Argentina. In the long-awaited presidential election, which was postponed five months because of the economic and political crisis of recent years, the peronist Néstor Kirchner, governor of Santa Cruz province, won. For the first time, the Peronist Party had abandoned its primary elections, which enabled several candidates to stand. One of the candidates, former President Carlos Menem, surprisingly won the first round of elections on April 27 by 24% against Kirchner’s 22%.
However, most analysts felt that opposition to Menem’s return to the presidential office would result in massive support for Kirchner, the party’s center candidate, and before the second round of May 18, Menem announced that he would not run.
During the election campaign, Kirchner promised to dismiss all remaining officers from the era of the military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s. Just three days after assuming office, 44 senior officers and 10 of 12 senior federal police chiefs were replaced.
According to Countryaah.com, Argentina Independence Day is July 9. The Supreme Court, which lost in integrity since President Menem in the late 1980s greatly increased the number of members and appointed their own favorites, also became the subject of Kirchner’s actions. In June, Supreme Court President Julio Nazareno chose to resign before the risk of a judicial process. Several other court members were also the subject of congressional investigations.
The choice of Kirchner led to a course change in the area of human rights. On July 24, a federal judge issued an international arrest warrant for 45 soldiers who participated in the so-called dirty war during the junta era of the 1970s. The order was issued in response to a request by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, who made a similar request to the British government to extradite Augusto Pinochet in 1998. However, the request was withdrawn after Argentina’s Congress in August repealed the amnesty laws introduced in the 1980s and thus opened the way for legal proceedings in Argentina.
On September 16, Alfredo Astiz, known as Dagmar Hagelin’s “executioner” and also charged with the death of two French nuns, was arrested following a court decision based on a request by France for extradition.
In April 2010, an Argentine court sentenced General Reynaldo Bignone to torture, murder and several kidnappings during the dictatorship in the latter half of the 1970’s. Bignone was the most prominent officer to date sitting on the prosecution bench and convicted of the dictatorship. Several other officers have their cases underway in the justice system. Thirty years after the dictatorship, Argentina is now on its way with the long awaited settlement.
In July, Parliament legalized same-sex marriage. By then, the deeply conservative Catholic church had waged an intensive campaign against the law.
On October 27, 2010, Néstor Kirchner died after undergoing 2 heart surgeries. He got a state funeral from Casa Rosada.
In the October 2011 election, Kirchner was re-elected with 54.1% of the vote. Her party, Frente para la Victoria, also went 28 seats to 115 in parliament. The solid political backing was used to implement tax increases, curb wage increases and reorganize the state sector of the economy.
Kirchner was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December 2011, but the diagnosis turned out to be wrong a month later. In August 2013, she underwent a brain surgery and in October she was ordered for a month’s rehabilitation after brain haemorrhage.
Following the October elections, an ever-growing contradiction between the Kirchner administration on the one hand and the CGT trade union and its chairman Hugo Moyano, on the other, developed. Moyano up to the election demanded that several CGT members be put on Frente para la Victoria’s electoral lists, but that was rejected by Kirchner. In 2012, Moyano again responded with demonstrations and strikes against Kirchner. This triggered a split of the CGT, which inaugurated a new chairman of the national organization, while Moyano continued as chairman of a breakaway faction.
In December 2012, former Interior Minister (1976-79) sentenced Jaime Smart and 22 officers to life imprisonment for their share in abductions, tortures and murders of professional and left wing activists in the latter half of the 70’s. To get rid of the tortured activists, the dictators’ air force flew them across the Atlantic, where they were thrown out from high altitude – alive alive.
Argentina had for several years supported Palestine in its demand for independence and at the same time accused Iran of supporting the Amia attack in 1994. In early 2013, Argentina was given an agreement that accused Iranians should be questioned in Iran about their involvement in the terrorist campaign.
In March, Jesuits Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected new pope in the Vatican. Despite the deeply conservative Argentine Catholic Church, which had supported this during the military dictatorship in the 1970’s, the new pope soon proved far more progressive than the previous ones in office.
Extensive floods around Buenos Aires in April cost 70 Argentinians their lives.
In May 2013, former military dictator Jorge Rafael Videla died in prison, serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity. He had been sentenced and jailed in July 2012.
In September 2013, Argentina entered into an alliance with Brazil for protection against US Internet espionage. A few months earlier, Edward Snowden’s leak of documents from the superpower’s espionage organization NSA had revealed that the United States was conducting extensive espionage against Latin American leaders. The United States’ direct control over the Latin American states with military dictatorships up to the 1980’s was since replaced by extensive electronic-based espionage.
2013 was marked by several corruption scandals and regulatory problems for the government. The government passed a legislative package that would make it difficult to bring cases against the state, allow an elected assembly to appoint judges and take legal action against criminal judges, and finally create another judicial body to relieve the Supreme Court. The package became known in June in violation of the Constitution of the Supreme Court. This year’s turmoil led Kirchner’s Frente para la Victoria to defeat in the October midterm elections. However, the defeat was no greater than the party retaining the majority in both chambers of parliament.