Argentina. During the year, the 1999 presidential election came up on the agenda, among other things. because supporters of President Carlos Menem acted for a constitutional change that would allow him to be re-elected a second time. The opposition was compact and some spoke of a “constitutional coup”. Also within Menem’s own peronist party Partido Justicialista, PJ (Justice Party) protests occurred, mainly from the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Eduardo Duhalde, who is expected to stand as the party’s main candidate. Menem himself declared willing to be re-elected if the constitution allowed and if the people wanted, but in light of the fact that 80% of the voters were against it, in July he withdrew his plans. Duhalde’s main competitor is expected to be Fernando de la Rúa from Unión Cívica Radical, UCR (the Radical Party).
Another presidential candidate, Graciela Fernández Meijide for Frepaso, represents a growing dissatisfaction with the handling of Argentina’s past and a questioning of impunity for the soldiers who waged a “dirty war” against the left during the military dictatorship 1976-82. She is one of the so-called “crazy mothers” whose children disappeared during that time. President Menem’s proposal to demolish the navy’s notorious technical school ESMA (used as a torture center during the dictatorship) to give way to a national monument was met by protests. Some congressmen, with a broad popular support behind them, have wanted to tear down the amnesty laws of the 1980s, and prosecutors are also trying to circumvent the laws by investigating crimes that are not covered by them. Among other things, one of the junta men, Admiral Emílio Massera, has been charged with kidnapping.
According to Countryaah, the capital of Argentina is Buenos Aires. Both the Meneman hangers’ desire to change the Constitution, their domination by the Supreme Court and a long series of mysterious deaths with links to Menem’s circle have led to great distrust of the political summit and the legal system in general. Among other things, arms smuggling to Croatia and Ecuador has been revealed, and in the background there are major business interests among Argentinians of Syrian and Lebanese descent, of which the President himself is one.
Gerardo Morales won the governor’s election in Jujuy in 2015. In January 2016, he put his counterpart Milagro Sala in jail, accused of fraud. The arrest was criticized by both the UN and the OAS, but the central government refused to release the prisoner.
The Conservative government’s policy was a disaster. Promised economic growth did not materialize and unemployment remained high. The government then sought to remove the government subsidies for energy and water. The consequence was that the price of gas in June 2016 increased 300% and the price of electricity increased 500%. The dramatic price hikes coincided with the coldest winter in 60 years, triggering extensive demonstrations. Several courts knew the subsidy removal law was invalid because the required negotiation procedure had not been followed. In September, the Supreme Court reintroduced half of the subsidies the government had removed to private households.
With the publication of the Panama Papers in March 2016 on financial laundering and missing tax payments from secret accounts in Panama, it was revealed that President Macri himself had been involved in financial crime as he had not disclosed to the authorities his secret accounts abroad.
The lawsuits against officers involved in crimes against humanity during the dictatorship continued through 2016. In May, landmark judgments were made in the Plan Condor case. Plan Condor was an intelligence collaboration with the dictatorships of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay in the 1970’s. It ensured that dissidents were persecuted and killed across national borders. Argentina’s last dictator, Reynaldo Bignone, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and another 14 officers were also sentenced to prison. In August, orders were handed down in La Perla case of secret torture centers in the province of Córdoba. 28 accused received life imprisonment, 9 others received 2-14 years in prison, while 6 were acquitted.
In an effort to increase energy production, in January 2017, the government initiated a project to utilize shale gas in Patagonia.
A Buenos Aires court sentenced pilots Mario Daniel Arrú and Alejandro Domingo D’Agostino to life imprisonment in November. 40 years earlier, from their Skyvan PA-51 aircraft, they had dropped 12 people in the Atlantic from high altitude. One of the military dictatorship’s favorite killing methods. One of the 12 murdered was Esther Careaga, who was a close friend of Jesuit priest Jorge Bergoglio – the late Pope Francis. The pilots were 2 of the defendants in a major lawsuit involving a total of 54 defendants who had been involved in the murders of 789 people at the Naval Mechanical School – ESMA – in Buenos Aires. A total of 5,000 are believed to have been murdered at this torture center in 1975-83.