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Biography


José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz was born on August 13, 1925 in the City of Buenos Aires and died in Buenos Aires aged 87, on March 15, 2013.

Both his paternal and maternal ancestors had many generations in Argentina committed to public matters. His grandfather, Ramón Cárcano, served twice as governor of the Province of Córdoba, was Argentine ambassador to Brazil, president of the Argentine Mail Service and author of several books.

His uncles, Miguel Angel Cárcano and Carlos Alberto Acevedo, held ministerial offices in several governments. His father, José Alfredo, acted as director of Corporación Argentina de Productores de Carne (CAP) and later, president of Sociedad Rural Argentina. His mother, Carola Cárcano, also had the chance to meet, from her early age and within her family circle, the leading political personalities of her time.

José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz studied in Argentine public institutions: primary school at Escuela Benjamín Zorrilla, secondary school at Colegio Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, and he graduated from Universidad de Buenos Aires Law School as a lawyer in 1950, summa cum laude (best grades and gold medal). He became Doctor in Sciences in Law from the same University and his thesis obtained outstanding grades.

Later, he obtained a Master in Comparative Law from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. For some time he practiced as a lawyer and legal consultant.



Distinctions Awarded

  • Gold Medal awarded to the best graduate of his class at the Law School of the University of Buenos Aires (Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires) (1949)
  • Alberto Tedín Uriburu Prize awarded to the graduate that obtained the best grades of several courses in the School of Law (1949)
  • Gold Medal awarded by the Argentine Academy of History (Academia Nacional de Historia) to the best secondary student in City of Buenos Aires on “Argentine History” (1942).
  • Ministry of Justice and Public Instruction Prize (Gold Medal) to the best 5th year secondary student (Colegio Nacional Domingo F. Sarmiento), Buenos Aires.
  • Levene Prize awarded by the Argentine National Academy of History to the student with the best grade average in the City of Buenos Aires.
  • Distinction as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Achievers” awarded by Cámara Junior de Comercio de Buenos Aires (1965).
  • Sylvan Gotshal Medal for “exceptional service in the field of International Arbitration”, New York (1968)
  • Knight of Malta

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Activities in the Field of Education

In the field of education, José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz held the following responsibilities:

  • Full Professor of “Mining and Agrarian Law” at the University of Buenos Aires School of Law (Derecho Agrario y Minero en la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires).
  • Full Professor of “Natural Resources Law” at Universidad del Salvador School of Law (Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de El Salvador) (Buenos Aires).
  • Vice-Dean of Universidad del Salvador School of Law (Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de El Salvador) (Buenos Aires).
  • Director of the Publications Department at the University of Buenos Aires School of Law.

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Books Published

Mr. José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz published the following books:

  • “Enfiteusis y arrendamiento vitalicio en la Argentina y Nueva Zelanda” (Emphyteusis and life tenancies in Argentina and New Zealand).
  • “La Agricultura y Ganadería Argentina en el Período 1930-1960” (Agriculture and Cattle Breeding in Argentina during the Period 1930-1960)
  • “Bases para una Argentina Moderna 1976 – 1980” (Basis for a Modern Argentina, 1976-1980).
  • “15 Años Después” (15 Years Later).

His book “A Sporting Life” was recently published in the United States narrating his memoirs as a big game hunter.
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Activities in the Private Sector

Prior and after his office as Minister of Economy, José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz held many positions in the private sector, including:

  • President of Consejo Empresario Argentino (Argentine Business Council) (1974-76). Vice-President (1972-74) Member, 1968-2002.
  • President of the Argentine Section of the Inter-American Council for Trade and Production (C.I.C.Y.P. Consejo Interamericano de Comercio y Producción) 1964-67.
  • President of the Commercial Arbitration Inter-American Center (Comisión Interamericana de Arbitraje Comercial), 1968-72.
  • President of the Northern Argentina Regional Sugar Center (Centro Azucarero Regional del Norte Argentino), 1958-76
  • President of the Board of Directors of Acindar Industria Argentina de Aceros. 1968-76
  • President of the Board of Directors of Petrosur S.A., 1964-72
  • President of the Center for Economic Investigations (C.I.D.I.E. Centro Internacional de Investigaciones Económicas), 1970-74
  • Vice-President of F.I.E.L. (Fundación de Investigaciones Económicas Latinoamericanas), 1970-74
  • Vicepresident of A.C.I.E.L. (Acción Coordinadora de Instituciones Empresarias Libres), 1958-62
  • Council of The Conference Board - New York (until his death)
  • Member of the Advisor Committee of the Organization of American States (OAS)
  • Member of the del Consejo Asesor Latinoamericano de Westinghouse, 1965-76.
  • Member of Chase Manhattan Bank, Advisory Board, 1971-74 y 1982-85
  • Member of the Group of Thirty, 1981-85
  • Member of the Board of the City of Buenos Aires Bar Association (Colegio de Abogados de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires 1958-62.
  • President and member of the board of directors of several companies.
  • Founder and first President of Ateneo de la Juventud Democrática Argentina in 1946-47 and Director of its journal DEMOS 1946-56.

Precisely as founder and president of Ateneo de la Juventud Democrática Argentina, and as director of the journal DEMOS, he convened the youth of his times, who contributed their ideas and enthusiasm in politics, and later, many of them held leading public offices.

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Public Offices

Throughout his life, he was concerned with the wellbeing of his country, and in spite of the incomparable higher benefits he could have obtained in private activities, José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz held many public offices:

  • Minister of Economy of Argentina in 1963 and, again, during the period 1976-80.
  • Secretary of State for Agriculture of Argentina, 1962-63.
  • President of the Argentine Grain Board (Junta Nacional de Granos), 1957-58.
  • Minister of Economy, Finance and Public Works of the Federal Intervention in the Province of Salta, Argentina, 1956-57.
  • Member of the Argentine Commercial Mission to the U.S. - Washington D.C., 1961.

During his most widely known term in office as minister of Economy between 1976-1980, he adopted a series of innovative measures towards the liberalization of the economy, the results of which were praised at that time not only by international political leaders but also by most of the Argentine population. Those measures and results are described in more detail in this site.

The subsequent criticism launched against his policies, which began during the military government and which continued for decades, resulted in the largest series of persecutions ever launched against a former public official in Argentine history. None of the investigations conducted during the different stages and under the different administrations, ever found a stain in his honesty.

The attacks were mainly ideological. Martínez de Hoz stood for the opening of the economy (as opposed to a closed economy) promoting the role of private enterprises -subject to due controls- as the drive of development (as opposed to state owned-enterprises) and focusing on the essential functions of the state. Although he always believed in freedom as the basis of all human action -both in economics and any other field- he was highly concerned with social matters and economics as evidenced by the fact that he was affiliated to the Christian Democratic party (Partido Demócrata Cristiano) and by many of the measures he promoted from public office.

Apart from having suffered physical attacks directed both personally against him and the members of his team at the Ministry of Economy, Martínez de Hoz was especially persecuted during the administration of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner that reopened closed cases in order to charge him with crimes. Such persecutions are described in detail under: Persecutions

As a result of such fierce political persecution he was confined to home arrest since May, 2010 until his death on March 15, 2013, in relation to a case reopened nearly 25 years after the Federal Criminal Appellate Court during a democratic government, exonerated him for being completely unrelated to the events investigated therein.

On December 19, 2012, his sons and daughters, acting on his behalf, filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights seeking intervention on account of the serious and several violations of rights established by the American Convention on Human Rights.


Complaint filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights


Government undercover riot forces attacked several times the building where Martinez de Hoz lived. See photos of the exposure protest (escrache) at the Kavanagh building

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International Relations

During his term in office, Minister of Economy José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz held meetings in furtherance of Argentina’s interests, with the following international leaders, who positively supported his economic plan:

MICHAEL J BLUMENTHAL - U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President Jimmy Carter.
ZBYGNIEW BRZINSKI - U.S. National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.
LEOPOLDO CALVO SOTELO - Spanish Prime Minister and former Minister for Relations of the European Economic Community.
KARL CARSTENS - President of the Federal Republic of Germany.
ROBERTO DE OLIVEIRA CAMPOS - Planning Minister under President Castello Branco of Brazil.
VALÉRIE GISCARD d´ESTAING - President of France.
JOAO BAPTISTA FIGUEREIDO - President of Brazil.
ERNESTO GEISEL - President of Brazil.
DENNIS HEALY - CChancellor of the Exchequer of the U.K.
SM el REY D. JUAN CARLOS I- King of Spain.
HENRY A KISSINGER - U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Nixon and Gerald Ford.
ROBERT Mc.NAMARA- President of the World Bank.
WILLIAM MILLER - U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President Jimmy Carter.
ANTONIO DELFIM NETTO - Served twice as Ministry of Planning of Brazil.
ANTONIO ORTIZ MENA - President of the Inter-American Development Bank and former Ministry of Economy of Mexico.
RONALD REAGAN - President of the United States.
DAVID ROCKEFELLER -  Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank.
OTTO GRAFF von LAMBMSDORFF - Ministry of Economy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
DENG-XIAOPING - President of China.


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Leisure

During his leisure time, after serving in public office, José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz’ s main hobbies were music, reading, fishing, photography and big game hunting.

He loved hunting since his early youth. His first big game hunting experiences took place in Salta, in the South of Argentina and in the Province of Buenos Aires. He travelled from Alaska to Mongolia, participating in several safaris in Africa: hunting took him through five continents in the quest for trophies of different species.

He was a member and chairman of the Safari Club, Argentine Chapter, and as such strongly believed in the communion between hunting and conservation, and actively participated in the efforts of promoting ethics in hunting.
He also had a passion for fly fishing. He regularly fished with his children in Argentine Patagonia.


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His character

José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz was a persevering and tenacious man, very modest, simple and self-controlled. His life style was always methodical and frugal. He was deeply religious, faith helped him to endure and overcome the political persecution throughout a long part of his life. His advice to his close circle always focused on the duty of all towards society to the extent of personal capacity, fortune or responsibility that life endowed on each person.

In spite of all the political persecutions he endured, which more than once involved loss of his freedom, he always kept his temperance and remained in Argentina ready to face any court summons and requests, regardless of their unfairness.
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Economic Policy

       
 
Economic Liberalization
The spirit underlying all of the reforms implemented during José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz’s term in office was the liberalization of...
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Economic Stability
When José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz took office as Minister of Economy, inflation –which had existed in Argentina for many decades and...
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Economic Results
The economic liberalization measures adopted by Minister José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz produced -within longer or shorter periods...
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Controversial Issues

 
External Debt
The alleged de-industrialization
The Scheduled Crawling Peg (La Tablita)
Sweet Money (Plata Dulce)
Grain Embargo
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