Flamboyant former Argentine President Carlos Menem Expires

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Carlos Menem, a former Argentine president that delivered short-lived financial equilibrium and forged close ties with the United States in the 1990s even as he navigated scandal and appreciated a frequently flamboyant way of life, has expired.

Argentine President Alberto Fernández affirmed the departure of this 90-year-old former leader, who was ailing lately.

The dapper lawyer from one of Argentina’s poorest provinces, dismissed by critics as a playboy, steered Argentina toward a free-market version that has been, at one stage, envied by neighbors and preferred by shareholders. Menem’s accomplishments, but collaborated with rising unemployment, economic inequality and overseas debt.

Menem was also supremely adaptive as a politician, starting his career as a self-styled disciple of Gen. Juan Domingo Peron, who set the populist movement which bears his title and put the market mainly under state management. Menem, who served two terms as president between 1989 and 1999, transformed the nation — but in the contrary direction.

“I really don’t know whether I’m likely to get the nation from its economic issues, but I am sure going to make a {} nation,” Menem formerly said. He relished the company of actors, hosting the Rolling Stones and Madonna at Buenos Aires, also memorably shrugged off criticism after having a red Ferrari as a present from an Italian businessman in 1990.

“It’s mineand mine,” Menem, a car racing enthusiast, stated in front of tv cameras. “Why would I contribute it?”

Afterwards, he reluctantly consented to auction off the automobile for $135,000, with all the profits going to state coffers.

The son of Syrian immigrants whose family owned a winery, Menem was a folksy, three-time governor of northwestern La Rioja Province, noted for shoulder-length baldness and muttonchop sideburns when he came into global prominence.

He also won the Peronist Party nomination and jumped to victory in 1989 presidential elections, capitalizing on social and economic chaos in Argentina. The nation had been mired in 5,000% yearly inflation and the bad were sacking supermarkets to acquire food.

Under Menem, the economy registered strong growth, inflation dropped to single digits as well as the peso, the federal currency, enjoyed unprecedented equilibrium as it had been pegged to the U.S. buck. The long hair and sideburns were gone along with the flashy clothing substituted by sterile, hand-made suits.

The center of Menem’s restoration program, masterminded by lively Harvard-educated Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo, was the withdrawal of this state from the market.

Menem eliminated controls on costs and rates of interest. He offered the state-owned telephone firm, airlines, race tracks, steel mills as well as the petroleum giant YPF, then South America’s biggest business. He cut the nation payroll and encouraged foreign investment. He curbed once-powerful labour unions who formed the backbone of the Peronist movement and were angered by country citizenship cuts that eliminated jobs.

In international affairs, Menem withdrew Argentina in the Non-Aligned Movement, a Cold War-era arrangement that had espoused freedom from the USA and — less — that the Soviet Union, also forged strong ties with Washington.

Argentine troops engaged in the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq and combined U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti and the former Yugoslavia.

Argentina accused Iran of participation; Iran denied it. Menem was afterwards tried for the alleged cover-up of the accountable for the assault on the Jewish centre, but had been found not guilty in a trial in 2019.

As presidentMenem prevailed in disputes with the {} , whose 1976 coup had contributed into the extrajudicial killings and disappearances of thousands of individuals. He trimmed armed forces abolished the exceptionally unpopular military conscription system.

He dismayed human rights groups by granting a pardon to former army junta members serving sentences of up to life in prison for offenses on the disappearance of dissidents throughout the 1976-1983 dictatorship. The pardon has been extended to former guerrillas in what Menem described as a method of national reconciliation.

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