Forwarded from Anthony (part 2 of Frontline article)
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 24 19:28:41 MST 2001
This is the second part of the report on Argentina from Frontline
Update: December 21, 2001
Today, the Peronist majority in both chambers of Congress agreed on
the game plan for tomorrow's Legislative Assembly:
1. Elect Governor Saa President for 60 days.
2. Vote on their proposal for new elections for President and Vice
President that will be held on Sunday, March 3
3. Establish that the electoral system for this particular election
be shifted to "Single Transferable Voting" system or the "Sistema de
Through this system parties present Lemas (name of the party)
followed by a list of several candidates of the same party for the
same position (as many as they need or want). Then, once the winner
in each lema is determined by simple plurality of votes, all the
other votes for other candidates of the same party are added to the
winner and then the result is compared to the results on all other
winners from each party.
This system has never been used in Argentina before, though it was
employed in neighboring Uruguay for decades, before being dropped for
The selection of this voting system indicates that the Peronists will
only agree to take over the Executive and call elections. They want
to decide their internal differences through a general election
rather than a primary, as is the custom in Argentina. This will
partially offset the mobilizing character of the apparatus that is
required to win a primary and will give more power to money and
4. The Legislative Assembly has also to decide whether this election
will be to elect a formula to complete the 2-year period left from De
la Rua's term or if they wish to make this a complete new term
De la Rua, before leaving the Government House, lifted the State of
Siege. But Puerta, the interim President, re- imposed it, but just
for the Province of Buenos Aires, where looting of supermarkets and
businesses continued today. According to the local electronic media,
over a dozen supermarkets were assaulted on Friday.
At least two judges ordered De La Rua and his former Minister of
Interior not to leave the country and announced their intention to
investigate the responsibility of both in the killings and violence
of the last few days.
This followed the announcement that Cavallo, De la Rua's Minister of
Economy left the country in a presidential aircraft immediately after
resigning on Thursday. He did so despite a court order requiring him
to request permission before leaving the capital. The outstanding
court order was related to the investigation of arms trafficking to
Croatia and Ecuador underway for the last year or so. Menem was also
indicted and cleared of the same charges.
Friday's demonstrations were much smaller in the Capital. The MST,
the CP and their electoral block organized a small demo. So did
another dozen or so different left and Peronist groups. But the
demands, for the most part, did not exceed the call for a moratorium
and/or cancellation of the foreign debt.
Both the PTP/RCP and different groups of the Peronist Party were
actively intervening in neighborhood assemblies. The Peronists had
the line of cooling off the situation. The line of the PTP/RCP is not
clear, but reports indicated that they were mobilizing numerous
cadres to intervene.
Senator Yoma, of the Peronist Party announced that they were looking
for a) moratorium and/or re-negotiation of the foreign debt; 2)
floating the peso in relation to the dollar and the "pesoization" of
the economy, including the transfer of all contracts in dollars to
pesos; c) protection of money from small investors in banks and d)
establishment of an emergency food program. Yoma offered no details.
Others in Congress, however, insisted that devaluing the peso was a
must do. This could trigger yet another catastrophe for workers.
It is unlikely Saa would continue running for office, thus his
election as President for 60 days. Interim President Puerta gave a
press conference and announced that he was taking over until
tomorrow's legislative assembly and informed the media that the new
president may look into the formation of a government of "National
Unity" for sixty days, inviting all sectors and political parties to
The US government declared that Argentina must follow the
instructions and plans proposed by the IMF without hesitation. But it
is clear that whatever the plans of the ruling class, Argentinean or
otherwise, Argentina's future will be decided in the streets rather
than the government houses.
Update: December 22
Anger at the killings of over 30 people last Thursday grew
exponentially today when it was disclosed that many of those killed
by the police were children 9-14 years old. In one case, a 14 years
old girl was shot point blank on the back of the head when she was
running away from a super-market with one package of dry pasta. Her
family, was disclosed, had been eating only bread for the previous
A sector of the "piqueteros" was calling to a national conference for
today, Saturday, to respond to the political situation. The
¨piqueteros" is a national movement that organizes picket lines at
super-markets and negotiate with their owners free distribution of
food. At this writing, delegates from different cities and
coordinating groups were arriving at the meeting. Meanwhile, the
legislative assembly approved all the Peronist proposals: elected Saa
Rodriguez President, called presidential elections in 90 days under
the single transferable voting system and announced that they were
intent in forming a government of "national unity."
Louis Proyect, lnp3 at panix.com on 12/24/2001
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