Monday, July 16, 2012
Is the Argentinean Nation being
led into a Leftist Abyss?
Argentina's much awaited ascension in the early
1980s, after surviving the military dictatorship that was deemed fully responsible for the "Dirty War," as well as the calamitous invasion of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas, shortly
"took root in 1983."
Under the leadership of the late President
Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007) and his successor -- his wife Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (2007- present), Argentina eventually
descended and digressed to shamefully achieve the reputation of "a pariah state among international creditors."
Presently Argentina "has more disputes pending against it than any other nation."
Under Nestor Kirchner, Argentina abandoned much of its previous alignment with the U.S. This turn of events led to
stronger ties with other Latin American countries within the "Mercosur," and a rejection of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
A prelude of impending disaster
for Argentina began in 2006, when Kirchner visited Venezuela and attended a military parade alongside its leftist President
Hugo Chavez and the latter's fellow traveler, President Evo Morales of Bolivia. On that occasion Chavez "called for a defensive military pact between
the armies of the region with a common doctrine and organization." Kirchner was quoted in a speech to the Venezuela
national assembly that "Venezuela represented a true democracy fighting for the dignity of its people." Kirchner's
remaining days in office as president closely followed his alignment with much of the Chavez doctrine.
Chavez had planned to travel to Argentina in August 2007 to refinance billions of US dollars
in Argentine debt through bond purchases and announce a natural gas deal. However, on August 4, 2007 Guido Alejandro
Antonini Wilson, a Venezuelan-US entrepreneur claiming to be part of Chavez's entourage arrived in Argentina with Venezuelan
state officials on a private flight chartered by Argentina's state oil company, carrying nearly "US$800,000 in cash
which he failed to declare." The Chavez regime was accused of funneling "hundreds of thousands of dollars"
to the presidential campaign of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to replace her husband as president. Chavez was quick
to deny the accusations, and as usual pointed an antagonistic finger at the "U.S. Empire."
President Fernandez de Kirchner has received much attention from Hugo Chavez since her inauguration as president
in October 2007. Chavez wasted little time in riling up those Argentines that remained incensed by the struggle over the Falkland
Islands/Malvinas dispute. Furthermore, the 59-year-old Fernandez's regime has recently, on the 30th anniversary
of the war over the islands, gone so far as to exhort companies to shun British imports, among similar threats.
Most disappointing has been the taking of a page from the socialist doctrine of Chavez on
expropriation, as Argentina announced the seizure of controlling interest in the YPF oil company in Argentina, 51 percent
of which is owned by the Spanish oil concern Repsol. This action mirrors many of Chavez's actions in nationalizing businesses
in Venezuela, and caught on with leftist presidents Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Morales in Bolivia. As for Fernandez
de Kirchner, in a fire-and-brimstone speech on TV she blamed "foreigners" for the energy shortages plaguing the
Too, Fernandez raised many eyebrows when she recently joined
neighboring leftist governments in voting to support a Palestinian state, this with such a large Jewish population in Argentina
that has been victimized by terrorist bombings.
Making even fewer friends,
not long ago Mexico withdrew from a zero-tariff agreement with Argentina after the Argentine government's decision to
pull out of an auto trade pact, known as ACE-55, between the two countries. Argentina's withdrawal reactivated a 35 percent
tariff on Mexican automobiles. This incident has "prompted the Mexican government to prepare a case against Argentina
to present to the World Trade Organization regarding the protectionist measures."
In early July Argentina's central bank officially announced the enforcement of currency controls, saying that
banks could no longer sell US dollars for the purposes of savings or investment. The dollar ban is a graphic sign of failed
Socialist policies. Plus banks have been told they'll have to lend $3 billion to politically favored businesses.
To avoid 23% inflation, many Argentines are looking elsewhere to put their money while Argentina
officials appear to be misleading the people about inflation statistics. "In a worrisome sign, 12-month inflation expectations
held steady at 30% for a fourth consecutive month in a closely followed monthly survey published in June by the respected
Torcuato Di Tella University," according to a piece in The Wall Street Journal on July 13.
Argentina and the Fernandez de Kirchner regime must be extremely careful not to step too
far out on the Chavez bridge of socialist spontaneity bliss. Hugo Chavez's decision to kick the U.S. DEA out of Venezuela
also caught on with Bolivia's Morales and Ecuador's Correa, with Correa refusing to renew the lease for the drug interdiction
base at Manta for U.S. drug interdiction efforts in the region.
effect from those actions is graphically illustrated as Argentina now consumes five times more cocaine than the global average,
and has one of the highest usage rates in the world. Argentina has the highest prevalence of cocaine use among adults
in South America. And international trafficking groups have recently expanded their activities within Argentina, "increasing
exportation and transforming it from a transit point into a destination for consumption and synthesis," a piece in Foreign
Policy reported last April 19.
Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation
firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His website is located at http://www.cjiausa.org/