dead and has never been found; the original video tapes of the trial have been in Norway since 1988. All of the Trial's judges traveled to Oslo on April 25 of that year with 147 VHS tapes which were given to the Norwegian Parliament in order to keep them safe and avoid any commercial use, they are kept next to the original text of the Constitution of Norway.
Ley de Obediencia Debida Ley de Punto Final Carapintadas CONADEP Decree No. 158 - Presidential decree that mandated the prosecution of the juntas. Interview with Julio César
South American dreadnought race
A naval arms race among Argentina and Chile—the most powerful and wealthy countries in South America—began in the early twentieth century when the Brazilian government ordered three dreadnoughts, formidable battleships whose capabilities far outstripped older vessels in the world's navies. In 1904, the Brazilian Navy found itself well behind its Argentine and Chilean rivals in quality and total tonnage. Rising demand for coffee and rubber was fueling a large increase in the Brazilian government's revenue, the country's legislature voted to devote some of the proceeds to address this naval imbalance, they believed that building a strong navy would play an essential role in remaking the country into an international power. The Brazilian government ordered three small battleships from the United Kingdom in late 1905, but the appearance of the revolutionary British warship HMS Dreadnought in 1906 scrapped these plans. Instead, the Brazilians ordered three Minas Geraes-class dreadnoughts—warships that would be the most powerful in the world, of a type which became a measure of international prestige, similar to nuclear weapons in the mid-twentieth century.
This action focused the world's attention on the newly ascendant country: newspapers and politicians in the great powers fretted that Brazil would sell the ships to a belligerent nation, while the Argentine and Chilean governments canceled their naval-limiting pact and ordered two dreadnoughts each. Meanwhile, Brazil's third dreadnought faced a good deal of political opposition after an economic downturn and a naval revolt: the crews of both of their brand-new battleships, along with several smaller warships and threatened to fire on Rio de Janeiro if there was no end to what they called the "slavery" being practiced by the Brazilian Navy. Despite these pressures, the shipbuilder Armstrong Whitworth held the Brazilians to their contractual obligations. Construction on the new ship, preliminarily named Rio de Janeiro, was halted several times due to repeated design changes. Brazil's coffee and rubber booms collapsed soon after. Concerned that their ship would be outclassed by larger super-dreadnoughts, they sold the incomplete vessel to the Ottoman Empire in December 1913.
The First World War marked the end of the naval arms race, as the South American countries found themselves unable to purchase additional warships. The Brazilian government ordered a new battleship, Riachuelo, in May 1914, but the conflict canceled the ship; the British purchased the two Chilean battleships. Argentina's two dreadnoughts, having been built in the neutral United States, escaped this fate and were commissioned in 1914–15. Although several South American post-war naval expansion plans called for dreadnoughts, no additional units were constructed. Conflicting Argentine and Chilean claims to Patagonia, the southernmost region in South America, had been causing tension between the two countries since the 1840s; this tension was heightened in 1872 and 1878, when Chilean warships seized merchant ships, licensed to operate in the disputed area by the Argentine government. An Argentine warship did the same to a Chilean-licensed American ship in 1877; this action nearly led to war in November 1878, when the Argentines dispatched a squadron of warships to the Santa Cruz River.
The Chilean Navy responded in kind, war was only avoided by a hastily signed treaty. Each government was distracted in the next few years, Argentina's with intensified military operations against the indigenous population, Chile's with the War of the Pacific against Bolivia and Peru. Still, several warships were ordered by both nations: the Chileans ordered a protected cruiser, while the Argentines contracted for two warships, the central battery ironclad Almirante Brown and protected cruiser Patagonia. In 1887, the Chilean government added £3,129,500 to the budget for its fleet, at the time still centered on two aging central battery ironclads, Almirante Cochrane and Blanco Encalada, from the 1870s, they ordered the battleship Capitán Prat, two protected cruisers, two torpedo boats. The Argentine government responded with an order for two battleships and Libertad, beginning a naval arms race between the two countries, it continued through the 1890s after the expensive Chilean Civil War. The two countries alternated cruiser orders between 1890 and 1895, each marking a small increase in capabilities from the ship previous.
Argentina escalated the race in July 1895 by buying an armored cruiser, from Italy. Chile responded by ordering its own armored cruiser, O'Higgins, six torpedo boats; the race slowed for a few years after a boundary dispute in the Puna de Atacama region was mediated in 1899 by the American ambassador to Argentina, William Paine Lord, but more ships were ordered by both countries in 1901. The Argentine Navy bought two more armored cruisers from Italy, the Chilean Navy replied with orders for two Constitución-class pre-dreadnought battleships from British shipyards; the Argentines replied by signing letters of intent with Ansaldo in May 1901 to buy two larger battleships. The growing dispute disturbed members of the British government, as war looked like a real possibility
History of Argentina
The history of Argentina can be divided into four main parts: the pre-Columbian time or early history, the colonial period, the period of nation-building, the history of modern Argentina. Prehistory in the present territory of Argentina began with the first human settlements on the southern tip of Patagonia around 13,000 years ago. Written history began with the arrival of Spanish chroniclers in the expedition of Juan Díaz de Solís in 1516 to the Río de la Plata, which marks the beginning of Spanish occupation of this region. In 1776 the Spanish Crown established the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, an umbrella of territories from which, with the Revolution of May 1810, began a process of gradual formation of several independent states, including one called the United Provinces of Río de la Plata. With the declaration of independence on July 9, 1816 and the military defeat of the Spanish Empire in 1824, a federal state was formed in 1853-1861, known today as the Republic of Argentina; the area now known as Argentina was sparsely populated until the period of European colonization.
The earliest traces of human life are dated from the Paleolithic period, there are further signs in the Mesolithic and Neolithic. However, large areas of the interior and Piedmont were depopulated during an extensive dry period between 4000 and 2000 B. C; the Uruguayan archaeologist Raúl Campá Soler divided the indigenous peoples in Argentina into three main groups: basic hunters and food gatherers, without the development of pottery. The second group could be found in the pampas and south of Patagonia, the third one included the Charrúa and Minuane and the Guaraní; the major ethnic groups included the Onas at Tierra del Fuego, Yámana at the archipelago between the Beagle Channel and Cape Horn, Tehuelche in the Patagonia, many peoples at the literal, guaycurúes and, at Chaco. The Guaraní had expanded across large areas of South America, but settled in the northeastern provinces of Argentina; the Toba nation and the Diaguita which included the Calchaqui and the Quilmes lived in the North and the Comechingones in what is today the province of Cordoba.
The Charrúa, Bohán and Chaná were people located in the actual territory of Entre Ríos and the Querandí in Buenos Aires. In the late 15th century, the Native tribes of the Quebrada de Humahuaca were conquered by the Inca Empire, under Topa Inca Yupanqui, to secure the supply of metals such as silver and copper; the Incan domination of the area lasted for about half a century and ended with the arrival of the Spanish in 1536. Europeans first arrived in the region with the 1502 Portuguese voyage of Gonçalo Coelho and Amerigo Vespucci. Around 1512, João de Lisboa and Estevão de Fróis discovered the Rio de La Plata in present-day Argentina, exploring its estuary, contacting the Charrúa people, bringing the first news of the "people of the mountains", the Inca empire, obtained from the local natives, they traveled as far south as the Gulf of San Matias at 42ºS, on the northern shores of Patagonia. The Spanish, led by Juan Díaz de Solís, visited the territory, now Argentina in 1516. In 1536 Pedro de Mendoza established a small settlement at the modern location of Buenos Aires, abandoned in 1541.
A second one was established in 1580 by Juan de Garay, Córdoba in 1573 by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera. Those regions were part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, whose capital was Lima, settlers arrived from that city. Unlike the other regions of South America, the colonization of the Río de la Plata estuary was not influenced by any gold rush, since it lacked any precious metals to mine; the natural ports on the Río de la Plata estuary could not be used because all shipments were meant to be made through the port of Callao near Lima, a condition that led to contraband becoming the normal means of commerce in cities such as Asunción, Buenos Aires, Montevideo. The Spanish raised the status of this region by establishing the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776; this viceroyalty consisted of today's Argentina and Paraguay, as well as much of present-day Bolivia. Buenos Aires, now holding the customs of the new political subdivision, became a flourishing port, as the revenues from the Potosí, the increasing maritime activity in terms of goods rather than precious metals, the production of cattle for the export of leather and other products, other political reasons, made it become one of the most important commercial centers of the region.
The viceroyalty was, short-lived due to lack of internal cohesion among its many regions and lack of Spanish support. Ships from Spain became scarce again after the Spanish defeat at the battle of Trafalgar, that gave the British maritime supremacy; the British tried to invade Buenos Aires and Montevideo in 1806 and 1807, but were defeated both times by Santiago de Liniers. Those victories, achieved without help from mainland Spain, boosted the confidence of the city; the beginning of the Peninsular War in Spain and the capture of the Spanish king Ferdinand VII created great concern all around the viceroyalty. It was thought; this idea led to multiple attempts to remove the local authorities at Chuquisaca, La Paz and Buenos Aires, all of which were short-lived. A new successful attempt, the May Revolution of 1810, took place when it was reported that all of Spain, with the exception of Cádiz and León, had been conquered; the May Revolution ousted the viceroy. Other forms of government, such as a constitutional monarchy or a Regency were considered.
Environment of Argentina
The Environment of Argentina is characterised by high biodiversity. Subtropical plants dominate the Gran Chaco in the north, with the Dalbergia genus of trees well represented by Brazilian rosewood and the quebracho tree. Savannah-like areas exist in the drier regions nearer the Andes. Aquatic plants thrive in the wetlands of Argentina. In central Argentina the humid pampas are a true tallgrass prairie ecosystem; the original pampa had no trees. The only tree-like plant native to the pampa is the evergreen Ombú; the surface soils of the pampa are a deep black color mollisols, known as humus. This makes the region one of the most agriculturally productive on Earth; the western pampas receive less rainfall, this dry pampa is a plain of short grasses or steppe. Most of Patagonia lies within the rain shadow of the Andes, so the flora, shrubby bushes and plants, is suited to dry conditions; the soil is rocky, making large-scale farming impossible except along river valleys. Coniferous forests in far western Patagonia and on the island of Tierra del Fuego, include alerce, ciprés de la cordillera, ciprés de las guaitecas, huililahuán, lleuque, mañío hembra and pehuén, while broadleaf trees include several species of Nothofagus such as coihue, lenga and ñire.
Other introduced trees present in forestry plantations include spruce and pine. Common plants are the colihue. In Cuyo, semiarid thorny bushes and other xerophile plants abound. Along the many rivers grasses and trees grow in significant numbers; the area presents optimal conditions for the large scale growth of grape vines. In northwest Argentina there are many species of cactus. No vegetation grows in the highest elevations because of the extreme altitude. Many species live in the subtropical north. Prominent animals include big cats like the puma. Other animals include the tapir, capybara, bush dog, various species of turtle and tortoise. There are a wide variety of birds, notably hummingbirds, flamingos and swallows; the central grasslands are populated by the giant anteater, pampas cat, maned wolf, mara and the rhea, a large flightless bird. Hawks, falcons and tinamous inhabit the region. There are pampas deer and pampas foxes; some of these species extend into Patagonia. The western mountains are home to animals including the llama and vicuña which are among the most recognizable species of South America.
In this region are the fox, Andean mountain cat and the largest flying bird in the New World, the Andean condor. Southern Argentina is home to the cougar, pudú, introduced, non-native wild boar; the coast of Patagonia is rich in animal life: elephant seals, fur seals, sea lions and species of penguin. The far south is populated by cormorants; the territorial waters of Argentina have abundant ocean life. Sea fish include sardines, Argentine hakes, dolphinfish and sharks. Rivers and streams in Argentina have many species of trout and the South American golden dorado fish. Well known snake species inhabiting Argentina include boa constrictors and a venomous pit viper named the yarará; the hornero was elected the national bird after a survey in 1928. The largest oil spill in fresh water was caused by a Shell Petroleum tanker in the Río de la Plata, off Magdalena, on January 15, 1999, polluting the environment, drinking water, local wildlife; the major environmental issues in Argentina are the loss of agricultural lands.
The soil is threatened by erosion and deforestation. Air pollution is a problem due to chemical agents from industrial sources; the water supply is threatened by uncontrolled dumping of pesticides and heavy metals. Argentina has a renewable water supply of 276 cubic km. In 2002, some 97% of all city dwellers and over 70% of rural dwellers had access to improved water sources. In 2000, about 12.7 % of the land area woodland. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, threatened species included 32 types of mammals, 55 species of birds, 5 types of reptiles, 30 species of amphibian, 12 species of fish, 42 species of plants. Endangered species in Argentina include the ruddy-headed goose, Argentinean pampas deer, South Andean huemul, puna rhea, tundra peregrine falcon, black-fronted piping guan, glaucous macaw, spectacled caiman, the broad-nosed caiman, Lear's macaw, the guayaquil great green macaw, the American crocodile. In 2003, about 6.6% of the total land area was protected.
Argentina has four natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Los Glaciares, Iguazu National Park, Peninsula Valdes, Ischigualasto/Talampaya National Parks. There are 14 sites designated as Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance; the principal environmental responsibilities are vested in the Ministry of Public Health and the Environment.
December 2001 riots in Argentina
The December 2001 crisis, sometimes known as the Argentinazo, was a period of civil unrest and rioting in Argentina, which took place during December 2001, with the most violent incidents taking place on 19 and 20 December in the capital, Buenos Aires and other large cities around the country. It was preceded by a popular revolt against the Argentine government, rallying behind the motto "All of them must go!", which caused the resignation of then-president Fernando de la Rúa, giving way to a period of political instability during which five government officials performed the duties of the Argentinian presidency. This period of instability occurred during the larger period of crisis known as the Argentine great depression, an economic and social crisis that lasted from 1998 until 2002; the December 2001 crisis was a direct response to the government's imposition of "Corral" policies at the behest of economic minister Domingo Cavallo, which restricted people's ability to withdraw cash from banks.
Rioting and protests became widespread on 19 December 2001 following the president's declaration of a state of emergency and his resignation on the following day. A state of extreme institutional instability continued for the next twelve days, during which the successor president Adolfo Rodríguez Saá resigned as well. While the degree of instability subsided, the events of December 2001 would become a blow against the legitimacy of the Argentine government that would persist for the following years; the majority of the participants in the protests were unaffiliated with any political party or organization. Over the course of the protests, 39 people were killed by security forces. Of the 39 killed, nine were minors, an indication of the degree of repression ordered by the government to oppose the protests. Fernando de la Rúa, as the candidate for the Alliance for Work and Education, had assumed the role of president in December of 1999 in the middle of a recession, caused in part by the Convertibility plan passed in 1991 which pegged the value of the Argentine peso to the United States dollar.
While political reforms under the previous president Carlos Menem had succeeded in reducing inflation, the downsides of his economic policies became more and more apparent starting in 1997. Maintaining the convertibility of pesos to dollars required the government of Argentina to obtain an abundant supply of American dollars. At first, this supply was maintained by the privatization of nearly all of the Argentinian state's industries and pension funds; as the privatization process was completed, Argentina's agriculture export-based economy was unable to maintain a sufficient flow of dollars to the state, the system began to require more and more sovereign debt. One of the key factors leading to the victory of the Alliance in the 1999 elections was its promise to uphold the convertibility plan. One of de la Rúa's campaign slogans declared "With me, one peso, one dollar". Despite a changing international economic situation, mounting demands for increased monetary sovereignty, the Alliance committed itself to maintain the status quo at all costs.
De la Rúa's political situation was precarious. His arrival to power in 1999 had been possible thanks to the Alliance for Work and Education, a coalition formed by the Radical Civic Union and the FrePaSo, which managed to defeat the incumbent Justicialist Party in that year's presidential elections. However, the Alliance failed to achieve a majority in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, lost the provincial elections to the Peronists, who remained in charge of large and critical districts such as the Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Santa Fe provinces; the government coalition was strained from the first moment. In late 2000 a political scandal broke out when it was reported that SIDE, Argentina's intelligence service, had paid massive bribes to a number of senators to approve a controversial Labor Reform Act; the head of SIDE, Fernando de Santibañes, was a personal friend of De la Rúa. The crisis came to a head on October 2000 when Vice President Carlos Álvarez resigned, citing De la Rúa's unwillingness to tackle corruption.
De la Rúa's economic policies suffered a severe blow in March 2001 when Economy Minister José Luis Machinea resigned from office. He was replaced by the then-Defense Minister Ricardo López Murphy, who himself was forced to resign following negative reception to his shock program. After only two weeks in office, López Murphy was replaced by Domingo Cavallo, who had served as Economy Minister between 1991 and 1996, and, the original author of the Convertibility plan during Menem's presidency; because of the worsening economic situation and mounting foreign debt, the government enacted two enormous campaigns of debt-expansion and refinancing under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund, named "The armoring" and "The Megaexchange" respectively. From the first moment, there were allegations of corruption and money laundering about the megacanje; the crisis caused the resignation of all the FrePaSo Cabin
National Reorganization Process
The National Reorganization Process was the name used by its leaders for the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. In Argentina it is known as última junta militar, última dictadura militar or última dictadura cívico-militar, because there have been several in the country's history; the Argentine military seized political power during the March 1976 coup, as part of the Operation Condor over the presidency of Isabel Perón, widow of former President Juan Domingo Perón. After losing the Falklands War to the United Kingdom in 1982, the military junta faced mounting public opposition and relinquished power in 1983. All of the Junta members are serving sentences for crimes against humanity and genocide; the military has always been influential in Argentine politics, Argentine history is laced with frequent and prolonged intervals of military rule. The popular Argentine leader, Juan Perón, three-time President of Argentina, was a colonel in the army who first came to political power in the aftermath of a 1943 military coup.
He advocated a new policy dubbed Justicialism, a nationalist policy which he claimed was a "Third Position," an alternative to both capitalism and communism. After being re-elected to the office of president by popular vote, Perón was deposed and exiled by the Revolución Libertadora in 1955. After a series of weak governments, a seven-year military government, Perón returned to Argentina in 1973, following 18 years exile in Francoist Spain, amidst escalating political unrest, divisions in the Peronist movement, frequent outbreaks of political violence, his return was marked by June 20, 1973 Ezeiza massacre, after which the right-wing Peronist movement became dominant. Peron was democratically elected President in 1973, but died in July 1974, his vice president and third wife, Isabel Martínez de Perón, succeeded him, but she proved to be a weak, ineffectual ruler. A number of revolutionary organizations – chief among them Montoneros, a group of far-left Peronists – escalated their wave of political violence against the campaign of harsh repressive and retaliatory measures enforced by the military and the police.
In addition, right-wing paramilitary groups entered the cycle of violence, such as the Triple A death squad, founded by José López Rega, Perón's Minister of Social Welfare and a member of the P2 masonic lodge. The situation escalated, she was replaced on March 24, 1976 by a military junta led by Lieutenant General Jorge Rafael Videla. Official investigations undertaken after the end of the Dirty War by the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons documented 8,961 desaparecidos and other human rights violations, noting that the correct number is bound to be higher. Many cases were never reported, when whole families were disappeared, the military destroyed many of its records months before the return of democracy. Among the "disappeared" were pregnant women, who were kept alive until giving birth under primitive circumstances in the secret prisons; the infants were illegally adopted by military or political families affiliated with the administration, the mothers were killed. Thousands of detainees were drugged, loaded into aircraft, stripped naked and thrown into the Rio de la Plata or the Atlantic Ocean to drown in what became known as "death flights."
The film The Official Story, which won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Film category in 1985, addresses this situation. The Argentine secret service SIDE cooperated with the DINA in Pinochet's Chile and other South American intelligence agencies. Eight South American nations supported endeavours to eradicate left-leaning terrorist groups on the continent, known as Operation Condor, it is estimated to have caused the deaths of more than 60.000 people. SIDE trained – for example in the Honduran Lepaterique base – the Nicaraguan Contras who were fighting the Sandinista government there; the regime shut down the legislature and restricted both freedom of the press and freedom of speech, adopting severe media censorship. The 1978 World Cup, which Argentina hosted and won, was used as a means of propaganda and to rally its people under a nationalist pretense. Corruption, a failing economy, growing public awareness of the harsh repressive measures taken by the regime, the military defeat in the Falklands War, eroded the public image of the regime.
The last de facto president, Reynaldo Bignone, was forced to call for elections by the lack of support within the Army and the growing pressure of public opinion. On October 30, 1983, elections were held, democracy was formally restored on December 10 with President Raúl Alfonsín being sworn into office. Videla appointed José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz as Minister of Economy, charged with stabilizing and privatizing state-owned companies, along what would be known as neoconservative lines; the Junta borrowed money abroad for social welfare spending. Martínez de Hoz was forced to rely on high interest rates and an over-valued exchange rate to control inflation, which hurt Argentine industry and exports. Before the military government took office, 9% of the population lived in poverty while the unemployment rate
Colonial Argentina is designated as the period of the History of Argentina when it was an overseas colony of the Spanish Empire. It begins in the precolumbian age of the indigenous peoples of Argentina, with the arrival of the first Spanish conqueror; when Spain and Portugal realized that the Americas were not the Indies but a new and unknown continent, they settled the portions with the Treaty of Tordesillas, dividing an eastern section of South America for Portugal and the rest for Spain. However, most of the geography of the Americas was still unknown, many navigators sought a passage to the East Indies rather than exploring the Americas; the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan continued towards the south, passed the Strait of Magellan and completed the first circumnavigation of the world. The first navigators of the Americas through unexplored territories, navigated into the wide Río de la Plata expecting to find a passage to the west and reach Asia, new navigations were fostered by the rumors of silver sources.
There were land expeditions coming from the north as well, from Lima. However, the lack of precious metals in the area, the absence of local empires like the Aztecs in Mexico or the Incas in Peru, did not allow a notable growth of the Spanish populations in the area; the first European to disembark in what is now Argentina was Juan Díaz de Solís, who discovered the Río de la Plata. Solís was killed by Charrúas, along with other sailors, his fleet returned to Spain; the sailor Francisco del Puerto, part of Solís' voyage, was spared by the Charruas because of his young age, stayed on the Americas for some years. Francisco del Puerto was rescued by the Venetian Sebastian Cabot, told him about myths of sources of silver in the area; this promoted further explorations in the area. There was no silver, nor any other precious metal, but those initial myths influenced the modern name of Argentina; the voyage of Cabot, expecting to conquer the lands of the inexistent "White King", established the fortification of Sancti Spiritu, next to the Paraná River.
The voyage was a complete failure: they did not get any metals, Sancti Spiritu was destroyed by the native people, the remaining Europeans returned to Europe. The Argentine area was within the Spanish colonial entities of: Governorate of New Andalusia Governorate of the Río de la Plata, under the supervision of the Real Audiencia of Lima in the Viceroyalty of Peru the first Royal Audiencia of Buenos Aires. Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, under the governing supervision of the second Royal Audiencia of Buenos Aires in the south, Real Audiencia of Charcas in the north, until the Independence of Argentina; the new ideas of the Age of Enlightenment and the events of the Peninsular War started the Argentine Wars of Independence, a theater of the greater Spanish American wars of independence. Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata topics Spanish colonization of the Americas Media related to Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata at Wikimedia Commons