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June 16, 2009
Argentina’s president faces uphill battle as economy tightens

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Listen to our online radio show on Argentina’s farming crisis.

For a snapshot of how the U.S. economy affects everyone, have a look at the travels and travails of the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

And for a confounding case of a great country where democracy never quite gets its act together, have a look at Argentina as well.

Kirchner is midway through her four-year term of office, but questions are being raised about whether she can make it to the end of 2011. The problem involves both style and substance.

The president faces considerable criticism for the flailing Argentine economy. She’s been criticized for measures that expanded state control and for provoking anger by imposing trade tariffs on farm goods. Her style of governing is often characterized as arrogant — the same charge often faced by her husband, Nestor Kirchner, who preceded her as president.

This week, Kirchner was attending a meeting of the International Labor Organization in Geneva, where she and other leaders railed at international financial organizations that provoked the world credit crunch and recession. The results have been strange, to say the least. She said:

My government has just provided credit to General Motors so it wouldn’t shut down. If someone had told me that as president I was going to give a loan to an American multinational car manufacturer, which had just been nationalized by an African American president of the United States, it would have sounded insane.

Mi gobierno acaba de dar un crédito a General Motors para que no cierre sus puertas. Si alguien me hubiese dicho que como presidenta iba a dar un préstamo a una multinacional automotriz americana, que acababa de ser estatizada por un presidente afroamericano de los Estados Unidos, me hubiera parecido un delirio.

Argentina holds congressional elections on June 28, moved up from later in the year by the president and her party in hopes of shoring up waning support. It may not be enough. Clarin, Argentina’s leading newspaper, raised the possibility that Kirchner might be forced to resign or hold early presidential elections if the congressional losses are great.

Unfortunately, that would not be a shocking precedent. Argentinians are proud of 25 years of democracy after the departure of a cruel, murderous military dictatorship. But few of the country’s presidents in recent years have surrendered the blue and white presidential sash at the constitutional end of their terms. One of the few is Kirchner’s husband, Nestor, who served from 2003 to 2007. He is now blaming the news media — especially the leading daily, Clarin — charging they were stirring up rumors and trouble about his wife’s tenure in office.

Clarin reported on Kirchner’s criticism of its own reporting, saying the ex-president “accused Clarin of ‘inventing, lying, manipulating information and threatening the social peace and institutional stability of the nation.’ ”

– Peter Eisner

Also, watch the Worldfocus signature story “Farmers, drought and taxes cripple Argentina.”

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Comments

6 comments

#6

correction: Barrick Gold uses 250.000 litres of water per day. They even tried to move a glacier in chile and already destroyed one in argentina to create “Pascua Lama”, an open-sky mining. This kind of mining is forbidden in industrialized countries for being of deep impact for the environment.

#5

We are living in a kind of dictatorship with elecions here. The president never speaks with journalists, I never saw a political discusion with here. She is making buisness with mining companies (barrick gold) who will destroy a part of the argentinian and chilian andes exploting gold and silver. Kirchner stopped a ley which protects the glacies in the andes, so that barrick gold can use it for the mining. The area is very dry there, one of the most dry areas of argentina. Barrick gold can use 1000l per day to wash the stones and he will leave contaminated water. Thank you Cristina Kirchner.

#4

[…] Read Worldfocus blogger Peter Eisner’s commentary: Argentina’s president faces uphill battle as economy tightens. […]

#3

[…] Read Worldfocus blogger Peter Eisner’s commentary: Argentina’s president faces uphill battle as economy tightens. […]

#2

The author is into FARM politics. I.e, landowners. I.e, oligarchs. I.e, the people behind our CIA backed, School of Americas trained military coups.
In other words, you are reading totally right wing FICTION.
Thought you’d like to know.
Now get your news from somewhere else. And don’t you EVER make the same mistake.
I leave you with the oligarchs and their little show.

#1

The Argentinian political scene post-Junta has been primarily characterized by economic turmoil and uncertainty. Its a shame that a country with such a bright history isn’t able to turn the corner once and foremost and mobilize its impressive factors of production to regain its legacy as economic leader of the the Latin American world.

http://www.globalaxioms.blogspot.com

Peter Eisner is an editorial consultant with Worldfocus and a 30-year veteran of international news. He has been an editor and foreign correspondent at The Washington Post, Newsday and The Associated Press. He co-authored “The Italian Letter,” which details fraudulent intelligence leading up to the Iraq War. He was founder and president of Newscom, an international online news service, and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

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