History, Return and Death of Peron
military junta, martial law, army commander, Peron, terrorist activities
Peronistas swept the elections in March 1973, and Campora was inaugurated as president on May 25. Terrorism escalated, now joined by rightist vigilantes, with numerous kidnappings, soaring ransom demands, and killings. Divisions between moderate and leftist Peronistas also brought widespread violence. On June 20, when Peron returned to Buenos Aires, a riot resulted in approximately 380 casualties.
A month later Campora resigned, and in September Peron was elected president, with more than 61 percent of the votes. His third wife, Isabel de Peron, was elected vice president.
The strain, however, proved too much for the aging Peron. He died on July 1, 1974, and his wife succeeded him, becoming the first woman chief executive in the Western Hemisphere. During her presidency, political and economic conditions deteriorated rapidly. In 1975 terrorist activities by right- and left-wing groups resulted in the deaths of more than 700 people. The cost of living increased by 335 percent, and strikes and demonstrations for higher wages were frequent. After repeated cabinet crises and an abortive air force rebellion in December 1975, a military junta led by the army commander, Lieutenant General Jorge Rafael Videla, seized power on March 24, 1976. The junta dissolved the legislature, imposed martial law, and ruled by decree.
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