It’s only been a few days since what is known in Argentina as the “2001 crisis”, which took place in December of that year, triggering an economic-financial crisis that affected a multitude of citizens and resulted in political disorder, where marches, protests and beatings throughout the country, which ended up causing the early departure of President Fernando De la Rúa.
De la Rúa, of the century-old party that has historically represented social democracy in Argentina, the Radical Civic Union, won the 1999 elections by forming an electoral alliance with the center-left force, Frente País Solidario. In this way, the Alliance for Work, Justice and Education became a governing coalition.
During the election campaign that brought De la Rúa to the presidency, he tirelessly repeated that “one on one is not touching”, and this was undoubtedly what voters wanted to hear. A devaluation within the framework of a highly indebted society would result in shortages for a large number of Argentines.
What was known as “one to one” was nothing more than the result of the Convertibility Plan implemented during the Peronist government of Carlos Saúl Menem in April 1991, which established by law a fixed exchange rate relationship between the local and US currency. , in the proportion of one convertible peso to one dollar.
This plan, together with the orthodox measures recommended by the Washington Consensus to reduce public spending, undoubtedly helped to balance the macroeconomic accounts and to stop the inflationary spiral that had plunged the country into two hyperinflationary crises.
What could not or would not be contemplated was that, in a context of trade deregulation, the extension of a monetary appreciation plan for almost ten years condemned Argentina to be unable to compete with the rest of the world’s economies, and thus, deindustrialization and unemployment increased significantly, and with it poverty began to emerge as a problem of worrying dimensions.
Thus, after ten uninterrupted years of neoliberal Peronism, the suffering of “being the most expensive country in the world” and rampant corruption led the radical Fernando De la Rúa to assume the presidency in 1999. However, the new government was also quickly tarnished by the alleged “bribery” in the Senate in October 2000, as industry and employment continued to suffer. The main whistleblower was Frepaso vice president Carlos “Chacho” Álvarez, who resigned immediately.
And from that moment on, the beginning of the end of the alliance began, which finally succumbed after the imminent devaluation defined, which resulted in the seizure of deposits in the banks of millions of savers who desperately went to the banking institutions without being able to withdraw their money. The country experienced two days of extreme violence, with several wounded and dead. And the electoral alliance collapsed along with economic and political stability.
In the space of a few days, five presidents followed one another, and finally in 2003 the Argentines went to the polls again and the Peronist Néstor Kirchner assumed the presidency. From that moment, Kirchnerism ruled for twelve years, the last eight with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner at the helm. Since 2003, Peronism was again able to capitalize on advantageous international conditions, with exorbitant commodity prices, which resulted in a massive inflow of resources into the state coffers.
Thus, the government of Néstor Kirchner managed to stabilize and grow the Argentine economy, while his administration and that of Cristina Kirchner were woven into a web of corruption that is still being investigated and prosecuted without the corresponding judgments. In turn, the last administration of Cristina Kirchner showed significant rates of inflation and poverty that reached 30%.
In 2015, the opposition coalition “Cambiemos”, formed by Pro, UCR and Coalición Cívica, managed to win at the polls, bringing Mauricio Macri, from Pro, to the presidency of the nation. The electoral coalition, however, failed to become a governing coalition and the Pro was in power for four years. Macri’s administration resulted in a significant inflation crisis, a huge increase in foreign debt and an increase in poverty that rose to 36%. And the coalition since 2019 renamed Juntos por Câmbio, continues today to fight for future positions for 2023, in the midst of a great crisis suffered by Argentine citizens.
Finally, the current Peronist government of Frente de Todos, elected in 2019, has also failed to put the country’s recovery on the right track, and its political leadership is increasingly disjointed. The economy continued to deteriorate, and so we recorded more than 50% annual inflation and almost 45% poverty, in the context of a pandemic that was also very poorly managed.
In the midst of all these difficulties, there are internal struggles between the more Christian or more Albertist wings, and even the most Peronist Peronists are aware that this front was expressly formed by decision of the Vice-President, Cristina Kirchner, who had terrible relations with the current president, Alberto Fernández, but who needed a “moderate” Peronist to attract votes and continue to occupy a place of power in order to emerge unscathed from the numerous criminal cases that incriminate her and her children.
Across the Rio de la Plata in Uruguay, a coalition, Frente Amplio, ruled from 2005 to 2020. On the other side of the Andes, in Chile, a coalition, Concertación, ruled from 1990 to 2010. In Argentina, electoral coalitions did not they seem to be able to form government coalitions, but opportunism, pettiness and hegemony or dominance of some forces over others prevail, together with the management of shaken and incompetent governments.
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