So, going around WordPress’ ‘Reader’, I decided to check on the ‘Argentina’ tab, wich I do occasionally to get a hold of news regarding my country on the exterior, or maybe the tales of tourists who have been/are here, as I find it interesting to read. It’s always nice to see many kinds of opinions about Argentina, specially in a free space as this, the internet.
Today, though, I found something that made me want to punch a wall. Why? Oh, you’ll see.
Of course, I’m not that fond of violence, as I am fond of the word. I’ve always thought it was a much better tool to defend oneself, and this has proven itself right during my life.
What I found, was an article. An article on Argentina’s current government, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government.
Who is this woman? Let me give you some facts about her:
- She is the first woman to be elected, and re-elected as president for the Argentinian Republic in all its history.
- She succeeded her husband, Nestor Kirchner, president from 2003 to 2007. Ever since they took over, Argentina’s growth in PIB, PBN, productivity, and the like, was the biggest in the history of the country.
- They are Peronists. Wich means they take after the ideals of Juan Domingo Peron. Look him up on the internet, and use your critical eye when reading about him.
- They have politics oriented on social assistance.
- They assumed as leaders after 2001’s crisis, and have taken us out of it.
- Many economists say that our country’s way of dealing with crisis is the role-model countries like Greek should take, instead of making adjustments, that only lead to less internal market and demoralization of its people.
- Also, the mortality on kids, the analphabetism, and the poverty have lowered in numbers (wich doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist anymore. It does, and there should be more answers for them).
If there’s something I’ve forgotten to mention to make all I’m about to rant on make sense, then I’ll be adding it as I advance.
The article I stumbled upon was this: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/22238/lesson_in_crony_capitalism.html
Read it, if you can and have the time, and don’t take anything for granted.
To make you all understand why this makes me mad, and being the nice person I am, I will now proceed to analyse and explain the parts of this article that make me dubious of its objectivity, informativity, and other ivities.
I am NOT an expert, I am NOT a graduated from Harvard, and student from Cambridge and Trinity Universities as the guy who wrote that is. I am just a teen, with my own opinions, so you should understand that anything coming along is only my subjective point of view, and that you shouldn’t take anything I say as a stated fact, unless I clarify it is, and give you the sources to check on it.
So, this is how the article starts:
Jorge Luis Borges used to say that the Argentine people suffered under “too many messiahs.” Their current president, Cristina Kirchner, certainly preaches like one.
With that alone, I now know where you’re standing, buddy. Jorge Luis Borges is a well-known, and self-proclaimed anti-peronist -or, as we call them here, ‘gorilas’ (gorillas). He’s in for the conservatives and the oligarchy of our society.
Quoting Jorge Luis Borges at the beginning of an article about a Peronist politician, and using his quote to make a characterization of said politician, means you are not too fond of Peronists either. So, from starters, I know you agree with the conservative view on the matter. So I can already guess how fond you are of social assistance, and the like, huh?
(I want to clarify, though, that even though Borges was an anti-peronist, he was an artist, one of Argentina’s finest. He had his prejudices as a member of the oligarchy here, but he is to be taken with the lightness of a feather. I’m only using his contextualized views on peronism, and the fact that a quote of his’ was chosen to start the article, to state the intension in that. Nothin else. I love Borges. He rocked).
From here, I can even guess what you’re going to say about this government. But let’s go on.
and at the last G-20 summit in June she attempted to reignite the Falkland Islands dispute with Great Britain.
Well, that’s an interesting choice of words. Tricky as well. So she wanted to ‘reignite’ the dispute.
Guys, what do you think when you think of the word ‘ignition’? And ‘reignite’? Yes, exactly, fire, something exploding. War.
Mister Barbieri, are you suggesting president Fernandez wants to start a wat against Britain? Or are you trying to make this woman appear as a threat to peace between these two nations, and of military power, when you know our military forces are poorly armed?
This is part of a speech by the president of my nation, in front of the UN:
What she says is that the people within the Malvinas Islands (I refuse to call the Falklands Islands) are illegally withdrawing natural resources that naturally and legally belong to Argentina’s marine and sub-marine territory. She says that it’s not necessary to remark that it’s not reasonable to claim for territorial right over an island that’s more than 14000 kms away from your natural territory.
She then insists for the UK to fulfill the UN’s resolutions (there are many resolutions from this organization saying that Britain HAS to seat down and negotiate with Argentina, but the UK has been ignoring them as it pleases). She also talks about the many provocations the UK has been performing, such as missiles essays on May and July of the year of the speech, that were denounced to several supra-guvernamental organizations in charge of controlling all this.
She then reaffirms that Argentina has interest in only dialogue and proper negotiations, and that it doesn’t want to let many years pass before the matter is settled.
She says that Argentina has no intention to make this issue worse, but that it calls for the attention of the UN and UK to make the resolutions be fulfilled properly.
Wow, that was just scary. You could feel the killing intention within her eyes, couldn’t you?
Catch the sarcasm?
The truth is, Argentina would NEVER EVER agree to a military issue, much less to war. No Argentinian would NEVER allow the government to do that (well, yeah, there are exceptions), and I dont think Kirchner is interested in something like that either.
At home, Mrs. Kirchner’s turned a law intended to broadcast key announcements into a permanent political platform. She’s constantly on TV speaking on issues both important (like her seizure of the oil company YPF from Spain’s Repsol), and banal (videoconferences featuring zealots on the government payroll).
Yes, the president appears a lot on TV. It’s called political publicity, and it’s the duty of a responsible government. The state has the responsibility and duty to let the people know of what they’re doing. That’s why there are signed acts of EVERYTHING, accessible for the average citizen.
Mister Barbieri, if you were more comfortable with the times when the politicians appeared in TV only to make more adjustments to their disastrous economies, or to appear in Susana Gimenez’s shows (a very well-known TV host and actress), then the one who should be adapting is you.
Take a look at this video, from TVR, a popular TV-reviewing show, taken also from Susana Gimenez’s show, in 2000:
Minute 1:04. The blonde is Susana Gimenez. The bald guy, is Fernando De la Rúa. If you read my post Argentina’s Political Reality (I), then I’m telling you, this is the president that had to take off the presidential house in an helicopter, because his, and the previous presidents’, economical measures had taken the society to manifest itself against politicians, and to social chaos. Mhmm.
At first, Susana explains that she had received a call from the Casa Rosada (Pink House, the presidential house), saying that the president himself wanted to make an appearance in those rough times, to talk to the people ‘normally’ and ‘without a political speech’, about the situation. Then Gimenez makes her usual misogynist comments, but I wont go into that now.
De la Rua then says that there isn’t really a crisis, because the president is fully active, and because he’d make sure to fulfill his time in the government -he’ll be escaping before getting caught by the riots of the Plaza de Mayo a few months later. After that, he says something along the lines of ‘there have been many unthinkable situations going on’. Susana tries saying something like ‘yeah, like what happened at the senate, or-‘, but she get’s interrupted by the president himself, who says ‘no, I’m talking about there not being anymore hake at sale’.
I’m sorry, but I certainly prefer my president appearing on TV when inaugurating high-tech factories, announcing the payroll, or the new factories of chocolate Milka in Argentina that will give thousands of people a new job, that going to Susana’s to talk about how there’s no more hake in a time of crisis.
And I certainly would feel disgust for a politician who goes anywhere to speak ‘without a political speech’. Are you kidding me? That’s just taking us for idiots, I’m sorry.
Also, the reason why Fernandez needs to appear on television while on her presidential duties, is to contrarest what is a real pain in Argentina, as well as in most of South-America: the monopolyzed media. Most of the newspapers, tv channels, radio channels, magazines, etc, are owned by the same group of very rich people, who aren’t really happy with a government that wants to take a little more out of them, for, you know, fair taxes. So Fernandez, as well as many popular presidents (and I mean ‘popular’ as in ‘from the people’), is shamelessly, cruely, and constantly critized mostly for stupidities or amarillism, only to make their public image go down. I’m not going into enough depth regarding this issue, but I may will in future posts.
As the U.S. gears up for an important presidential election, Argentina is a sad reminder of how government takeovers and crony capitalism are the enemy of genuine development.
Uh, look at the numbers again, mister Barbieri. The companies and economic groups that have grown the most in the last years with this governments, and that are the most powerfull now, are in oposition to Fernandez de Kirchner.
Sociedad Rural, Grupo Clarín, different banks, most oil companies. Just check on their numbers for the last years, and the ones before Kirchner, and you’ll clearly see a big jump. This is no secret.
So please, explain again how this government is ‘the enemy of genuine development’?
Amid the boom, the Kirchners denounced corrupt “neoliberalism,” promising to “free the people” through revitalized government. So while Peru and Colombia deepened structural reforms, Argentina expanded bureaucracy and eschewed liberalization.
Usually, when a neo-liberal talks about ‘structural reforms’, he means wild adjustments to the public wages (spending less in medical care for people, public schools, public institutions, firing thousands of public employees, etc. You know, those measurements that makes a society go down, like what happened in Argentina in 2001, and what’s happening in Greece and south Europe now).
I’m pretty glad we’re not following that example right now, if I can be honest.
Indec, which has lied about inflation so blatantly that The Economist magazine now refuses to print its cooked numbers. Indec’s falsified low inflation reports minimize indexed payments to retirees, as well as underrating poverty figures. Yet children starve in the rural provinces regardless of what the government chooses to print.
Yes, I give you that. The Indec’s numbers aren’t reliable, wich is not acceptable. One point for you.
These lies help cover up more pernicious government meddling. In March, Mrs. Kirchner destroyed the Argentine central bank’s independence, rewriting its charter to allow the government unlimited use of the bank’s reserves to pay its debts—a surefire recipe for still more damaging inflation and a debased currency.
Oh, you mean the debt we owe the northern countries and loaning parties because of the neo-liberal policies from the dictatorship to the end of the 90’s?
You see, we decided to pay those debts with out own money, instead of doing what his school of thought proposes: lending more money from other loaners, to pay the debt to the rest. But then, you own these loaners, so you have to get indebted again to pay these ones. You know, what ‘real countries do’.
They’re kind of mad at us, because as we’re taking care of our debts with our own resources, we can invest in the developing of the consume and internal market, leading to more earnings for the state. Then, it divides the earnings between savings, and money to pay the debts. Also, this gives us the freedom to invest in whatever we want, whenever we want, cause the loaners and countries we’re indebted with can’t pressure us because of that.
That’s right, we’re breaking the chain of dependence the first world’s countries wants us in. Boohoo.
The institutional deterioration permeates far and wide and is only getting worse. This week, the Kirchner government announced plans to expropriate the company that prints its currency, the Argentine peso.
Oh my god! Why would the government, the one that orders to make more money as they have more funds, own the printing factory for bills!?!? …wait a second… Oh, I guess it DOES make sense when you actually think about it.
Middle-class Argentines have sought to save in dollars to protect themselves. But as of late last year, the government introduced draconian currency and trade controls.
Actually, the middle-class in Argentina couldn’t be better. Maybe you can’t see it cause you left to study at Harvard so many years ago, but well, I’m middle class. My mom is a scientific investigator, and has never had so many approved projects by the state. My dad is a lawyer… Well, lawyers are lawyers I guess.
They’re doing so well, we even gave up on the state’s help to pay for electricity and water, cause we don’t need that anymore. Middle-class has never been better here.
The thing is, Argentina is obsessed with dollars. They like them, but not to make them flow, to spend them. They like them under their beds, in the banks, where no one can reach to them. This is a HUGE problem for a country that has to pay debts. You know, debts are paid in foreign exchange, and if it doesn’t run through the country, if it’s stuck, then the state can’t pay for them.
That’s basically one of the reasons why there has been so many restrictions to buy dollars, unless you really needed them.
Also, Im sorry, but I don’t see why an average Argentinian should be needing more than three thousand dollars with him (wich is the estimate per capita here), if the official coin is ARG peso. You just don’t. So let them flow in the market, for god’s sake!
Manufacturing survives only through inefficient import tariffs. So, predictably, productivity lags. An iPad in Argentina, for instance, costs more than anywhere else in the world.
Yeah, that’s called protectionism. And I know you liberals think that is a bad word, but it actually is helping in developing our national industries, wich is what we need if we want to become a developed country, right? I mean, no country becomes rich and equitative, living off just agriculture or ganadery. Am I wrong?
And, oh god, I can’t access to an iPad. These people just deserve to die. -___-.
Even worse, authoritarian controls have bred multiple exchange rates: If you are a friend of the government, a dollar costs 4.5 pesos. For anyone else, it is more than six. Instant arbitrage makes cronyism profitable.
Uh, no. If you need dollars, and go buy them legally, and are permitted to buy some, then it’s 4.5 pesos. If you buy them illegally, in what’s called the ‘blue market’, the it’s gonna cost you 6 pesos. And you’d be a criminal as well. Now that’s what I call a good business!
Social security funds have also been funneled into nationalized businesses like the seized YPF.
Haha, yeah. We got back our oil company from foreign hands, so now we can have oil at the real prize, and administrate those public jobs better. Seized YPF? Lol.
But when management is trusted to cronies rather than experts, the unfortunate mix of corruption and ineptitude guarantees losses for both social security and company employees. Not surprisingly, no foreign oil company—not even Russia’s Gazprom or China’s Sinopec—has invested in YPF.
Actually, YPF was going bankrupt. That’s why the state interviewed, to save those jobs, and the company. That’s why other companies wouldn’t invest. It’s not a wonder.
With a toxic mix of inflation, authoritarianism and corruption bringing the economy to a standstill, Mrs. Kirchner has been touring the world for new friends.
‘Standstill’? What part of ‘record growing in history’ didn’t you get?
And I’m sorry, our ways of doing business is by, you know, negotiations. We don’t bomb them, not our style.
I’d also like to know where is it you see this toxic authoritarianism.
Oh oh oh! Here comes my favorite part! Read closely, if you will:
The architect of Argentina’s economic radicalization, neo-Marxist Axel Kicilloff, often labels critics as “reactionaries” while praising Keynesian aggregate demand management.
‘The architect of Argentina’s economic radicalization’. Uhm, nope, wrong. He only got to the guvernamental spot this year, with Fernandez’s re-election. So I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the mastermind behind all this.
‘neo-Marxist’. Oh, don’t you love these people? So, what’s this adjetivization supposed to be?
An insult? I don’t know how agreeing with Marx’s ideals for the economy is insulting to anyone with an open mind.
A warning to us all? ‘Oh, look out, he’s Marxist. No- NEO-Marxist’. So he’s a leftie in the government of the Peronism? Did you even stop to think about that? Peronism was basically created to stop socialism and communism (Marx) from advancing in Argentina by giving social comfort, so the proletarians couldn’t complain.
Also, he has already openly declared he’s not a Marxist. Next!
‘while praising Keynesian aggregate demand management’. I don’t know where have you been looking so far, but Peronism and Keynes have many things in common. They both made public buildings, created public jobspots, and incentivized social assistement to get their countries going. So, what’s the critic?
And yet Mr. Kicillof’s friends—now in leadership positions in newly nationalized businesses and throughout company boards because of social-security investments—have benefited handily from this “revitalized government.”
You know, you could at least quote a source for that. You know, you can’t affirm that without any kind of responsibility. It’s almost like you’re only trying to make us see him as a monster… Oh wait.
At a time when most of Latin America is implementing promising institutional reforms, Argentina needs less televised lecturing and more action to address the crony capitalism that pervades its government. Like other false prophets, the Kirchner government has come to represent the very evil it purported to fight. Argentina deserves better.
Again, ‘promising institutional reforms’, refers to adjustments to its budget to let more people off the system, and more money for the banks.
‘the Kirchner government has come to represent the very evil it purported to fight’. Can I lol? LOL.
‘Argentina deserves better’. Sure. We also deserved better in the 90’s, where the people you probably defend destroyed this countries’ economy to shreds, only for their own greed.
We ARE better now. And not thanks to people like them.
Yes, there are many, MANY things wrong with this government. You only got to touch two in this article: the Indec’s lack of credibility, and the corruption in some states of the institutions. That’s it. The rest, you were looking at it from behind your Harvard, USA’s, liberal mask, not wanting to see the improvement in people’s lives and freedoms, because you don’t like these people.
I hope you didn’t find this as insulting as I found that article.
This is my own opinion and analysis over this. I hope this leaves you with a thought or two.