A political translation of (de la Rua: a "low-key conservative")

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky nestor at SPAMsisurb.filo.uba.ar
Tue Oct 26 15:21:35 MDT 1999

El 26 Oct 99 a las 14:49, Louis Proyect nos dice(n):

> ARGENTINA: Victory for low-key conservative

It is interesting to note that language itself can
brilliantly cover up the main trait of a politician from
the very title of an article.  What is essential with De La
Rua is not his conservatism but his basically anti-national
cast of mind. The Argentinian conservatives were the
degraded heirs of the right wing fraction of the Generation
of 1880, and they ruled the country through violence and
fraud between 1930 and 1943.  They were opposed by the
Radical party to which De La Rua belongs (and betrays)
during what we know here as the Decada Infame. These years
were characterized by direct state intervention in economy
to defend the interests of the landed oligarchs and the
British enterprises in Argentina. The Radical party, by
those years a popular party, was slowly coopted into
acceptation of the colonial status of the country thanks to
the policies devised by Alvear, its leader after the great
popular caudillo Hipolito Yrigoyen (ousted by the 1930 coup
that set the Decada Infame in motion).  The Radical Party
of our times is the degraded version of that already
degraded Radical Party of the early 40s that had been
incorporated to the arch of the parties acquiescent with
imperialist domination of Argentina. In fact, these
Radicals of the late 40s (still to the "left" of De La Rua,
certainly) were somehow less patriotic than many
Conservatives in the sense that their wishy-washy
liberalism implied rejection of sate intervention in
economy (if such a thing as "economy" could be infused in
the wooly and bland ideas that passed for an ideology of
this party mainly composed by lawyers).  Many of these
Conservatives, forming up the bulk of the state apparatus
in many inland provinces (Santa Fe is one of the most
interesting cases) helped build up Peronism in alliance
with the workers at the industrial centers, against the
petty bourgeois Radicals who, World War propaganda in the
middle, had already become mere mass of action of the
imperialist American Ambassador Spruille Braden in 1945.

De La Rua is not a "low-key conservative".  He is a nulity
who will lean to the right in the measure that the
inevitable crisis deepens.  He is a perfect candidate for
imperialists, who are advancing on what remains of
Argentina roughshod (I have happened to have in my hands
some stationery of the French Embassy, belonging to the
Bureau of Economic Expansion in Argentina (!), and have
discovered that the Bureau _shares the logo_ with the French
managed Telecom Argentina!). It is true that he means a
> in a country that has long favoured flamboyant
> strongmen. Whether it will be enough to restore
> international investors' faith in Argentina's economic
> prospects is less clear.

That is, "we have finally got the Argentinians into the den.
They could not find some politician who would synthesize
the strength of the country and we have forced on them a
Mr. Nothing, who will do whatever we like. But perhaps this
will not be enough for us!"

> In the short term, things are improving. Mr de la Rua's
> commitment to stability and the peso's one-to-one peg to
> the dollar are beyond question.

What is beyond question is how long will this peg may last.
I have stumbled upon a few figures that toll for the
parity, which I hope I can post within a few days.

> His fiscal stance may be
> even tougher than his predecessor's - necessarily so,
> since Argentina's budget deficit will rise to about 2.5
> per cent of gross domestic product if left untamed. The
> new government is expected rapidly to announce spending
> cuts and tax increases that should win warm praise (and
> possibly more money, if needed) from the International
> Monetary Fund. Happily, the economy appears to have
> bottomed out, though it will still shrink by 3-4 per cent
> this year.

Yes, the problem (and the reasons for suspicion in the
international usury) is that this will imply further
boosting the unemployment rate. What will happen with the
voters of De La Rua then?

> But the long-term outlook is less bright. Without an
> absolute majority in Congress and two-thirds of the
> provinces controlled by the defeated Peronists, Mr de la
> Rua may have trouble pushing through necessary labour and
> tax reforms.

Interesting. Even after Menem, Peronism is observed by the
international finance as a possible bulwark for the few
remaining workers and their rights. This is what De La Rua
himself can't fail to see. Will he repress us?  This
program will not go ahead without blood "democratically"

> A new revenue-sharing agreement with the
> spendthrift provinces is also needed. Yet without
> structural progress, Argentina will find it harder to
> persuade investors to stump up $17bn next year to cover
> its external financing needs. Meanwhile, with a tightening
> fiscal policy and no flexibility to cut interest rates due
> to the dollar link, recovery from recession is likely to
> be anaemic. Argentina's growth, at around 2 per cent next
> year, will be half that of Mexico or Brazil. There are
> more attractive markets in Latin America.

Correction: there are _markets_ elsewhere in Latin America.


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