Elections in Argentina

A view from the wild south.

The first in a series of elections will take place in Argentina in a couple of weeks. The forthcoming elections hold marginal importance, however, the legislative elections in October will be instrumental in defining who the Presidential candidates will be for 2015.

We’ve had the same goverment for the past 10 years. I know that doesn’t sound very good. We’re a “developing” country and that sounds like 10 years of a cruel dictator ruling the country at his wish. But that’s not the case my first-world friend. We’ve lived in a seemly peace after the terrible 2001 crisis, a social-economic crisis that left thousand of argentineans without a job, having riots and protests in every street and with no encouraging signs in the future.

In the last 10 years we’ve gone through big changes, and the international context has been our favour. The entire world has gone through big changes: The price of commodities has been really high —for us that’s been quite convenient, given the fact that selling commodities (mainly food) to other countries is our main source of wealth. The world suffered a big financial crisis which didn’t have much impact for us (even though we felt some ups and downs) and proved some stability for our nation. The level of globalization is so high due to IT that I can write this stuff sitting in Argentina and people from all around the world can read it.

After the 2001 crisis a new party (FPV) made its way until getting in a position of so much power that even seems to resemble a religion. Our president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is the head of the party, is a really strong woman that excels in leadership and, along with other people, managed to create a strong and solid political foundation with their own ideas and thoughts. They’ve had good things and bad things. After that terrible crisis that I mentioned above we needed some stability and we finally got it. But there are some big problems we need to face to keep evolving as a country: Inflation is driving massive price instability — coupled with tense relations with some foreign countries which is making International Trade difficult for us, among other things.

You know how all nations have two parties which are the foundation of the entire politics in that country? Well, we’ve had that: one was called “Radicalismo” and the other one “Peronismo”. One on each side of the road, “radicales” and “peronistas” had been fighthing like dogs and cats since I can recall. These guys, FPV, were able to create a new current of thought, a new party in its own,which is quite impressive because it seemed like those foundational parties would never have “competition”.

Even though that sounds like a good thing, it’s not that beautiful and peaceful. With this new party we’ve got a new pathology: division. Currently there are two kind of people in Argentina:

  • People who love FPV
  • People who hate FPV

It has become so severe that the important political issues are set aside while focus is devoted to taking down opposing parties. The rival parties focused for the last 2 years in taking down FPV. And FPV candidates had done nothing but brag about FPV and “their” president. There’s even one rival candidate (I won’t say his name) who establish his entire plataform in just being “the only opponent” to FPV. I don’t know what the heck he wants to do if he wins. I imagine that situation, that guy winning the elections:

  • Assistant: Hey Mr., we’ve won…
  • Mr: Hey! That’s great! I knew we could do it. Let’s get some champagne… (party time)
  • Assistant: Wow, cool party… Now what?
  • Mr: Now what? what?
  • Assistant: What should we do? We won, we need to start running this country.
  • Mr: Wooow! Never thought about that… I don’t know. Hmmm. I won, I took down FPV, now you take care of it. My job is done here.

And the situation for the other candidates isn’t really different. No one is talking about how to fight inflation, about a tax reform, education, international trade, etc. Each and everyone of the candidates are only devoted to fighting against FPV. Dude, I don’t even know who should I vote for! I don’t want to vote FPV, I think we need a change, but we don’t have other independent parties. I’d love to ask these other candidates:

  • What are you going to do?
  • What do you believe in?
  • What makes you different?
  • Why the heck should I vote for you? (and please, “to take down FPV” is not a valid answer)

As every other country we have those guys who built our nation. Those people who helped to shape our country, our thoughts, our identity: Sarmiento, Belgrano, Alberdi, Moreno, San Martín, etc. Their commitment and sacrifice for our nation was huge and we owe them a lot. What is that those guys made different? What did they do to be in our primary school textbooks? Well, it’s simple: They talked about ideas. They believed in something and shared it to everybody. They were commited to the cause. Sure, some of them were wrong sometimes and obviously all made mistakes, as every person do. But they had ideas, they had a dream and worked their entire life to make it true.

Sadly, we don’t have that now. That’s lost in Argentinean politics. That’s why I’m writing this stuff. I suck at writing in english, I know. But I’m frustrated… This is not the country I want to see, this is not the path I want to go through. If you, globalized partner, whole-world brother and sister, are reading this: please don’t let that happen in your country. Don’t let politicians talk about other politicians and please don’t follow politicians because you share the same hate/rage to someone. Follow dreams, follow ideas…

I’d like to end this text with a quote that pretty much summarizes my thoughts:

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.