Built Business Tough

Carlos Menem, Argentine President Who Ushered in ‘Pizza and Champagne’ Era, Dies at 90

Carlos Menem, who led Argentina as president through the 1990s and carried out a free of charge-sector liberalization plan to stabilize a country chronically plagued by political and financial crises, died Sunday in a Buenos Aires medical center following problems from a urinary infection and heart challenges, Argentine media described, citing his family members. He was ninety several years aged.

President Alberto Fernández decreed a few days of mourning.

Usually found surrounded by types and posing with his purple Ferrari, Mr. Menem projected a flamboyant, bon vivant persona that reflected the prosperity he sought in the course of his decadelong rule beginning in 1989. His tenure was marked by the adoption of the Washington Consensus, a bundle of financial actions promoted by the U.S. and multilateral loan providers that provided cutbacks in social expending, privatizations of condition-run organizations and pensions, and pegging the value of the national peso to that of the U.S. greenback.

For a time, those actions tamed the hyperinflation and foods riots that had weighed on Mr. Menem’s predecessor, permitting Argentines to obtain credit history, splurge on outings to Miami and import German cars. But the actions also laid the groundwork for a critical debt disaster that plunged the South American nation into turmoil and opened the doorway to a collection of leftist populist leaders.

The phrase “pizza and Champagne” was applied to describe the new Argentine modern society and the nouveau riche that sprouted in the course of Mr. Menem’s time in business office, reported veteran journalist and television presenter Jorge Lanata. In cultural conditions, Mr. Menem’s rule “coincides with the peak of cocaine in Argentina, straightforward dollars and superficial results,” Mr. Lanata reported, “which we are still having to pay for.”