The history of Argentina, with its twenty three states, an autonomous federal region and a national region, is one of coups just like other Latin American countries without a settled sense of democratic culture. Although the country seems to be ruled democratically, civilian administrations have never worked soundly.
In this country ruled with a presidential system, no civilian administration has remained in power for more than six years since 1930. Juntas have never behaved properly during civilian administrations either. In this federative union of states founded in 1819, only two presidents out of 46 ever handed over office to their successor without a military coup.
DICTATORSHIP AND COUPS IN ARGENTINA
With the war fought to put an end to being a colony of Spain, Argentina declared its independency as the " United States of South America" in 1816. Fights broke out among the states over being the "center" of this union. Intense disputes went on between those unionists that sided with the centralists - who wanted to unite around the state of Buenos Aires - and those supporting regional institutions.
Rosas, who seized power in 1829, put his signature on a bloody dictatorship that lasted until 1852.
After that local elites and big land owners held authority over the country until 1915. About 6.2 million immigrants came to Argentina from the 19th Century until the mid- 20th Century. That increased the deep economic gap between the land owners, local elites and common people.
At the end of the first shock from the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929 , a coup took place in 1930
and the country was ruled by a junta for two years. After this epoch, many soldiers have ruled the country not with a mandate of the people but with the blessing of the army. Justo (1932-1938), Ortiz (1938-1942) and Castillo (1942-1943) are examples of those periods.
Castillo was overthrown by the "Colonels' Revolution" in 1943
. The country was ruled by juntas for another three years. In 1946, Colonel Juan Peron was elected president by mobilizing his supporters in the outskirts. When Peron first came to power, he made many successful moves regarding economy. Peron turned the media into a government body and used labor unions for his politics by radicalizing them. By making changes in the constitution he presided over a totalitarian regime. Later on, he drew closer to the USSR with an attitude against the US. In economics especially in exports, a major collapse took place. Especially after World War II, extensive immigration and unemployment increased income inequalities.
With a new coup, 1955 was the year Peron was overthrown. Soldiers remained in power for three years and a civilian president who was elected later on was forced to resign by another military junta in 1962. Moreover between the years 1962-63,
a period of tumult caused by competition between military committees took place.
In 1966, when the Peronists won the elections once more, the army took action and staged another coup. This time soldiers remained in power for seven years. After a so-called civilian period that lasted three years, Peron came to power for the last time in 1973. When he died after a year, his wife Isabel Peron was elected in his place and was overthrown in the 1976 coup.
The country was ruled by another military junta between 1976-1983. During this military dictatorship,a period known as the "Dirty War", eleven thousand people died or disappeared according to official reports. Human rights groups claim that the real number is actually about 30,000 . In the Campo de Mayo military prison alone, 3,950 people died under torture. It was claimed that leftist youngsters who struggled against the coup were thrown into the sea from an airplane. This very dirty and dark period ended with Argentina's defeat in the Falklands War against England in 1982 and the country went to free elections.
What came for Argentina after 1983 was a period in which coup crimes and other political accusations have been submitted to the courts.
BRIBERY, MONEY LAUNDRY AND MURDER ACCUSSATIONS SMEARING POLITICS
Authoritarian administrations producing unjust, oppressive and loveless policies became an organized crime-like structure in the country. This environment gave way to organized structures that formed a state within a state in Argentina. Accusations such as corruption and bribery became common accusations directed at politicians.
Prosecutions against former president Carlos Menem regarding illegal arm sales collusive tendering and money laundering were brought forth. Between 1991 and 1995, Menem was tried on charges of sending Argentina's weapons to Croatia and Ecuador for whom UN had applied an embargo. He was arrested in 2001 and kept under house arrest. In 2013, he was sentenced to prison for seven years on charges of arms smuggling.
In 2001, Adolfo Saa who took power following De la Rua (who resigned after an economic crisis and looting incidents) was the object of grave public protests. The tension in the country increased because Saa assigned the people mentioned in the corruption files to senior posts and thousands of people occupied the government building. Saa's senior advisor Carlos Grosso,
and later on the whole cabinet, had to resign.
Vice President Amado Boudou
was tried on charges of bribery and bid rigging on 2014.
The bombing that took place in 1994 in Argentina in which 85 people were killed and 200 people were injured in the AMIA Jewish culture center became very important for the country. That is because Alberto Nisman, the public prosecutor hearing the case, was found dead in his house after opening an investigation into the current President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Nisman officially accused Kirchner of making a secret agreement with Iran about the terror attack in 1994. Patricia Bullrich, one of the deputies of the opposition party, declared that the prosecutor was receiving threats and that he'd asked for protection from the Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor. A prosecutor being killed just before he was about to make a declaration to the assembly is only one of the many events manifesting the enormous scale of the political scandals in Argentina.
THE STATE OF ARGENTINE WENT BANKRUPT AGAIN
Argentina is a country shaken with high inflation, high unemployment rates, declining export income, increasing foreign debts and the social tensions brought upon by those. Income disparity in Argentina is very high. The country has even surpassed Brazil in income disparity.
Declarations by international institutions demonstrate that countries with 0-0.3 Gini coefficient are regarded as fair in terms of income distribution, countries with 0.3-0.5 Gini coefficient are regarded as suffering a moderate level of injustice and those with values over 0.5 are regarded as having huge inequities. The Gini ratio of Argentina is 0.59. If we bear in mind that South Africa and Namibia are the two countries having the highest level of injustice in income distribution with a 0.65 and 0.71 Gini ratio respectively, Argentina's situation would be better understood.
In the last 33 years the state has gone bankrupt three times.
Argentina again went bankrupt after constantly having to use credit to overcome financial troubles and failing to pay the creditors on time. Credit rating agencies have reduced Argentina's credit rating to "selective default." It seems that it will be very difficult for the state authorities to come to an arrangement with creditors asking for 300 percent interest. The country had declared a moratarium in 2001 with a massive crisis and declared that they will not be able to pay their foreign debts amounting to some $ 100 billion. After this bankruptcy, many funds bought Argentina government bonds.
MAFIA AND KIDNAPPING
As a result of economic crisis, political scandals, coups, military rule, lack of a settled democratic culture and materialistic education, an intense lack of love prevails in the country. The country's general social structure also prepares a groundwork for crimes to become widespread in the society.
After the latest crisis, the country has turned into a place in which drag cartels are running wild. Warnings issued by Pope Francis, who is an Argentinian himself, addressing an NGO named La Alameda, reveals the gravity of the situation. The Church of Argentina has also issued warnings to the government regarding the drag traffic that has increased in recent years. It is reported that Colombian drug cartels are forming enclosed districts and managing the crime organizations from these locations in the country.
Argentina is also frequently talked about with kidnappings of football players for ransom. Various groups who want to gain leadership in football tribunes cause terror incidents in the country as well. Football players are among the richest classes of the country. The increase in the number of such occurrence of kidnapping members of the families of football players in the city of Buenos Aires with 13 million population, caused great tension in the country. In 2003, Dario Husain playing in River Plate was abducted and later rescued with an operation. Father of Astrada from the same team was also kidnapped for payoff.
Last year the father of the famous football player Carlos Tevez was kidnapped the same way and he was released after the payment of a sizeable ransom. Many Argentinian football players chose to go abroad because of these incidents.
ARGENTINE SHOULD EMBRACE THE CULTURE OF DEMOCRACY
A presidential system was chosen in Argentina to unite federal states with more than 20 different native populations and European immigrants. However, just as the case in other Latin American countries in which the culture of democracy is not fully settled, the dark periods will never come to an end in Argentina. With their self- interested and authoritarian approaches rather than embracing a culture of reconciliation and justice, the politicians in power increase the unrest in society even further. The only thing that will take Argentina out of this dark environment is to urgently embrace politics that will unite the society in close ranks with love.
Adnan Oktar's piece on News Rescue: