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11/01/2011 | Politics in Argentina - Down among the underclass. A prelude to a dirty campaign

The Economist Staff

SINCE the sudden death ten weeks ago of her husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández, has been the beneficiary of a wave of public sympathy that her supporters hope will take her to a second term in an election due in October. But events are no respecters of private grief. And problems that arose last month suggest that not everything will go the president’s way.

 

In early December several thousand squatters, many of them immigrants from Bolivia and Paraguay, occupied a park in Villa Soldati, a poor district of Buenos Aires, demanding housing. Two squatters were killed when the police tried to evict them. One more died in clashes with angry residents before they were persuaded to leave by offers of aid.

Mauricio Macri, the capital’s opposition mayor, blamed Ms Fernández for the debacle. The president responded by creating a new security ministry. The minister, Nilda Garré, sacked the commanders of the federal police, restricted the use of firearms by the force and deployed 6,000 military police. Crime is rising, and fear of it even more. Many Argentines dislike the government’s tolerance of disruptive or violent street protests, which are often organised by groups that support it.

The unrest at Villa Soldati was also a reminder that despite years of rapid economic growth under the Kirchners, Argentina has a large underclass. High inflation, though masked by doctored official statistics, has eroded the incomes of the poor, who comprise up to a third of the population. Inflation also explains the scarcity of mortgages, now widespread elsewhere in Latin America. Rents rose by three-fifths between 2007 and 2009. Villas (shantytowns) have expanded by at least 50% in a decade. Many have become havens for drug traffickers and other criminals.

Mr Kirchner kept a grip on the underclass through patronage and threats. Pundits speculated that after his death Ms Fernández would adopt a more conciliatory approach. There have been some signs of that. But she has also surrounded herself with diehard allies who tirelessly propagate conspiracy theories, accusing opponents such as Mr Macri and Eduardo Duhalde, a former president, of subverting the government. When Argentines return in March from their summer holidays, the election campaign will begin in earnest. It looks as if it will be dirty.

The Economist (Reino Unido)

 


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06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
23/11/2008|
23/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
22/08/2008|
22/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
24/05/2008|
24/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
29/04/2008|
11/02/2008|
05/01/2008|
09/12/2007|
18/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/09/2007|
26/08/2007|
25/08/2007|
11/07/2007|
16/06/2007|
16/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
24/04/2007|
24/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
28/02/2007|
28/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
17/11/2006|
30/09/2006|
28/07/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
06/03/2006|
21/02/2006|
17/02/2006|
31/01/2006|
10/01/2006|
28/12/2005|
31/10/2005|
26/09/2005|
29/08/2005|
11/08/2005|
08/08/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House