Ex-Argentine President Menem Dies Aged 90
Buenos Aires, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 15th Feb, 2021 ) :Argentina's former president Carlos Menem, who marked his country with a neoliberal approach to the economy, died in a Buenos Aires clinic on Sunday at the age of 90.
Menem had been in poor health and was hospitalised several times in recent months for pneumonia.
After that, the doors were opened to admit the hundreds of mourners lined up outside.
Menem identified as a follower of Peronism, the leftist movement based on the legacy of former president Juan Peron that today covers a broad spectrum of political leanings in Argentina.
He pursued an aggressive privatization policy that many saw to be in direct contrast to his stated political ideology.
- 'Argentine miracle' - His name is synonymous with the "Argentine miracle", a period when his decision to fix the exchange rate of the peso to the US Dollar brought economic stability and an end to hyperinflation.
But this approach is widely considered to have led to the economic crisis of 2001, when debt stood at $100 billion, the country defaulted on repayment, the Currency's value plunged and unemployment skyrocketed.
By the end of Menem's second term, the public deficit stood at $6 billion, unemployment was at 14 percent and poverty affected a third of the population. But things were to get worse.
Menem cultivated a playboy image, drove a Ferrari, played golf and was a friend of the jet-set.
He was widely criticised for extending a presidential amnesty to leaders of the military dictatorship of 1976-1983.
In 2001 Menem was ordered held in pre-trial home detention for a case involving arms smuggling to Croatia and Ecuador, but he was freed weeks later under a Supreme Court ruling and ultimately let off.
Menem had three children from two marriages, the first with Zulema Yoma and the second with former Chilean Miss Universe Cecilia Bolocco.
He fathered a fourth child, Carlos Nair, with a lover.