‘Make them go away!’ Have Argentinians had enough of Kirchner?

Argentina has suffered just about every imaginable national crisis: financial and banking collapses, hyperinflation, military coups, defeat in international war, attacks by terrorist guerrillas.

We’ve “seen this, done that” becoming pioneers in coping with them all.

In 2001/2, during Argentina’s worst financial collapse our people noisily took to the streets with the “Cacerolazos” – noisily banging pots and pans demanding solutions from the Government. Since then many other countries like Spain and Greece are doing the same.

Now, on Thursday 8th November, Argentina started a new form of protest: the Global “Cacerolazo”. Actively planned and coordinated through the opposition media and social networks, “8N” resulted in 1.5 million people taking to the streets of Argentina to protest against the gross corruption, governmental mismanagement and flagrant irresponsibility of President Cristina Kirchner’s government.

It took on a global character as tens of thousands of Argentine expatriates in dozens of foreign countries also protested. Not only did citizens bang their pots and pans in the streets and squares of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Rosario, Mendoza, La Plata, Tucumán, Salta, and just about every other city and town in the country; noisy crowds also gathered in front of Argentine embassies and consulates in London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Melbourne, México, Montevideo, Rome, Munich, Miami, Washington DC, Boston, Sidney, Bogotá, Stockholm, Tokyo, Milan, Montreal and many other cities around the world.

It was basically Argentina’s still strong middle class that was out to tell the government, “Enough with your abuses and excesses!”

Rampant Corruption

Middle class concerns center on a handful of key issues and complaints: a dramatic rise in violent street crime, flagrant government lying regarding galloping inflation, Cristina Kirchner’s authoritarian style and, of course, rampant corruption.

People have become weary of corruption scandals at the highest levels of government. Public Works Minister Julio De Vido, for instance, is at the center of a scandal accusing him of running a system of bribery in public work contracts. When former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna publicly accused De Vido, then president Néstor Kirchner promptly fire him… Lavagna, that is!!

Vice President Amado Boudou, in turn, is under investigation for shady dealings through front-men in his take-over of a major currency printing company, Ciccone Calcográfica, which the government continues to award multimillion dollar contracts to print Argentina’s currency (in ever-increasing demand due to inflation!).

Source and full piece: Adrian Salbuchi, Russia Today, 12 Nov 2012

Tom Sullivan