Argentina's Domingo Cavallo, The comeback kid


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Cavallo: Back in the spotlight
Whatever else might be said of him, Domingo Cavallo is a brave man. Argentina's former economy minister, widely blamed for the country's meltdown following its devaluation and debt default, is planning a return to the limelight.

He has decided to run in Argentina's legislative elections due in October. The 59-year-old is campaigning to win a seat as deputy in the lower house of congress in Buenos Aires for the centre-right Action for the Republic Party.

His chances of victory, however, are slim. According to one local poll, over 80% of respondents disagreed with his decision to run. This is hardly surprising. Cavallo is still held responsible for Argentina's financial crisis, especially by the middle class. He resigned as economy minister in December 2001, just after he introduced the corralito – restrictions on bank deposits. The decision triggered a run on the banks and led to massive protests throughout the country.

That was the second time he had been in charge of Argentina's economy. His first tenure, between 1991 and 1996 when Carlos Menem was president, proved rather more successful. At that time Cavallo was seen as a hero in Argentina for having orchestrated the convertibility plan. This involved each peso in circulation being backed by a US dollar, a strategy that helped tame an inflation rate that reached four digits at its peak. Convertibility restored confidence and brought hope to millions of Argentines.

Most recently, Cavallo, who is renowned for his explosive character, has been teaching at Harvard University. He defended his decision to run for election by saying: "I believe it is an obligation, for those of us who have a career, to defend it and serve the country."