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Elections and reelections

We all saw it coming, and, quite frankly, I’m relieved such a time of tension and expectation  is over.

That’s right everybody, last week, Hugo Chavez was once more elected, to start his third consecutive presidential stay. This not only means the continuity of Venezuela’s policies regarding economics and politics, both inside the country, as well as with the rest of the Southamerican nations; it also means the people from Venezuela understand what this man means for their country.

For the last decade and a half, Venezuela’s economical standing in the world has been only growing, tackling problems like their many oil reserves, and taking advantage of them to grow even further. Yes, they still have problems; but these people haven’t been better.

There’s also the political half of Chavez’s government. Along the last years, he has been accused not only of totalitarisarism, but also of being a dictator, and a fascist. Quite funny how the people accusing him of such, were the same who agreed with most dictatorships throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in all Latin America -Argentina included.

But, truth be told, it’s quite contradictory that they accuse him of such, in the first page of the most important newspapers of their country- Not enough freedom of speech? What do you want? Chavez’s approval of your declarations for there to be ‘freedom of speech’?
This same situation developes here, as newspapers of the opposition accuse our government of not letting them speak… In the first page of every single edition. One has to wonder, do they not see this utter contradiction?

Last few months, a topic has been quite hot over here: the opposition fears that Fernandez’s government will try to call for a Constitutional Assembly, meant to change our rigid Constitution into making it possible for any president to be consecutively re-elected as many times as he/she wishes to present him/herself. The limit as of now is twice in a row -you guessed it, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has already been elected and reelected. She herself hasn’t confirmed this was going to happen, something understandable, taking next presidential elections will be held in 2015 (when I’ll be able to vote! :D).

This theory isn’t completely unfounded, as that is the same thing that happened in Venezuela in 2009. A referendum was held then, and the voting regarding the approval or dismissal of different Articles took place. It resulted on the end of the restrictions for anyone to apply continuously to any public charge, as many times as wanted.

But, the situation in Argentina is not the same as it was in Venezuela that time. To start with, we had one amazing phenomena starting the 40’s, called Juan Domingo Peron. People who don’t agree with him, now-a-days, and even then, called him a ‘dictator’. So these people regard the elective restrictions as a way not to let something like that happen again -you know, one can take only that many popular governments before having the urge for a dictatorship.

The other fact to take in account, is the lack of an actual, strong, unified opposition to the officialism here. Quite frankly, they’re a joke, no offense. They make alliances and break up again like eight-year-olds playing boyfriends and girlfriends in the breaks from school. Maybe they have a strong media fortress around them -meaning their ‘popularity’ isn’t even because of their political ideals-, but they have no plans for the country. They only know they hate Fernandez, and think that’s all they need to go up against her. Ah, naiveté.

I don’t know how will Argentina change untill 2015, but I’m not so sure a great political challenge will arise for Cristina.

Going back to Venezuela, though, there’s something else I’d like to comment about the last elections: the participation rate of votants grew up until reaching the 80%. That-is-HUGE, and SO important!

Well, my congratulations to Venezuela, for having held their elections, and having defended their democracy, which is always important for all Southamerica. And I once again express my satisfaction regarding Chavez’s victory in them.

Thanks for reading,

-Mila.

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4 thoughts on “Elections and reelections

  1. Personally I think Chavez has made serious mistakes over the past few years, putting his own leadership ahead of strengthening institutions and turning a blind eye to corruption and rapidly increasing crime rates and failing to establish a successor. One person can’t rule forever without running out of ideas. But there is a reason Chavez got reelection, because he put the poor first.

    I think there is a few parallels in Argentina (though the Chavez = Kirchner cries are obviously exaggerated), Cristina has relied much on personal popularity without any successors of a similar ideology, giving too much power to corrupt and neoliberal Justicialists to ensure support (always a problem with Peronism), but I think she is also pragmatic and the crime rate in Argentina, while increasing, is exaggerated and not nearly as bad as Venezuela (that doesn’t mean it should be ignored, but Argentina is still one of the safest countries in Latin America). This was actually the first time the Veneuzlean opposition had a decent candidate, and it’s still fragmented (Capriles had support of everyone from socialists to neoliberals and had a very vague ideology). I doubt the Argentine opposition will ever fully unite for historical reasons and I think the left wing opposition (at least the Binner and Solanas branches) have too much integrity to ever sell out to Duhalde and Macri, but if Kirchner keeps relying so much on personal power the opposition will be able to rise up when she can’t run again.

    You will probably appreciate this commentary on Kirchnerismo’s internal threats from an independent English Buenos Aires news site I recently discovered:

    http://www.argentinaindependent.com/currentaffairs/analysis/sleeping-with-the-enemy/

    • The reason why I’m glad Chavez won, beyond all his obvious flaws and mistakes, is because he’s a crucial piece in the picture Latin America is trying to form of itself: not an European or North American America, but a Latin America with its own identity as a whole. It’s nothing easy, and the benefits of this project are long-term-thought, but it’s worth it. That’s partly why I’m not against CFK, because she takes part in this process too.
      I think that’s the important thing to see in the events taking place now-a-days. It’s not just a bunch of people being ‘more to the left’ than the last governments in Latin America, it’s about a whole new project of integration and cooperation between these nations.
      At least, that’s what I see.
      What you say about the opposition here is true, and being honest, it’s too light. I think the opposition here is a joke. It’s like they’re not even trying. I mean, when a guy like Mauricio Macri is the strongest man in that opposition, you have to start wondering what is it these people are thinking.
      But, that’s another ugly consequence of the actual process. It’s something that has been happening in Argentina since the beginning of its history: the strong dichotomy in its politics. That never leads to anything constructive…
      Well, this is beginning to look like a post.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, I’ll check that site out!
      -Mila.

      • I agree about Chavez and Latin American independence, whatever missteps South America is taking you have things like MERCOSUR, UNASUR and ALBA that I believe have plenty of promise. It’s funny because here in the U.S. the right wing Presidential candidate Mitt Romney keeps on saying he wants to expand trade in Latin America, talking about the economic opportunities within the region, without pointing out that the countries not on the Pacific don’t have any interest in a free trade agreement on the U.S.’s terms.

        Chavez shouldn’t be viewed as some sort of saviour but I hope the trends he started – Latin American independence and unity, and attention to the poor and minorities, create a legacy. To be honest I’m concerned about the economic situation in Argentina but the causes – industrial independence instead of relying on foreign powers, and most of all social justice, are something necessary.

      • I’d like to give you a full response, but I completely agree with your given point, and I don’t see where else to expand. Oh well xD.
        As always, Nolan, thanks for commenting. It’s always nice to have these sharing of ideas and points of views.
        -Mila.

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