Raul Alfonsin, RIP
Raul Alfonsin (1927-2009)
The New York Times notes the passing of Raul Alfonsin:
Raúl Alfonsín, whose presidency in the 1980s symbolized the return of democracy in Argentina and other Latin American nations after an era of military dictatorships, died Tuesday at his home in Buenos Aires. He was 82....He will be remembered.
A passionate voice for human rights, Mr. Alfonsín governed from 1983 to 1989, a time of upheaval that included three failed military coups, hyperinflation and food riots. He won praise for prosecuting the military dictators who had preceded him in office.
His government’s inability to manage a sinking economy led him to step down several months before his term was to end, but he remained a respected and influential political figure. When he handed over power to Carlos Saúl Menem, it was the first time in 61 years that an elected Argentine president had been succeeded by an elected president from a different political party.
“My inspiration comes from an ethic, rather than an ideology,” Mr. Alfonsín once said in an interview, “an ethic that believes in the freedom of man.” He liked to call himself “the most humble Argentine,” and his rumpled suits and shabby trench coat became his trademarks.