Arturo Frondizi: Wikis


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Arturo Frondizi

In office
May 1, 1958 – March 28, 1962
Vice President Alejandro Gómez (1958)

None (1958-1962)

Preceded by Pedro Aramburu
Succeeded by José María Guido

Born October 28, 1908
Paso de los Libres, Corrientes
Died April 18, 1995 (aged 86)
Buenos Aires
Nationality Argentine
Political party UCR (1932 – 56)
UCRI (1956 – 63)
MID (1963 – 86)
Spouse(s) Elena Faggionato
Profession Lawyer

Arturo Frondizi Ercoli (October 28, 1908 – April 18, 1995) was the President of Argentina between May 1, 1958, and March 29, 1962, for the Intransigent Radical Civic Union.


Early life

The Frondizi family in Pinamar (1938)
Newly elected Congressmen Frondizi and Ricardo Balbín (1946), who named Frondizi his running mate in 1951, but soon parted ways

Frondizi was born in Paso de los Libres, Corrientes Province. Born to Isabel Ercoli and Giulio Frondizi, Italian Argentine immigrants from the Umbria Region,[1] Arturo had ten brothers, including Silvio, who became a lawyer and was assassinated in 1974 by the Triple A, and Risieri, who became a philosopher and rector of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). The family relocated to Concepción del Uruguay in 1912, and in 1923 to Buenos Aires, where Frondizi enrolled in the UBA, in 1926.[2]

Frondizi graduated from the UBA Law School with honors in 1930, and entered politics following the coup against President Hipólito Yrigoyen, the longtime leader of the centrist UCR, and the first Argentine President elected via universal (male) suffrage. Arrested in 1931, he emerged as an editor of a number of UCR-leaning journals, and formally joined the party the following year. He earned a juris doctor in 1932, and in July of that year, was among those who spoke in eulogy at Yrigoyen's funeral march. His first case as an attorney was representing 300 political prisoners detained in his native Paso de los Libres for their support of the banned UCR.[2]

In the interim, Frondizi married the former Elena Faggionato in 1933, and in 1935, built a summer cottage in the then-secluded seaside resort town of Pinamar, which after the birth of their daughter, Elena (their only child), in 1937, the Frondizis christened Elenita.[3] He led the Argentine League for the Rights of Man, the nation's first recorded human rights organization, upon its founding in 1936, and in December, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt while addressing a crowd.[2]

Drafting a progressive platform alternative for the UCR ahead of the February 1946 elections (the 1945 Declaration of Avellaneda), he was elected to the Argentine Chamber of Deputies in 1946. He founded the Intransigence and Renewal Movement (MIR) faction of the UCR and stood for Vice President on Ricardo Balbín's UCR ticket for the 1951 elections, which they lost overwhelmingly to incumbent, President Juan Perón. Parting ways with Balbin, he formed an "intransigent" wing of the UCR, the UCRI, which parted with the more conservative and anti-Peronist Ricardo Balbín in the UCR's 1956 convention.

Enjoying support from Peronist Party voters (whose party had been banned by outgoing President Pedro Aramburu) after Frondizi's closest collaborator, businessman Rogelio Frigerio, obtained the exiled Perón's endorsement, the UCRI won the February 1958 elections.[4]


Frondizi at his inaugural

Frondizi's term in office was marked by conservative and military interference over much domestic and international policy, leading to harsh 1959 austerity measures which caused civil unrest.

Better able to maneuver after the 1959 recession, his economic policies (known as desarrollismo — "developmentalism") had paid off by 1961, and he earned the support of much of the country's large middle class. He attempted to lift the electoral ban on Peronism, and met with Che Guevara and Fidel Castro in an attempt to mediate their dispute with the United States. This led the military to withdraw their grudging support.

Peronists, for their part, feared being associated with left-wing figures, and sided with the military in their opposition to the left. Military pressue on Frondizi did not relent, and he signed the Conintes Plan in 1960, which banned communism and suspended civil liberties, but which he eschewed implementing. Frondizi attempted to negotiate an entente between the U.S. and Cuba with a secret, August 1961 meeting at the Quinta de Olivos residence with Cuban envoy (and fellow Argentina) Che Guevara. The military, however, scuttled any future talks, and Frondizi adopted a neutral stance afterwards.

Elections in March 1962, ahead of which Frondizi lifted the ban on Peronists, resulted in significant victories for the latter, notably the election of Andrés Framini as Governor of Buenos Aires Province (the nation's largest). The news triggered a military mutiny, however, and though the President annulled the results, on March 28, he was deposed by a coup d'état.

The Developmentalist Economic Plan



Economist Rogelio Frigerio, his closest adviser, promoted record local and foreign investment in energy and industry, helping Argentina become nearly self-sufficient in both.

Frondizi sought to strengthen the economy by solving the main economic problems that had haunted Argentina over the last twenty years. Some of these main problems were the insufficiency in oil production (60% of the oil had to be imported and 80% of all the oil was used to generate electricity),[1] inadequate steel production, the lack of electricity and the insufficiency and obsolescence of transport (especially railways). Many of the economic problems that the country had when Frondizi came into office were inheritited from Perón's 1946-55 administration, particularly that of the budget deficits caused by the huge railroad subsidies during this period. These subsidies alone cost the treasury a million dollars a day and in fact, much of the US$1.7 billion in reserves Perón had inherited were used to purchase the various private railway companies from French and British interests. The panoply of nationalized companies were modernized and expanded, but were also left with bloated payrolls that had strained national budgets since.

Conservative Economy Minister Álvaro Alsogaray, who opposed developmentalism, was a necessary evil to placate meddlesome generals.

On taking office, Frondizi called on economist Rogelio Frigerio to institute a bold plan to make Argentina self-sufficient in motor vehicles and petroleum, as well as to quickly extend the country's semi-developed road and electric networks (that, in the 1950s, reached less than half the population, and fewer than 20% in the poorer north). Frondizi's economic vision was a radical departure from the nationalist one pursued early on by Perón, though as a young congressman he supported them (as evidenced by the Declaration of Avellaneda). Frigerio put Frondizi's vision into practice by sanctioning a key law: the Law of Foreign Investment. This law gave the same incentives, especially tax benefits, that local companies had to foreign corporations and created the Department and Commission of Foreign Investments, which was designed to give foreign investors more legal recourse.[2]

Frigerio's plans were ambitious, calling for greatly expanded public lending for homebuilders and local industry, as well as related public works, and he enjoyed broad support from Argentina's large middle class. Foreign direct investment, though concentrated in the oil and auto sectors, extended into appliance manufacturing, and other industries, and of the sum total invested in Argentina between 1912 and 1975, 23% took place in Frondizi's four years.[5]

One major obstacle was the military, whose upper echelons were larded with men from Argentina's old agricultural elites (many of whom were ultraconservative and had well-documented racist, anti-Semitic attitudes and fascist ties). The generals, therefore, objected to Frigerio and imposed one of their own on the president—defense contractor Álvaro Alsogaray.[6]

Ignored by Frondizi as long as possible, Alsogaray finally forced his austerity "shock treatment" on the president in December, 1958. Sharply devaluing the currency, curtailing Frigerio's lending programs and shredding subsidies and other social programs, the perennially TV conscious Alsogaray apperared before viewers and armed with pie charts, he infamouly declared that Argentines "must go through winter."[4]

A local Kaiser Motors ad in 1962. Auto production rose almost fivefold in the Frondizi years

The measures forced consumer prices to double in less than year (the country had been used to 20-30%), and hammered real wages and business investment, both of which fell by about 20%. The 1959 recession, however, allowed Frondizi to marginalize Alsogaray in favor of Rogelio Frigerio, and the former eventually resigned. Frigerio revived the suffering loan, public works and social programs and benefitting from his earlier measures, automakers (most of whom were subsidiaries of U.S. and European firms and in partnership with Argentine investors) primed production from 30,000 units in 1958 (60% of the market) to 137,000 by 1961, making Argentina a self-sufficient auto market. These investments also benefited the agrarian sector by raising tractor output from 10,000 to 25,000, and contributing to a marked rise in exports after 1961.[7] Subsidiaries of European and U.S. automakers were joined by local startups, notably Siam di Tella, which benefited from increased public credit availability.[8]

Steel production was prioritized, and fostered with the establishment of a State enterprise, SOMISA, in July 1960, and with the completion of a steel mill in San Nicolás de los Arroyos. Steel production tripled to 700,000 tons (40% of the local market), and the production of pig iron, from 30,000 to 400,000 tons.[7] The segment of GDP most tied to industrial growth, capital goods investment, was the only one to grow substantially during Frondizi's tenure: while the economy grew by a modest 8% from 1958 to 1961 (Frondizi's last full year in office), that portion nearly doubled in real value.[9]


The development of Argentina's sizable petroleum reserves had played a key role in Argentine politics since the formation of the state oil concern YPF in 1922 and, as well as becoming critical to industrialization, it soon became a tool to foster nationalism among voters.

When Frondizi came into office in 1958 the oil production had not grown significantly since the sometimes abusive Standard Oil was forced out in the 1930s and as Argentina became more motorized, oil imports were soon the country leading drain of foreign exchange. A contentious issue by the 1940s, the UCR (Radical Civic Union) favoured a state monopoly, which they felt was the only way to maintain control on the oil reserves. In the Declaration of Avellaneda (later the common platform shared by Balbin's UCRP—his wing of the UCR—and Frondizi's UCRI) the state's need to invest in oil exploration and to make Argentina self sufficient in the short term became policy.

As the Declaration of Avellaneda mentioned these ends but not the means, this statement was later used by Frondizi to justify the use of foreign investment. The issue became among the most debated political controversies, and reportedly resulted in the resignation of the Vice President, Alejandro Gómez, in late 1958.[10]

During Frondizi's administration, in summary, foreign investment was most encouraged into the sectors creating most of the trade deficits chronic to the Argentine economy between 1949 and 1962; indeed, 90% of all foreign investment during his term went into oil exploration, oil refineries, the auto industry, steel and household durables. Ten of the 25 greatest projects went into the exploration of new oil fields, and record public investment in the petrochemical sector led to a fivefold increase in synthetic rubber production; by 1962, production of crude tripled to 16 million cubic meters, which achieved self-sufficiency, freed hundreds of millions of dollars in import costs yearly, and helped lead to thirteen years of nearly uninterrupted growth, particularly in industry.[7]


Infrastructure had been the object of growing public investment since 1920; but, where Argentina's educational and health network had grown into the most extensive ones in Latin America, the road network and public transport had changed little since 1940s; although it managed to breathe new life into important highway projects, the Frondizi administration accomplished less than it had set out to.

Many of the projects mentioned required an enormous amount to finance, money which the administration did not have. To be able to finish these "monumental" projects, Frondizi's plan called on a combination of foreign and state investment. Frondizi prioritized electricity and directed then-record resources into hydroelectric dams. The two main hydroelectric dams in discussion were El Chocón, near the border with Chile, and Salto Grande, on the border with Uruguay. The "feasibility studies" for both these projects was already done in Yrigoyen's first presidency (1916–22) but they were never put into practice.

These projects would help meet the increasing demand for electricity, decreasing reliance on oil powered generators. Frequent power outages in the Buenos Aires metro area were eased by the establishment of Segba, and work began on initiating regional power grid integration with Chile and Uruguay. Although none of these projects was entirely finished during Frondizi's presidency, both of them were eventually finished because his administration not only started with the construction itself, but also laid the necessary diplomatic framework with Argentina's neighbors.

Public transport, however, did not improve, as the administration prioritized growth in the auto industry. Rail transport in Argentina had been operated by the state-owned Ferrocarriles Argentinos since 1947, and despite subsequent investment in standardizing the myriad rail gauges, for instance, service continued to gradually deteriorate. During Frondizi's administration no new subway or train stations were built or improved. Moreover, he implemented a World Bank project endorsed by Alsogaray, and entailing the lifting of a third of the nation's 47,000 km (29,000 mi) of track, the disposal of 70,000 wagons, and the dismissal of as many workers (triggering a six-week strike in the critical sector in 1961).[11]

Highrises in Mar del Plata dating from the Frondizi era, when modern architecture came into vogue locally

He promoted growth in the nation's air travel sector, however, having 10 new regional airports built during his brief presidency, and further encouraged growth in the auto industry by paving 10,000 km (6,300 mi) of intercity roadways.[8]


During Frondizi's administration the country experienced an important economic transition. The policy of Developmentalism brought with it foreign investment in underdeveloped industries like petrochemicals, the auto industry and steel and helped usher in over a decade of relative prosperity. Although some important projects were started there was, however, no unified policy towards infrastructure, which did not dramatically improve.

Frondizi's economic vision can be summarized as progressive, since it defeated long-held fears of economic development among many in Argentina. Although some aspects of the economy, especially heavy industry, were improved, Frondizi's administration failed to improve other important aspects such as public transport and agriculture.

Some of the problems that the administration was unable to solve dated from Perón's presidency, as discussed. Due to the enormous opposition to the privatisation of state-owned companies, some key sectors in which foreign investment could have arguably made a great difference—telecommunications, in particular—continued to grow very slowly. Perón's influence on public opinion, particularly on that of working class Argentines, was partially responsible for this problem. The broad agenda he pursued while overshadowed by conservative and military threats, and during his brief tenure, can be summarized with what President Raúl Alfonsín said about his own presidency twenty five years later: "We wanted, we had the resources, but we only accomplished part of our plan."

Social and political policy


The Frondizis in 1960

During the developmentalist years, Frondizi focused social policy on the relationship between the state and trade unions, the largest of which (the CGT) had been in government receivership since 1956. The "backbone of the Peronist movement", as Perón referred to it, Frondizi's rappraochment with the CGT was designed to distance the powerful union, then South America's largest, from Peronism. Trade union leaders, however, remained extremely loyal to Perón, due as much to gratitude for past policies, as for the expectation of the power they could wield if Perón's return took place.[12]

Following Perón's fall in 1955, this loyalty continued intact. Perón, in exile and initially stapped for funds, still wielded control over his movement and over the trade unions. The new peronism that emerged, "resistance Peronism," was based on strikes and violent manifestations by the trade unions against the state, and the main objective was to destabilize any government that was not Peronist. Following a relatively calm 1958, Perón's agreement with Frondizi soured when the latter opened oil exploration contracts to foreign bidders, and particularly during Alsogaray's "winter" of 1959. The constant resistance of organised labor provoked increasing friction with the military, which threatened the president with a coup no less than 26 times (not including 6 attempts by renegade generals).[2]

Although in theory, Frondizi's administration wanted to avoid state intervention, and encourage a progressive social policy, it failed to democratize trade unions, most of whose leadership and systems were inherited from Perón's system.

Education was another controversial policy aspect. Frondizi's administration not only changed the curriculum; but also opened education to the private sector, including parochial schools. His policies also discouraged youth organizations, many of which were a Peronist legacy, or represented far-left, or far-right, agendas. Other reforms backed by Frondizi until the 1958 campaign, such as the legalization of divorce (briefly accomplished by Perón, in 1954-55), were sidestepped in the interest of placating conservatives.

The government and its relationship with labor

Textile workers' leader Andrés Framini, whose talks with Frondizi resulted in the lifting of federal control over the CGT

After the fall of the Peronist regime in 1955 its vital structure, the CGT, a union of all trade unions, came under receivership from the military government, displacing its leadership. This clearly anti-Peronist policy would eventually lead to massive strikes and other types of resistance from the rank-and-file. At the time, Frondizi's position was against military control and in favour of a united trade union (Frondizi was the only non-Peronist politician who favoured this option), and this made the trade unions sympathetic to him, initially.

When Frondizi took office, he fulfilled his promise of maintaining a united CGT. Three groups of trade unions operated under the CGT umbrella at the time, and the idea was fiercely opposed by the 32s and 19s, since one centralized trade union would mean, in practice, that the workers movement would be controlled by the Peronists. The government faced two options, one was an election in which the proportional representation system was used; the other option was an electoral system which hand control of the trade unions to the majority (Peronist). Frondizi reversed Aramburu's attempts to de-Peronize labor, promptly returning six unions to their Peronist leadership, and appointing one of their own, Alfredo Allende, as Labor Minister.[13]

To satisfy Peronist demands and avoid short term conflict, Frondizi issued new wage guidelines calling for a 60% raise in collective bargaining contracts, and control of the CGT was given to the majority faction. Nevertheless, during 1958 the 62s supported the government and tried to reduce any working conflict. On the other hand the 19s and the 32s opposed the government by encouraging strikes and other workers' demonstrations. In the context of Economy Minister Alsogaray's "shock treatment" and ensuing inflation, the contracts that had been frozen by law in 1958 meant that the real salaries, which already had been sliding since Perón's fall in 1955, fell even further.[12]

During 1959 the situation dramatically changed. The government issued Law 9270/56 of Professional Association which defined the relationship between state, employers and trade unions. This law among other things, allowed the state to intervene in the trade unions when it considered it necessary, by the use of force. The new law alarmed the Peronists, since it undermined their control over the trade unions, and also represented a threat to the so called "democratic" trade unions (non Peronist), since this law also stated that the CGT would be governed by its majority factions. The faction gaining control of the CGT during 1960 was the 20s, whose leader, textile union leader Andrés Framini, was least willing to accept any form of government receivership over the CGT's governing board. Following a series of meetings with Frondizi and the president's political point man, Internal Affairs Minister Alfredo Vítolo, Framini obtained the lifting of federal receivership over the CGT in March 1961.[14]

Educational Reforms

Opponents of the proposed Educational Reform Law (a bill sponsored by religious institutions) protest in front of Congress (1958)

Following the university reform of 1918, Argentine education, especially at university level, became more independent of the government, as well as the influential Catholic Church. The church began to re-emerge in country's secular educational system during Perón's rule, when catechism was reintroduced in public schools, and parochial institutions began receiving subsidies. A sudden reversal in the policy in 1954 helped lead to Perón's violent overthrow, however, after which his earlier, pro-clerical policies were reinstated by Aramburu.[15]

Frondizi initially opposed Aramburu's Law 6403 of 1955, which advanced private education generally, and parochial, or more often, Catholic-run schools (those staffed with lay techers), in particular. Confident the new policy would be upheld, church supporters founded the Argentine Catholic University. The UCRI campaigned against the policy, though when Frondizi took office, he shifted in favor of further, pro-clerical reforms, which he then referred to as "free education." Opposed by many in his own party, and especially by the President of the University of Buenos Aires (his brother, Risieri), Frondizi was open about his motivation for the policy change, declaring that "I need the support of the church." [15]

The Educational Freedom Law, signed in early 1959, also freed private universities from limits imposed by the 1885 Avellaneda Law, which forbad them from issuing official degrees directly, but only through a public university. The law led to controversy because most of the new universities and private schools, which would become eligible for state subsidies, were religious. Supporters applauded Frondizi’s vision of private universities that could co-exist with public ones, and it was seen as a progressive measure. Those in favour of a strictly secular educational system believed the law to be a concession given to the church in exchange for support, however, and became disillusioned with the pragmatic Frondizi.[15]

Frondizi, however, advanced other educational reforms to dovetail with his economic policy. His administration incorporated the National Workers' University network of campuses (technical schools inaugurated by Perón in 1948) into the national university aegis, by which he established the UTN system in 1959, and opened numerous new campuses. The UTN became the leading alma mater for Argentine engineers in subsequent decades.[2]


The social aspect of Frondizi's government was influenced more by pressure groups than by its own initiative. Although some of the measures taken can be understood as part of a progressive movement, most of them are in fact conservative, since their intent was to maintain the status quo established by the previous military government.

His administration enacted numerous progressive measures despite ongoing military threats of coup, including the lifting of government receivership over the CGT to its trade union leadership in 1961, and the opening of education to the private sector. He also enacted more conservative measures, such as financing religious education, intervening the trade unions when needed, and imprisonment of trade union leaders, which continued after Frondizi took office. The Conintes Plan in 1960, which was just shy of martial law, was lightly implemented, however, despite military enthusiasm for the policy. It banned the Communist Party of Argentina and other parties and groups on the far left, ahead of the March 1960 mid-term elections, and became a pretext for surveillance and arrests during the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion crisis, when communist elements and radical leftists within his own coalition began demanding action in support of Cuba.[13]

Most of the measures in the second category were responses to pressure from anti-Peronist elements in the society, especially from the armed forces. Others, such as aiding religious education, were a response to the need for support from conservative groups, such as the Church, which still had a great influence on the majority of the society. Summarizing the social policies carried out by Frondizi's administration it could be said that overall it was not a progressive one; but, rather one careful to abide by conservative interests.

Foreign policy

Frondizi and Dwight D. Eisenhower in Bariloche (1959)

Frondizi cultivated good relations with the Unites States without straining those with Brazil or the Non-Aligned Movement. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower visited Argentina in March 1959, the first such visit since 1936, and the resulting Bariloche Declaration promoted the mutual protection of natural parks. Returning the courtesy in January 1961, he became the first Argentine president to visit the United States, as well as the first to visit India and Japan.[4]

He formalized Argentina's support for LAFTA, the first Latin American free trade association, and for the Alliance for Progress, the landmark Western Hemisphere policy of the new U.S. President, John F. Kennedy. Helping remove obstacles to cooperation, he resolved minor but long-standing border disputes with Brazil.[2]

John F. Kennedy visits Frondizi in Buenos Aires (1961)

Though commercial concerns continued to dominate foreign policy, Frondizi initiated negotiations between President Kennedy and Cuban representative Ernesto Che Guevara during an Inter-American Economic and Social Council summit in Montevideo, in August 1961. The secret meeting took place in the Quinta de Olivos presidential residence, where Frondizi urged Guevara to act as an intermediary and pave the way for talks between Cuban Premier Fidel Castro and President Kennedy. Following the August 18 meeting, Frondizi's emissaries made contact with Kennedy adviser Richard Goodwin, though the effort was sabotaged by the Argentine Intelligence Agency, which learned of the meeting with Guevara.[16]

Ultimately, Cuba was expelled from the Organization of American States in January 1962. The effort, though fruitless, showed audacity on the part of Frondizi, whom President Kennedy called "a really tough man." [16] The sizable Cuban exile community in Argentina reacted vigorously to the news, and organized a furtive mis-information campaign utilizing forged documents by which they believed the Argentine military could become convinced that a Cuban-sponsored communist takeover was in the planning. Calligraphers at Frondizi's service easily uncovered the hoax, however.[2]


President Frondizi calls it a day at the Casa Rosada, on March 27, 1962; he was overthrown on March 29.

Displeasure in the military and among conservatives for Frondizi's Cuban initiative, as well as for his lifting the ban on Peronism ahead of the March 1962 mid-term elections made a coup d'état increasingly likely. Running on the Popular Union ticket, Peronists nominated Framini for governor of the Province of Buenos Aires (home to 38% of Argentines). Distanced from Frondizi since the 1959 recession, Perón added a further point of contention by having himself named Framini's running mate, a symbolic spot on the ticket which, unable to return, he could never fill, but which would prove a powerful endorsement to Framini.[13][17]

Framini and Perón's other proxies won 10 of 14 governorships at stake, and Frondizi was forced to annul Framini's victory. He stopped short of annulling other Peronist victories, however, and in the face of a near-certain coup, he defiantly announced that he would not "resign, commit suicide, or leave the country." [18]

He was overthrown on March 29, after being surrounded in the presidential offices at the Casa Rosada by a decision of Army Chief of Staff General Raúl Poggi. Frondizi was spirited to Martín García Island, a tiny exclave on the Río de la Plata, and subsequently to the Andes resort town of Bariloche, where he would spend the next year. His appointed successor, Senate President José María Guido, initially refused the dubious honor, citing loyalty to the president. He accepted, however, after a request he do so by Frondizi, himself.[13]

The coup itself led to more rivalries within the military than it had calmed, and following a power struggle between Poggi and the hard-line Commander of the Cavalry Corps, General Enrique Rauch, the relatively moderate ("blue" faction) prevailed with the appointment of General Juan Carlos Onganía as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Onganía only narrowly avoided a takeover by the far-right, "red" faction of the military in the difficult subsequent months.[13]

Later life

Following Frondizi's release from detention in July 1963, and Frigerio's return from exile, they founded the Integration and Development Movement (MID) on a developmentalist platform. Unable to field candidates in the 1963 elections due to military and conservative opposition, the MID and Perón agreed on a "National Popular Front." The alliance was again scuttled by military pressure, and the MID endorsed a "blank vote" option. Those among Frondizi's former allies who objected to this move backed the progressive former Buenos Aires Province Governor, Oscar Alende, an erstwhile Frondizi ally who ran on the UCRI ticket (its last) and finished second.[19]

Following the pragmatic Arturo Illia's election, the MID was allowed to participate in the 1965 legislative elections, sending 16 members to the Argentine Chamber of Deputies.[20] Policy differences over Frondizi-era oil contracts, which Illia rescinded, led the MID to actively oppose him, however, and he initially welcomed the 1966 coup against Illia. Frigerio became a significant shareholder in Argentina's largest newsdaily, Clarín, following a 1971 deal made with the newsdaily's owner, Ernestina Herrera de Noble, whose late husband (Clarín founder Roberto Noble), had supported Frondizi.[21]

Perón's return from exile imminent, Frondizi opted to endorse the aging leader's ticket for the 1973 elections, and following seven years of military rule, the reopened Argentine Congress included 12 MID Deputies.[20] The return of peronism to power exacerbated political tensions in Argnetina, however, and among the hundreds of victims of the growing wave of violence was his own brother, Law Professor Silvio Frondizi, who served as chief counsel to the Trotskyite ERP, and who lost his life in a 1974 attack by the fascist Triple A.[22] Given little say by the new Peronist government, which, instead saw its policy shift from populism to erratic crisis management measures, Frondizi initially supported the 1976 coup against Perón's successor (his hapless widow, Isabel Perón). He dropped his early support for the regime in response to their ultra-conservative Economy Minister, José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz, leading to death threats against numerous MID figures.[23][24]

Frondizi (left), former President Isabel Perón and President Raúl Alfonsín following a May 1984 agreement in favor of interparty cooperation.

Allowing elections in 1983, the dictatorship left an insolvent Argentina, its business and consumer confidence almost shattered and its international prestige damaged following the 1982 Falklands War, an invasion Frondizi opposed. Suffering from the early stages of Parkinson's Disease, Frondizi named his friend, Frigerio, the MID nominee for President. Refusing to condemn the regime's human rights atrocities, something which deprived their longshot candidacy of needed support, the MID fared poorly on election night, garnering 4th place (1.5%) and electing no congressmen.[20][23]

Elected by an ample margin, UCR leader Raúl Alfonsín left Frondizi out of the economic policy discussions he held before taking office, and Frigerio succeeded the ailing Frondizi as President of the MID in 1986, though the latter remained influential in the party. The MID maintained a considerable following in a number of the less developed Argentine provinces, where voters had fond memories of the Frondizi administration's development projects, and helped elect allies within the Justicialist Party (Peronists), in Formosa and Misiones Provinces, as well as Mayoral candidate Néstor Kirchner in Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz Province; Kirchner went on become governor and, in 2003, President of Argentina. Frondizi supported Peronist candidate Carlos Menem in the May 1989 elections, though his support soured when Menem turned to neo-liberal and free trade policies.

Frondizi lost his daughter in 1976, and his wife in 1990.[1] Living in seclusion in his Beruti Street apartment (in Buenos Aires' northside), Frondizi occasionally received political figures seeking advice, as was the case for former Formula One driver Carlos Reutemann, who as a supporter of his, sought his opinion on a 1991 bid for governor of Santa Fe Province (to which Reutemann was elected).[25]

Frondizi died on April 18, 1995, at age 86.

See also


  1. ^  The economic plan was known as Developmentalism. Basically, it consisted in achieving industrialization through foreign investment. This idea came originally from Raul Prebisch from the CEPAL (Economic Commission for Latin America) and was modified by Rogelio Frigerio, the right hand of Frondizi.
  2. ^  The government created both departments under the orbit of the “Secretary of socio-economic relations” (controlled by Frigerio) on the 21 of July 1958
  3. ^ 320 million of a total of 1310 million of the imports went into oil: Celia Szusterman, Frondizi: La política del desconcierto, emecé, Buenos Aires, 1998


  • Belenky, Silvia. Frondizi y su tiempo. Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de Latinoamerica, 1984.
  • Díaz, Fanor. Conversaciones con Rogelio Frigerio. Buenos Aires: Editorial Hachette, 1977.
  • Frigerio, Rogelio. Los cuatro años (1958–1962). Buenos Aires: Editorial Concordia, 1962.
  • Frigerio, Rogelio. Diez años de la crisis argentina. Buenos Aires: Editorial Planeta, 1983.
  • Frondizi, Arturo. Qué es el Movimiento de Integración y Desarollo. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana, 1983.
  1. ^ a b Associazione Eugubini nel Mondo (Italian)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g El Historiador: Pigna, Felipe. Arturo Frondizi. (Spanish)
  3. ^ Verano Pinamar: Elenita (Spanish)
  4. ^ a b c Todo Argentina: Frondizi (Spanish)
  5. ^ Monografías: Golpes militares y salidas democráticas (Spanish)
  6. ^ Rock, David. Authoritarian Argentina. University of California Press, 1995.
  7. ^ a b c Cámara de Diputados de la Nación: Homenage a Arturo Frondizi (Spanish)
  8. ^ a b Cornide, Osvaldo. A 50 años de la asunción de Arturo Frondizi. (Spanish)
  9. ^ Statistical Abstract of Latin America. UCLA Press, 1990.
  10. ^ Clarín: Falleció Alejandro Gómez (Spanish)
  11. ^ Izquierda Socialista: Revolución Ferroviaria (Spanish)
  12. ^ a b Page, Joseph. Perón: A Biography. Random House, 1983.
  13. ^ a b c d e Potash, Robert. The Army and Poitics in Argentina. Stanford University Press, 1996.
  14. ^ Godio, Julio. Historia del movimiento obrero argentino (1870-2000). Corregidor, 2000.
  15. ^ a b c Esti Rein, Mónica. Politics and education in Argentina, 1946-1962. M.E. Sharpe, 1998.
  16. ^ a b San Francisco Chronicle (4/20/1995): Arturo Frondizi
  17. ^ Todo Argentina: 1962 (Spanish)
  18. ^ ONI: El argentino dice... (Spanish)
  19. ^ Todo Argentina: José María Guido (Spanish)
  20. ^ a b c Nohlen, Dieter. Elections in the Americas. Oxford University Press, 2005.
  21. ^ Clarín
  22. ^ Ensayistas: Silvio Frondizi ante la condición humana (Spanish)
  23. ^ a b Frigerio, Rogelio. Diez años de la crisis argentina. Buenos Aires: Editorial Planeta, 1983.
  24. ^ Antonio Salonia
  25. ^ La Nación: Reutemann, como nunca habló (Spanish)
Preceded by
Pedro E. Aramburu
President of Argentina
Succeeded by
José María Guido


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