Former Argentinian president Juan Perón is one of the best-known Latin American leaders in history.
His political career began in 1943 when, as an army colonel, he took part in a successful military coup. A year later he became minister of labour and vice-president.
His policies, which were generally seen as pro-worker, made him extremely popular with poorer Argentinians. He became president in 1946.
Over the next nine years, Perón’s government expanded public services, including social security and health insurance. His labour laws boosted wages. However, attempts to reduce imports, through subsidies and tariffs, backfired, hitting growth and leading to high inflation.
Over time his government became increasingly authoritarian, using media censorship and even outright violence against his opponents on both the right and left.
Eventually, after Perón’s supporters went on a rampage in response to a failed assassination attempt, the military intervened in September 1955.
Perón was forced to spend the next 18 years in exile. With growing fears of a civil war, he was allowed to take part in free elections in 1973, paving the way for him to return to office. However, he would die of a heart attack a year later.
Perón remains an iconic figure in Argentinian politics. Even today, Argentinian politicians claim him as their inspiration.
However, many economic historians claim that his protectionist policies played a key part in transforming Argentina from one of the richest countries in the world into an economic basket case.