Argentina Political Reviews
Government debt and the conflict with US hedge funds
December 2001 marked the end of 35 years of neoliberalism, the curtailment of the welfare state, the depletion of large sections of the population, international debt slavery and exorbitant profits in the corporate sector. This was the year when the largest popular movement since the 1970s rose and demanded the departure of then-President Fernando De La Rua, creating a deep crisis in the political system. A provisional government declared Argentina bankrupt and unable to service its government debt.
Later, the governments of Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007) and then Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015) decided to recognize the government debt despite suspicions that it is rooted in defeat and corruption, both during the dictatorship and under later democratic governments. Different groupings on the left were critical to this decision. They emphasized that it was necessary to conduct a thorough investigation to find out how and under what circumstances the country has incurred the debt.
From 2005, the Kirchner governments renegotiated the debt and confronted each of the debts that were outlined. This helped restore the country’s reputation as a reliable economic partner.
Only seven percent of creditors failed to participate in these negotiations. The reason was disagreement over the content of the agreements, as well as an obvious hope from the creditors for better times and new opportunities for debt speculation. They wanted the Argentine state to pay overpriced for bonds bought at cheap sales, but as Argentina succeeded in negotiating with 93 percent of its creditors, these so-called “holdouts” ended badly.
In the spring of 2014, the case appeared in US courts, where the redistributed hedge funds, called vulture funds, accused Argentina of defaulting on its payment obligations. The judge upheld the vulture funds and decided to block Argentina’s bank accounts. This made it impossible for the country to live up to its commitments to the remaining 93 percent of its creditors, and soon rumors went that a new bankruptcy stood at the door.
The conflict became internationally known and soon became a hot topic in the media in the US, Europe and Latin America. Some media companies, such as CNN, the BBC and NRK, announced Argentine bankruptcy and a potential political crisis. Others, such as TELESUR, Russia Today and the Iranian company Hispanic TV, condemned the vulture funds and the US courts for their extortion of the Argentine state, claiming that the rumors of bankruptcy were completely unfounded.
According to Countryaah, governments in a number of countries made statements supporting one or the other version of the conflict. It was also the subject of debate in organizations such as the EU, G77 + China, UNASUR and the UN General Assembly.
Elections in 2015
After 12 years in government, the Frente para la Victoria (FPV) party can no longer count on any of its two major icons. Néstor Kirchner passed away in October 2010 and, according to the Constitution, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner cannot enter a third term in a row. Daniel Scioli, former vice president and current governor of Buenos Aires, is a candidate for the ruling party. Alliances within the FPV, the backing of key economic players who have benefited from 12 years with the Kirchner government, and his eight years in power in the country’s most populous province, constitute significant backing that is worth noting.
For many, Scioli represents a conservative twist in the Kirchnerist project, and his candidacy is a good example of the contradictions that exist within the ruling party. The fact that FPV poses with a candidate who has been a bureaucrat in the neoliberal governments of Carlos Menem (1989-1999) and Eduardo Duhalde (2002-2003) has defended the state terrorism that took place during the last military dictatorship, and also maintains close ties. ties to the media group Clarin (a declared enemy of the government), show that Kirchnerism is anything but unambiguous.
In the opposite wing, the liberal right is divided into two fronts. One is led by the current Buenos Aires City Council leader, business owner Mauricio Macri, while the other is led by Sergio Massa, who overcame Kirchnerism in the 2013 parliamentary elections. the fronts a distinctly neoliberal project, and they maintain well-lubricated relations with the United States Embassy. Both express a general consensus on the economic direction the country has taken in recent years. At the same time, they are highly critical of the progressive aspects of the Kirchner governments, such as the approach to the other Latin American countries and a weakening North American influence, human rights policy, law against media monopolies,
Need for a liberating political project
In this increasingly right-wing political climate, one finds a range of social movements, parties and activists, representing everything from the progressive to the left-wing radical. These do not feel represented by the larger political parties, but they also fail to agree on a joint political project that could attract the large masses.
In these environments, there are also disillusioned church artists, who distance themselves from the development of the party and Scioli’s candidacy. One can also mention organizations that, although they have supported the most progressive sides of the Kirchner governments, have nonetheless been critical of the structural problems that remain unresolved. An example is the Patriotic-Revolutionary Movement Quebracho (Movimiento Patriótico Revolucionario Quebracho.) Furthermore, there are more specialized organizations, such as the National Network for Alternative Media (Red Nacional de Medios Alternativos), the Labor Federation of Economics (Confederación de la Trabaj) and the National Women’s Forum (Encuentro Nacional de Mujeres). The latter is a bauta in the work against forced prostitution and for the right to legal, free and safe abortion.
The Workers’ Left Front (Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores), which with a left-radical discourse gained more than one million votes in the 2013 election and has a visible seat on the left in Congress, should also be mentioned as part of this conglomerate of forces.
Last but not least, there is the part of the left that was born in the fight against neoliberalism during the crisis of 2001. These groups were a continuation of what was called the “social movements” in the 90s, when they actively participated in the opposition to the proposal. from the United States to create a free trade agreement, known as the ALCA Agreement. They previously stood for complete rejection of political institutions as such, but in recent years they have been inspired by the political processes in Bolivia and Venezuela. Since 2013, this part of the left has thrown itself into the electoral debate as a new front in the fight, and they have now made the establishment of their own parties one of their political tasks. United Popular Front (Frente Pueblo Unido), For the Fatherland (Patria Grande),
In such a heterogeneous and complex political landscape, it is difficult to predict the outcome of the imminent presidential election. Nevertheless, it is clear what will be the winner’s most important mission, namely to bring the people together so that they as a nation can take the step further towards a liberating political project.