Carlos Menem

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Anillaco, La Rioja
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Anillaco, La Rioja

Carlos Sal Menem is a politician from Argentina. Between 1989 until 1999, he was President of Argentina for a decade. He took attempts to rebuild the economy and combat inflation and economic recession while in office. While pursuing his legal education, he intended to become a Peronist. Soon after, he joined the Justicialist Party and began his political career. In 1973, he was elected governor of his home province, which he governed for six years. During this time, he received a lot of public support and popularity. He was subsequently elected President of Argentina in 1989. During his presidency, he made various moves that went against his party’s orthodoxy, such as endorsing the Washington Consensus and enacting the Convertibility Plan. He also strove to preserve friendly connections with other countries. He served as President of Argentina until 1999, when his second term expired, as stipulated by the law.

Table of Contents

Childhood and Adolescence

Carlos Menem was born in Anillaco, Argentina, on July 2, 1930, to Syrian immigrants Saul Menem and Mohibe Akil.
He finished his primary education in Argentina’s La Rioja. He went on to study law at the University of Cordoba, graduating in 1955.

He had the opportunity to meet President Juan Perón while attending university. His views inspired him, and he became a Peronist.

Following President Juan Perón’s defeat in 1955, he took part in a revolution aimed at restoring Perón to power. As a result, he spent some time behind bars.

Carlos Menem’s Career

He began working as a trade union lawyer after receiving his law degree. During this time, he joined The Justicialist Party, the Peronist movement’s successor.

He was elected governor of La Rioja province in 1973 but was removed from office by a military council during the 1976 Argentine coup d’état. He was charged with corruption and maintaining guerilla ties. In 1978, he was arrested and freed with a warning to stay away from his hometown. Until 1981, he was held under house arrest.

He reclaimed the governorship of La Rioja in 1983, following the end of military control. He attempted to extend his government by providing tax breaks to corporations and encouraging industrial growth. His followers grew in number, and he was elected again in 1987.

He was elected President of Argentina in 1989, at one of the country’s most challenging periods. High inflation and a severe economic downturn affected the country.

As President, he made judgments that ran counter to conventional Peronist ideas, opting to embrace the Washington Consensus, resulting in lower state spending and more opportunities for free trade. He also pushed for the privatization of state-owned businesses such as the telephone and airline industries. These actions helped to stabilize the economy to some extent.

The value of the Argentinean Peso was boosted to a one-to-one exchange rate for a US Dollar under the allowed ‘Convertibility plan.’ The existing Austral currency was replaced by the new Argentine Peso. This was done to prevent hyperinflation, but the technique failed after the first few years.

Water, electricity, and gas, as well as other state enterprises, have shown to be beneficial. However, in the following years, a huge number of workers employed at these businesses were laid off, resulting in a 10% increase in unemployment. Strikes and public indignation were avoided because the workers were given large sums of money.

Other choices made during his first tenure as President include the acquittal of human rights abuses between 1976 and 1983 and the signing of the ‘Olivos accord’ in 1993.

The ‘Olivos accord,’ negotiated between him and the leader of the opposition party, gave him the power to amend the 1853 constitution, allowing a President to serve for two consecutive terms with a shorter tenure of four years. These activities drew widespread condemnation.

He was re-elected President in 1995, and throughout his second term, he worked to improve international relations. His visit to the United Kingdom in 1998 was much publicized because it was the first visit of an Argentine president to the United Kingdom since 1982.

During this time, the Peronist party was beset by internal strife and allegations of corruption. He was succeeded by Fernando de la Ra after his four-year term came to an end.

He was placed under house arrest in 2001 after being charged with arms trafficking. He was eventually released five months later. Fernando de la Ra was compelled to resign the next year due to the social, political, and economic uncertainties in Argentina. Soon after, Carlos Menem returned to politics and attempted to reclaim his position as President.

He ran against candidates from the Justicialist Party and other parties following internal issues within the party that resulted in a split. However, he abandoned his candidacy in the interim, and Néstor Kirchner, a Justicialist, was elected President.

He was elected to the Federal Senate as a representative for the province of La Rioja in 2005. He ran for Governor of the Province two years later but was unsuccessful.

He was investigated in 2008 for his role in the armaments scandal surrounding the 1995 Ro Tercero explosion. In 2013, he was convicted and sentenced to seven years in jail. His position as senator, however, provided him with immunity from prosecution.

In December 2015, he was also found guilty of fraud and sentenced to four and a half years in jail and a large fine. His current senatorial term ends in 2017.

Personal History and Legacy

Carlos Menem was born into a Muslim family, but in order to pursue his political goals, he converted to Argentina Roman Catholicism.

In 1966, he married Zulema Fátima Yoma, and the pair had two children: Carlos Sal Facundo Menem Yoma, a boy, and Zulema Mara Eva Menem, a daughter. In 1991, the couple divorced after 25 years of marriage. In 1995, his son died in a helicopter accident.

He had an extramarital affair with Martha Meza, a lawmaker from the province of Formosa, with whom he had a son, Carlos Nair Menem, who was born in 1981.

He married actress and former Miss Universe Cecilia Boloco on May 26, 2001. Máximo Sal Menem Bolocco was the couple’s son. However, they split in 2011 after quickly divorcing.

Carlos Menem was the first Peronist President to take office after Argentina’s military dictatorship ended in 1983.

Estimated Net worth

Carlos is one of the wealthiest World Leaders and one of the most loved. Carlos Menem’s net worth is estimated to be $3 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.