Alfonsín, Raúl (rä-ōlˈ älfônsēnˈ) [key] (Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín Foulkes), 1927–2009, president of Argentina (1983–89). A long-time political activist, a member of the Radical party, and a provincial and national legislator, he opposed Juan Perón and several military governments. Following the bloody military rule of 1976–83, in which an estimated 10,000 people were killed or "disappeared," and the Falkland Islands war (1982), which discredited the junta, Alfonsín was elected president. His government prosecuted and imprisoned many of the previous military rulers and their collaborators, converting Alfonsín into an international symbol of human rights. He had less success in stemming Argentina's hyperinflation, and his failure in economic policy paved the way for the victory of the Peronist candidate, Carlos Saúl Menem, in the presidential elections of 1989. Alfonsín remained influential in Argentinian politics in subsequent years, and briefly served as a senator (2001–2).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.