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Neoliberalism Resurgent in Argentina


#1

Neoliberalism Resurgent in Argentina

Matías Vernengo

The election of businessman Mauricio Macri to the presidency in Argentina signals a rightward turn in the country and, perhaps, in South America more generally. Macri, the candidate of the right-wing Compromiso para el cambio (Commitment to Change) party, defeated Buenos Aires province governor Daniel Scioli (the Peronist party candidate) in November’s runoff election, by less than 3% of the vote. Macri is the wealthy scion of an Italian immigrant family that made its money on the basis of government contracts.


#2

Thank you for a truly excellent and comprehensive analysis, Mr. Vernengo. This is the kind of article never found in any mainstream "news" source.

I would add one thing to this statement:

"No alternative was politically possible. Since then, the 2008 global Great Recession has shown the world the perils of unfettered capitalism, and even if the “Keynesian moment” was brief and austerity policies have reasserted themselves, at least it is widely understood that the “free market” is no solution for the problems of development in a globalized economy."

The thing that might be added is that this globalized economy is fueled by artificial wealth creation in the form of the obscure "products" dreamt up by Wall Street and its fiscal magicians.

Trading their "drawn out of thin air" paper sums for very real assets, the elites are maneuvering to strip mine the best assets from nation after nation. Greece so far has succumbed. Puerto Rico is now on this same auction block with U.S. assets likely to follow.

What a tragedy that the Argentine people took the bait--that is, about half of voters, to invite in the right wing Hit Squads and their various and sundry financial hit-men teams.


#3

It should be kept in mind that the population of Argentina (like many other populations in Latin America) actually think that the U.S. is a economic paradise, a functioning democracy and a necessary "friend" for their country to prosper. When right wing parties (with the support of the CIA) talk about moving closer to the U.S., following American style economics and combating a 'liberal media', it resonates with many middle class voters. Though this election is a slide backwards for the 99% in Argentina, it will take the population some time to figure out that being a lackey of corporate America, is a recipe for disaster.


#5

Who could be a better President than PapaFrancisco?


#7

Racist? What was racist in my comments? Besides having been to Bueno Aries, thousands of Argentinians also live in my neighbourhood in South Florida. All of them came here because they believed that the United States was everything I said it was in my previous post. Many of them have changed their minds since experiencing many of the set backs in terms of employment, wages, social services and cultural deficiencies (such as trying to find a restaurant in South Florida that isn't part of some corporate chain!) but still spend a lot of time trying to deal with many other family members who are also trying to immigrate here. As you can see, my comment is not a "stupid remark" but actually based on speaking to hundreds of Argentinians over the years. The only "racist" remark I can see, is your comment that I am merely spouting "typical drivel from Americans who know nothing and arrogantly regurgitate racist stereotype driven lies".


#9

I see no comment by Pechorin that you are replying to? Whats up with that?
Is CD editing this vile poster? His being here is Not A problem for me, but the guy sure does have some anger issues....
On further analysis it would seem that "Pechorin" has been erased from this site-
After what he said about the Israeli/Palistine issue to me yesterday, I would agree with CD that this guy is way over the top!


#10

In many ways what you're saying is true: many Latin Americans still view the USA as a purveyor of the "American Dream" but many view it as an Imperialist force of destruction. I can't claim to be an expert but I did just spend a month in Buenos Aires during the election cycle that put Macri into power. Remember that he only won by 3% in spite of the fact that public transportation in BA was flooded with both print and video ads for Macri in rainbow colors promising change. The working class people I spoke to displayed a sophisticated grasp of political ideology and the evils of Neoliberalism in the global economic system. It was a sore point for some that President Kirchner gave money to the poor after the collapse of 2001 but as the concierge in my building, Laura said, "they forget that people were homeless and eating out of garbage cans."
After Macri's win, I started a very informal survey about the election, asking people's opinions about the outcome. The only people I found who actually voted for Macri were an Englishwoman and her mother, longtime immigrants who told me that they hoped Macri's election would stop the flow of money out of the Argentine middle class. I told them that the squeeze on the middle class is worldwide and the daughter said, "On no, Europeans are rich." My jaw dropped.
So perhaps a mix of wishful thinking, disinformation and ignorance has put Macri into power. I did however see and hear many young people who seemed informed and passionate about their country so I have hope for Argentina.


#11

So sad. I always wonder if the results could have been cooked somehow.


#12

Why? Why would Argentines and Venezuelans, who have been down this road, who have experienced the difference between rule by the right and left, vote in right politicians to impoverish them and build up a wealthy elite? I understand why Americans do (and here the voting is on computers provided by private companies with ties to the Republicans, allowed to keep the software secret--plus there is gerrymandering and the Senate that favors conservative places) but someone said they handcount ballots in Venezuela--why in HELL would they vote for the "reform" candidates?


#13

Thank you for this fine post- It is good to hear first hand News from someone at location, in place and on the street talking to the people...-