DiTella, Guido (1931–2001)

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DiTella, Guido (1931–2001)

Guido DiTella, an Argentine politician and economist, was his country's minister of foreign affairs from 1991 to 1999. A son of the industrial magnate Torcuato DiTella (1892–1947), Guido graduated with an engineering degree from the National University of Buenos Aires and continued his studies in the United States at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his university days he was an anti-Peronist activist, but after the 1955 coup d'état he became more closely allied to the movement headed by Juan Domingo Perón. With the Peronists back in power in 1973, DiTella was appointed director of the National Arts Foundation (Fondo Nacional de las Artes). During María Estela Martínez de Perón's brief term in office (1974–1976), he was deputy minister of the economy under Minister Antonio Cafiero. The military coup of 1976 led to death threats against DiTella, and he left for England.

DiTella returned to Argentina following the collapse of the de facto government in 1982. As a member of the so-called "Peronist renewal movement," he was elected a national deputy for the Justicialista Party, and in 1989 the newly elected president Carlos Saúl Menem named him ambassador to the United States. In February 1991 he was appointed minister of foreign affairs. DiTella's foreign policy, closely linked to economic policies of liberalization and open markets, was characterized by a strategic identification with the United States and the western powers that distanced it from the traditional nationalism of the Peronist movement. Argentina supported the United States in strategic areas, by participating in the 1991 Gulf War (even before DiTella joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and openly supporting the White House in the Middle East. Argentina declared that it would refrain from using nuclear energy for military purposes, and deactivated the Condor II missile. Its "special relationship" with the United States enabled Argentina to attain the status of major non-NATO ally in 1998. During the prolonged conflict with Great Britain over the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), DiTella put into practice an innovative policy of rapprochement with the islanders (inappropriately called a "policy of seduction") that sparked controversy at the Argentine local level.

See alsoArgentina: The Twentieth Century; Argentina, Political Parties: Justicialist Party; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Menem, Carlos Saúl; Perón, Juan Domingo; Perón, María Estela Martínez de.


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                                       Vicente Palermo