When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

CLARIN

Adios Buenos Aires? Why Moving Argentina's Capital Is A Dangerous Idea

For the Argentine daily Clarin, the proposal backed by President Kirchner to move the capital to a much smaller city is not just wrong for practical reasons, but a sign of something more sinister.

The Cathedral of Santiago del Estero
The Cathedral of Santiago del Estero

-OpEd-

BUENOS AIRES — While Argentina still faces the threat of a national default, the country has been in the news for another reason: the growing number of public figures, including President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who favor proposals to move the nation's capital from Buenos Aires to the much smaller (and apparently much, much quieter) northern city of Santiago del Estero.

Kirchner and others say the move could heal the breach between Buenos Aires, a cosmopolitan urban area with 12 million residents, and the country's interior. However attractive it may sound, the capital's transfer could quickly worsen the overall state of the country.

It's true that moving the capital is more common than some might think. Over the last century, there has been on average one move every six years, with examples including switching the capital of Brazil from Rio de Janiero to Brasilia, from Almaty to Astana in Kazakhstan, and from Yangon to Naypyidaw in Myanmar.

The stated reasons for such moves range from traffic problems in overpopulated capital cities to the need to develop backward regions or balance regional rivalries. Other governments point out the need to protect themselves more from foreign threats, real or imagined.

And yet, there is perhaps another threat lurking below the surface: the specter of political agitation. In the history of political uprisings, capital cities have had a prominent role in determining the nation's destiny. A small group in the capital can shake the government the way larger but more distant groups can't.

So one can begin to see why an unstable government might want to move the capital from a populated city to an isolated location, just as the junta in Myanmar did.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Capitol Riot, Brazil Style? The Specter Of Violence If Bolsonaro Loses The Presidency

Brazilian politics has a long history tainted with violence. As President Jair Bolsonaro threatens to not accept the results if he loses his reelection bid Sunday, the country could explode in ways similar to, or even worse, than the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol after Donald Trump refused to accept his defeat.

Supporters of Brazil presidential candidates Bolsonaro and Lula cross the streets of Brasilia with banners ahead of the first round of the elections on Oct. 2.

Angela Alonso

-Analysis-

SÂO PAULO — Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro delivered a message to his nation this year on the anniversary of its independence day, September 7. He recalled what he saw as the nation’s good times, and bad, and declared: “Now, 2022, history may repeat itself. Good has always triumphed over evil. We are here because we believe in our people and our people believe in God.”

It was a moment that’s typical of how this president seeks to challenge the democratic rules. Bolsonaro has been seen as part of a new populist global wave. Ahead of Sunday's first round of voting, the sitting president is trailing in the polls, and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva could even tally more than 50% to win the race outright and avoid an Oct. 30 runoff. Bolsonaro has said he might not accept the results of the race, which could spark violence from his supporters.

However, Brazil has a tradition of political violence. There is a national myth that the political elite prefer negotiation and avoid armed conflicts. Facts do not support the myth. If it did all major political change would have been peaceful: there would have been no independence war in 1822, no civil war in 1889 (when the republic replaced the monarchy) and, even the military coup, in 1964, would have been bloodless.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ