Jose Martinez de Hoz; faced rights charges in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES — Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, who was the economics minister during Argentina’s dictatorship, died Friday at his home here, where he was under arrest, accused of human rights abuses. He was 87.

Mr. Martinez de Hoz, a former law professor, was in charge of Argentina’s economy from 1976 to 1981. Initially, he was praised by international bankers for his free-market policies, designed to combat Argentina’s hyperinflation, but he was condemned by Argentine businessmen for the nation’s subsequent economic collapse.

Mr. Martinez de Hoz oversaw Argentina’s financial deregulation in 1977, which drew record inflows of capital from speculative investors.


‘‘He’s identified as most responsible for Argentina’s deindustrialization,’’ said Sergio Berensztein, a political consultant with the research firm Poliarquia in Buenos Aires.

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After Argentina returned to democratic rule in 1983, Mr. Martinez de Hoz was under arrest for 2½ months on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping of two prominent businessmen. He was the first civilian government official to be held for abuses committed during the reign of the junta.

However, Mr. Martinez de Hoz was shielded from the courts by President Carlos Saul Menem’s blanket amnesty of those involved in the Dirty War.

That amnesty was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2005, and Mr. Martinez de Hoz’s was arrested in 2010. He denied the accusations.