Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín, Argentine lawyer and Politician, Died at 82

Dead, Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín on the 31st of March 2009 at the age of 82, he was an Argentine lawyer, politician and statesman, who served as the President of Argentina from December 10, 1983, to July 8, 1989.

He was elected as deputy for the legislature of the Buenos Aires province in 1958, during the presidency of Arturo Frondizi, and national deputy during the presidency of Arturo Umberto Illia.

He opposed both sides of the Dirty war, and filled several Habeas corpus, requesting the freedom of victims of forced disappearances, during the National Reorganization Process.

He denounced the crimes of the military dictatorship at other countries, and opposed the actions of both sides of the Falklands War as well.

He became the leader of the UCR after Balbín’s death, and the Radical candidate for the presidency of the 1983 elections, that he won.

Born on the 12th of March 1927, in the city of Chascomús, in eastern Buenos Aires Province.

His parents were Serafín Raúl Alfonsín Ochoa and Ana María Foulkes.

His father was of Galician and German descent and his mother was of Irish descent.

Following his elementary schooling he enrolled at the General San Martín Military Lyceum, where he graduated after five years as a second lieutenant. He did not continue the military career, and began legal education instead.

He began his studies at the National University of La Plata, and completed them at the University of Buenos Aires, graduating at the age of 23.

He married María Lorenza Barreneche in 1949.

Alfonsín was elected as deputy for the legislature of the Buenos Aires province in 1958, on the UCRP ticket, and was reelected in 1962.

He moved to La Plata, capital of the province, during his tenure.

President Frondizi was ousted by a military coup on 29 March 1962, which also closed the provincial legislature.

Alfonsín returned to Chascomús. The UCRP prevailed over the UCRI the following year, leading to the presidency of Arturo Umberto Illia.

Alfonsín was elected national deputy, and then vicepresident of the UCRP bloc in the congress.

In 1992 he established the Argentine Foundation for the Freedom of Information.

He also served as a member of the South American Peace Commission and as a vice president of Socialist International, a worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist, and labour parties.

In 2001 Alfonsín was elected senator for Buenos Aires province, but he resigned after one year to focus on rebuilding the UCR, which had lost considerable strength after the government of Fernando de la Rúa fell in 2001.

Alfonsín died on 31 March 2009, at the age of 82, after being diagnosed a year before with lung cancer.

He was at his house at the moment, and the vicinity of his house at the Santa Fe avenue was filled by hundreds of people, who started a Candlelight vigil.

The radical Julio Cobos, vicepresident of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, was the acting president at the moment and ordered three days of national mourning.

There was a ceremony in the Congress, where his body was displayed at the Blue Hall.