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Fear of the “other” Argentina

Argentina TrumpTrump, Bolsonaro and Macri are trying to coordinate efforts to ensure that on election day, October 27, there will be no “birth of another Argentina”. “Better to walk alone than in bad company,” could be the advice friends give Mauricio Macri these days, the Argentine incumbent President who had a poor showing in the country’s recently held primary elections.

This maxim fits perfectly, since just days before the vote, his admiring neighbor – Brazilian right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro – contacted Donald Trump, asking him to visit Argentina before the October elections, as a sign of support for Macri.

Along the same lines, he suggested a meeting with other right-wing Latin American figures – active in the OAS and Lima Group – and the presentation of a plan to avoid what he called the emergence of a “new Venezuela in South America.”

Such is the fear regarding the example of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, that its name is used by Bolsonaro and others of his stripe, as a regular reference in their policy of subservience to Washington.

These three characters – Trump, Bolsonaro and Macri– are trying to coordinate efforts to ensure that on October 27, the day of the Presidential elections, there will not be what has already been called “the birth of another Argentina.”

What fear motivates Bolsonaro when he asks Trump for help? It could be that he is getting ready so he has help when it’s his turn to face popular scrutiny for the second time.

The press has in fact noted that the results of the primary in Argentina left Brazilian authorities perplexed and divided on the attitude that Brazil should take from now on.

A Rio de Janeiro newspaper commented, “While President Jair Bolsonaro insists on a firm alliance with the government of Mauricio Macri, and is supporting him in the race against Alberto Fernández, military members of his cabinet and the head of the Chamber of Deputies advocate maintaining caution and acting with pragmatism.”

Bolsonaro has been very critical of former Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, denouncing her ties with the Nicolás Maduro government in Caracas, and previously with Hugo Chávez, as well as the relationship she has with Brazilian leaders Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, of the Workers Party (PT).

But there is more: the Brazilian head of state has ignored all protocol and supported the re-election of Macri, although some of his advisors pointed out that his comments could have a negative effect, given widespread disdain for Bolsonaro in Argentina.

Macri, who after the primary defeat, is now blaming “the left” for everything bad that has happened in his country, preparing for the final stage in his campaign against Alberto and Cristina Fernández.

He is forgetting that the Kirchner years were the result of popular votes and repudiation of the fiercely neoliberal policies of then President Carlos Menem.

Macri should do something about the dire economic and social situation to which he has led the country over these last few years as President, rather than looking for help elsewhere.

Argentina is currently facing a recession, plus 22% inflation during the first half of the year, one of the highest rates in the world.

The population is suffering, among other neoliberal measures, an increase in the price of public utilities such as electricity and gas, which have experienced a cumulative increase of 1,490% in the first case and 1,297% in the second.

Meanwhile, unemployment increased from 7.1% in the first quarter of 2015 to 10.1 in the same period this year. Thirty-two percent of the population is living in poverty, and according to the Catholic University of Argentina, this includes half of all children, 10% of whom are going hungry.

It is clear that Macri’s request to the IMF, which awarded him a loan of 56 billion dollars, was of little use.

With such a measure, he has not only indebted the nation to the bone, and led the population to one of its worst crises, while becoming one of the most unpopular Presidents ever in Argentina, perhaps tied or surpassing Carlos Menem.

Oblivious to the results of his term in office, Macri intends to be re-elected as President, with the advice of Trump and Bolsonaro. The people will decide.


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