The standard of education in Argentina is good according to Latin American conditions. To this has been contributed the tradition of “Teaching President” Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (President of Argentina 1868-74). When Perón took office in 1946, the quality of teaching declined, mainly because of political freedom. However, more citizens than before came to enjoy education by building new schools. Tax exemption was also introduced for many of them. Less than 3% of the population is illiterate, which is a lower proportion than most other Latin American countries.
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The education is divided into preschool, compulsory school, high school, university, other higher education and alternative education. The preschool covers children from 3 to 6 years and is not compulsory. There are both state-free and private fee-paying schools. The compulsory school covers all children in the country from 6 to 13 years of age and is compulsory, free and confessional. The right to education derives from the 1853 Constitution; its fifth article stipulated that each province should be guaranteed free primary education.
The non-compulsory secondary school has a three-year lower stage followed by a two-year higher. Higher education is available at some eighty universities, state and private; the most sought after programs are medicine and technology. In addition, “other higher education”, such as the training of nurses and primary school teachers. Since 1958, all levels of education exist within both the state and the private school system. All teaching is controlled by the State Department of Education. The University of Córdoba is the oldest, founded in 1613. Other well-known universities are those in Buenos Aires, La Plata, Santa Fe and San Miguel de Tucumán.
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1995 Menem’s 2nd term
1995 began with the threat that the Mexican crisis could spread to the Argentine economy. Finance Minister Domingo Cavallo therefore implemented state budget reductions and implemented financial emergency measures. The political climate in March was clouded by the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Menem’s son. He died when the helicopter he was flying crashed en route north to the city of Rosario. Menem’s former wife and mother of the perished, Zuleima Yoma, confirmed that the murder was a matter of fact, despite federal police characterized it as an accident. In the subsequent presidential election on May 14, Menem was re-elected with 50% of the vote, while the ex-Peronist and Frepaso candidate, José Bordón, gained 29% and the radical Horacio Massaccesi 17%. In August, Economist Cavallo accused the director of the postal service,
In mid-1996, the number of unemployed exceeded 2 million and the number of underemployed 1½ million according to official statistics. Unemployment reached a national average of 17.1% and in some provinces was over 20%. Foreign debt had grown by 57% compared to 1991 when the government’s anti-inflation program was launched. In the first months of 96, Menem replaced Finance Minister Cavallo. The new minister, Roque Fernández, with a doctorate from Chicago, declared that he would continue his predecessor’s policy of resolving the government deficit, unemployment and crisis.
The murder of photographer José Luis Cabezas from a government-critical magazine in late January 1997 created some tension. The Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, Eduardo Duhalde, pledged a large bounty of information about him or his murderers, and managed to involve North American FBI detectives in the investigation. The investigation led to a hypothesis that Cabezas had been subject to reprisals for his investigations into Yabran’s activities.
In April and May, the teachers’ unions conducted a series of important protests in Buenos Aires and four provinces in the interior of the country. At one of these protest demonstrations in the province of Neuquén, police fatally wounded a woman. In July, ex-minister Cavallo was sentenced to a suspended sentence of 4 months for libel, which did not, however, prevent him from continuing his political duties. The charge had been brought by lawyer Jorge Kolon – a former official in the National Customs Administration. Cavallo had stated in a TV program that Colon was “an obstacle to the fight against corruption in the customs system”. Cavallo stood accused in 20 similar cases, arguing that the judges had been deployed by Menem and Attorney General Carlos Corach, whom Cavallo characterized as “other of his personal enemies”.
The election to the Chamber of Deputies in October was won by Alianza Electoral, consisting of UCR and Frepaso. They got 46% of the votes against the 36% of the Peronists. It was the first time in 51 years the Peronists lost an election while sitting in government, but they retained control of the Senate that was not up for election.
In early 1998, the political climate was further clouded when frigate Captain Alfredo Astiz publicly made statements about illegal activities during the military dictatorship of 1976-83. Since 1977, Aztiz has been wanted by the French judiciary for the murder of 2 French nuns, and by Interpol for refusing to explain to the Spanish courts about the disappearance of Spanish nationals during the dictatorship. He had thus become a symbol of the suppression of the military dictatorship. Following his statements, Aztiz was removed from his post by President Menem and sentenced by a military tribunal to 60 days of civilian remand. This created divisions within the opposition alliance Alianza Electoral, since Aztiz was subject to the amnesty laws that had been adopted during the radical term of Raúl Alfonsín.
In March, Swiss State Prosecutor Carla del Ponte revealed that he ifbm. his investigations into the funds that some Argentine military people had stolen from the “disappeared” in the 70’s that both Aztiz and other former officers who had participated in the repression during the military dictatorship had Swiss bank accounts. A month later, a new federal Argentine police investigation found that Carlos Menem’s (Jr.) death could be due to an assault. The gendarmerie confirmed the existence of fragments of a rough-caliber weapon among the remains of the helicopter, as well as the remains of lead and antimony used in projectiles.
The October 1999 presidential election was won by the opposition’s Alianza Electoral. Its candidate, the radical Fernando de la Rúa, was close to getting 50% of the vote in the first round. In second place was the peronist Eduardo Duhalde and in third place with approx. 10% former Finance Minister Domingo Cavallo. In contrast, control of the capital was won by a slim majority by former Vice President and Peronist Carlos Ruckauf.