Speaking in the riverside slang that citizens of both countries love to share, Mujica apparently didn’t realize a microphone was on when he basically called Fernandez a “old shrew” who is “worse than her one-eyed” late husband, Nestor Kirchner. “The one-eyed guy had more political sense. This one is just stubborn as a mule,” he added, alluding to Kirchner’s strabismus.
Finally, a third group of political analysts believes the “Francis effect” will hurt the Fernández government, because the pope’s messages against authoritarianism, intolerance, and hubris will be read by most Argentines as indirect criticisms of Fernández.
“A clash is inevitable, and the clash will end up hurting Cristina,” says Jaime Duran Barba, an Ecuadorean pollster who advises opposition leaders here.
My opinion: Despite Fernández’s last minute turn to embrace “Francismania,” the pope’s emergence as the most popular figure in Argentina will end up hurting her.
Granted, Pope Francis will most likely not make any political statements about Argentine politics. He is expected to make his first visit to Argentina as pope in December — after the October mid-term elections — so as not to interfere with local politics.
But in his homilies during his first Latin American visit to Brazil this coming July, his frequent criticism of autocratic measures, political arrogance and hubris will inevitably be read by many here as indirect barbs at the president.
At the very least, “Francismania” will have a dampening effect on Fernández’s ability to circumvent the rules of good democratic behavior — and civility — to get reelected at any cost.
Cristina Fernandez, viuda de Kirchner, is not happy that the country’s journalists are reporting about her smear campaign against Pope Francis, the real inflation figures ( >25%), and international investors’ loss of confidence in the country. Mary O’Grady has the story,
There have been criminal actions against newspaper officials for editorials it didn’t like, attempts to gain control of the country’s domestic newsprint supply, and the passage of a law that politicizes the granting of broadcast licenses and the sale of spectrum. Then there was the September 2009 raid by some 200 tax agents on the daily Clarín, and the deployments of pro-Kirchner mobs to block the distribution of some newspapers that do not toe the Kirchner line.
Now Mrs. Kirchner is trying to financially ruin her critics in the press. One tool is the government’s $100 million-plus advertising budget—excluding the much larger budget for soccer broadcasts. An analysis by the daily La Nación (which publishes some Wall Street Journal content) of 2012 spending over 2011 shows a 65.3% increase in the purchase of space for public announcements and, more commonly, government propaganda in the country’s newspapers and magazines. Yet the four most important independent newspaper publishers—El Cronista, Clarín, La Nación and Perfil—all lost business from the government in 2012. La Nación lost a whopping 83%. El Cronista was down 48%, Clarín lost 37% and Perfil 12%.
The punishment doesn’t end there. At a meeting on Feb. 4 the minister of domestic commerce, Guillermo Moreno, mandated that supermarket chains would have to freeze prices for 60 days. According to a March 3 report in Clarín, Mr. Moreno also instructed those merchants present to halt the purchase of print advertising in Buenos Aires and the surrounding area media outlets. According to the Clarín report, he said the boycott would include companies that sell appliances and electronics.
The government initially denied that it had decreed any such thing. But according to Clarín, merchants told the newspaper that they are under strict orders not to buy advertising from the independent newspapers in and around the capital. Clarín said that failure to obey such commands, even though they are not law, can be costly. Businesses fear government reprisals in the form of tax inspections, the withholding of import licenses, and lawsuits brought in the name of consumer protection.
A discomfited government puts a brave face on the election of Pope Francis, while its propagandists use history as a political weapon
Cristina rushed to present the Pope with a nice mate set, like the ones you can buy at Ezeiza airport, and unwrapped it for him,
At The Economist (emphasis added),
The president’s trip to Rome looked like a swift exercise in damage limitation. Her initial letter of congratulation was stiff, in contrast to the enthusiasm expressed by other Latin American leaders. When news of his election broke, her supporters in Argentina’s Congress refused to interrupt a eulogy to Venezuela’s late president, Hugo Chávez. While private television channels streamed uninterrupted footage from the Vatican, state-owned Channel 7 preferred a children’s cartoon.
One of Ms Fernández’s closest backers then raked up an accusation that Cardinal Bergoglio, when head of the Argentine branch of the Jesuit order in the 1970s, had been complicit in the crimes of Argentina’s cruel and repressive military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983. Horacio Verbitsky, an investigative journalist who as editor of Pagina 12, a newspaper, has been chief propagandist for the Kirchner governments, claimed in 1999 that Father Bergoglio had handed over two Jesuit priests to the navy, which held them for five months. The priests had failed to heed his warning that they should leave the poor district where they worked, for their own protection, after a lay worker had joined the Montoneros, a guerrilla movement.
This week Mr Verbitsky published a foreign-ministry document of 1979 which appeared to suggest that Father Bergoglio had recommended that one of the priests, Franz Jalics, who had fled to Germany after his release, should be denied a passport because of his suspected links with leftist guerrilla groups. The new pope was deceitful, argues Mr Verbitsky: while pretending to help the priests publicly, he had privately worked against them.
At first glance, the document looks damning. But academics who have studied Argentina’s political violence of the 1970s think there is no evidence that Father Bergoglio helped the dictatorship, and he himself has rejected that allegation. Marcos Novaro, a sociologist at the University of Buenos Aires, thinks that Father Bergoglio did not want Father Jalics to be granted a passport because he was afraid he would be killed if he returned to Argentina. Father Jalics himself stated this week that Father Bergoglio did not inform on him and his colleague. Loris Zanatta, a historian of the Argentine church, says he has found much documentary evidence of the Jesuits’ efforts to free their colleagues. Others add that Father Bergoglio personally led these.
Mr Verbitsky’s allegation against Pope Francis is an example of the way in which, under the Kirchner governments, history has become a political weapon. The government has promoted trials of retired military officers; unlike previous trials in the 1980s, which ended in an amnesty after threats of military coups, these ones have not included any guerrilla leaders. Several senior officials are former Montoneros, as is Mr Verbitsky. In referring to the past, Ms Fernández never criticises the guerrillas, who were responsible for some 600 deaths and whose terrorism provoked the formation of a right-wing death squad and the 1976 military coup.
A Google search turns up 204,000 results on “Montoneros Cristina Fernández,” going back to her college days.
That was then, this is now: After her Papal mate photo-op, Cristina declared that the Pope talked about “our motherland”, which she interpreted as meaning Latin America, when the Pope probably meant Heaven. Jaime Bayly riffs on that (in Spanish),
And a question,
Cristina: smokey eye look, or full Alice Cooper black eye look?
More than 99% of voters said yes, according to Darren Christie, public relations manager for the Falklands Islands government. Just three people voted no. Turnout was 92%.
The Argentinian government won’t have it, because, as the guy in the video said, “Of course [they'll] vote that way, they’re British citizens,” but “the Falkands will always belong to Argentina” no matter what.
As one of my UGA classmates in economics used to say, “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull s**t.”
Cristina Fernandez took out an ad in the UK’s Guardian and the Independent basically telling UK Prime Minister David Cameron to have the UK “return” the Falklands to Argentina.
Argentina’s been out of the Falklands for 181 years and got their butts kicked when they tried to invade 31 years ago, but Cristina needs a distraction from her ruinous domestic policies, and oil was found off the Falklands, hence, the ad.
a spokesman for Mr Cameron said the people of the Falklands had shown “a clear desire to remain British” and their interests would be protected.
Downing Street said the prime minister would “do everything to protect the interests of the Falklands islanders.”
Mr Cameron’s spokesman said the people of the Falklands had shown “a clear desire to remain British” and the Argentine government should respect their right to self determination.
Argentina now argues that the British planted people on the island over the last 180 years of sovereignty, and that the people currently living on the islands — which are more than 250 miles away from Argentina, by the way — should be ineligible for self-determination. It’s a cute argument, as it does away with the question of self-determination at all — but by the same measure, most Argentinians would be ineligible for self-determination, as their population came mainly from colonial expansion from a couple of centuries before. What’s the cutoff? 181 years? 241 years? 369 years?
No one can be expected to take this seriously, but Cameron is clearly taking no chances.
Cristina ought to be worrying her little Botoxed head over her domestic policies… and maybe, just maybe, over her political future if the time comes when Hugo Chavez’s demise stops those suitcases full of money that finance her campaigns.
Social security funds have also been funneled into nationalized businesses like the seized YPF. 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. Last week, the government’s handpicked CEO even threatened to quit YPF because of how little control he has over the company.
the YPF decision might make matters worse, even in the short run. That’s because the nationalization was done in violation of Article 17 of the Argentine constitution, which says that an expropriation has to be carried out according to the law and not before the company is compensated.
The fact that neither the courts nor Congress (including the opposition) tried to stop what was clearly illegal under Argentine law confirms what many Argentines have feared: The checks and balances on executive power that the founders once envisioned are gone. The logical conclusion is that if the executive wants to run a police state, she will have no quarrel from other institutions.
Perhaps if the YPF action were an isolated event, Mrs. Kirchner could hope to salvage some credibility for Argentina’s rule of law. It is not. From civil liberties—notably press freedom, which has been aggressively attacked by the executive—to economic freedom, Argentines and foreign investors have been losing their rights. The YPF expropriation has heightened their sense of foreboding.
The latest manifestation is the crackdown on the right to buy dollars. With accumulated inflation in 2010 and 2011 totaling almost 50% but the peso depreciating only about 15%, markets had been expecting that the government would be forced to let the exchange rate adjust more rapidly. Instead, Mrs. Kirchner’s economic team moved earlier this year to stop the peso from falling by putting strict controls on its sale. Importers who need to be able to buy dollars are now hard-pressed.
The government also began to demand that exporters turn dollar revenues over to the central bank within 15 days of making a shipment abroad. When exports dropped, the deadline was moved to 30 days, which is still an unreasonable burden. Travelers who need dollars must apply to the government, explaining where they are going and why.
It’s turned the country, as Mary O’Grady says, into “an accident waiting to happen and a good place for investors to avoid.”