History, Military Rule and the Falklands War
Raul Alfonsin, LAFTA, Videla, military takeover, fiscal reforms
For the first few months after the military takeover, terrorism remained rampant, but it waned somewhat after the Videla government launched its own terror campaign against political opponents. In 1977 the Argentine Commission for Human Rights, in Geneva, blamed the regime for 2,300 political murders, some 10,000 political arrests, and 20,000 to 30,000 disappearances.
The economy remained chaotic. Videla was succeeded as president in March 1981 by General Roberto Viola, himself deposed in December 1981 by the commander in chief of the army, General Leopoldo Galtieri. Galtieriís government rallied the country behind it in April 1982 by forcibly occupying the British-held Falkland Islands (called Islas Malvinas by the Argentines). After a brief war Britain recaptured the islands in June, and the discredited Galtieri was replaced by Major General Reynaldo Bignone.
The Latin American Integration Association (LAIA), founded in 1980, replaced LAFTA as a more loosely defined entity for reducing tariffs on intracontinental trade. Between 1986 and 1990, Argentina signed a number of integration treaties designed to further reduce trade barriers between Latin American countries.
With an unprecedented international debt, and inflation at more than 900 percent, Argentina held its first presidential election in a decade in October 1983. The winner was the candidate of the Radical Civic Union Party, Raul Alfonsin. Under Alfonsin, the armed forces were reorganized; former military and political leaders were charged with human rights abuses; the foreign debt was restructured; fiscal reforms (including a new currency) were introduced; and a treaty to resolve a dispute with Chile over three Beagle Channel islands was approved.
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